Coronavirus outbreak: State cuts staffers' pay, no timeline for payment of arrears

Updated: 01 April, 2020 07:47 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Decision comes as state's income goes down and it diverts all possible resources to fight the Coronavirus pandemic

A sanitation worker conducts sanitation work in Walkeshwar. Pic/Ashish Raje
A sanitation worker conducts sanitation work in Walkeshwar. Pic/Ashish Raje

The government, semi-government, university employees and elected representatives have been given a pay cut in the March salary as the state, also hit by a lack of funds, tries to divert available resources towards mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. The government said it will let employees know when it can pay the arrears.

Class-D employees and pensioners have been excluded from the cut declared on Wednesday. Class-A and Class-B employees will get 50 per cent salary and Class-3 workforce 75 per cent. Elected representatives, including the CM, deputy CM, ministers, MLAs and MLCs, the presiding officers of state legislature, members of state-run corporations and members of local self-governments will get 40 per cent of their pay.

Deputy CM and finance minister Ajit Pawar said that the decision was taken after consulting officers' and employees' unions. The GR signed and issued by chief secretary Ajoy Mehta said that the State was making all possible arrangements to tide over the Coronavirus crisis.

"The revenue the state gets has depleted drastically because private establishments and industries are closed. All government offices are working with 5 per cent staff and the overall economic situation at the end of the financial year demands that we follow austerity and postpone certain expenditures," the GR said, adding that the directive applies to public enterprises, corporations and local self-governments such as all zilla parishads and municipal bodies.

The annual budget presented early this month by Pawar had projected a deficit of R9,500 crore. The finance minister expected an additional income of R21,000 crore in 2020-21, which cannot be realised because of the further downfall of the State and the national economy. In Maharashtra, the government spends R55 of every R100 that it collects on salaries, pension and debt servicing.

The decision evoked a mixed reaction from trade unions. The Class-3 employee federation said denying them full pay wasn't a good idea. "We too are citizens and work amid the crisis. The government shouldn't demoralise us. Most of the Class-3 employees have single earners in their families. Their monthly budget, payment of EMIs and other things will get impacted. The government must withdraw its decision," said Subhash Gangurde, the federation's general secretary.

However, general secretary of the gazetted officers union, G D Kulthe welcomed the decision. "The finance minister Ajit Pawar had invited all unions to the meeting and we all supported the decision. Firstly, it's not a pay-cut but deferred payment. Secondly, it's not permanent," he said.

Donations sought for CM's relief fund

CM Uddhav Thackeray has requested donations for the Chief Minister's Relief Fund to battle with the Coronavirus. So far, R14 crore has been collected and medical equipment worth R10 crore has been received. You may also donate to the fund with the help of the following details:
Chief Minister's Relief Fund-COVID 19
Savings Bank Account number 39239591720
Branch Code 00300
State Bank of India, Mumbai Main Branch, Fort Mumbai 400023

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First Published: 01 April, 2020 07:08 IST

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