Onam bonanza! Rs 12,000 cr payout to govt staff, pensioners | Onam | pension | salary

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has sanctioned a record Rs 12,000 crore for salary, Onam bonus and special festival allowances to staff on the rolls and pensioners.

The amount sanctioned towards salaries, bonus/special festival allowance to government employees and social security and service pension payouts would be distributed among around 60 lakh beneficiaries at least two weeks before Onam.

The salaries for government employees and service pensioners, usually distributed in the first week of the month, will be given in advance, between August 25 and 29. They will also receive festival allowance and bonus.

The finance ministry has already sanctioned around Rs 3,700 crore to the treasury department to disburse five types of social security and welfare pensions as well as service pensions. About 55 lakh beneficiaries, excluding pensioners who failed to submit their identity documents, will receive the payment.

The government has earmarked an additional fund of Rs 594 crore for pensioners who did not receive pensions during the last Onam season. Also, an amount of Rs 241 crore was sanctioned for farmers’ pension, which will benefit around 1.95 lakh farmers.

Recently, around 64,000 eligible persons have been brought under various government-sponsored pension schemes.

Those who have been drawing pensions through cooperative banks will receive the amount at their doorstep in a day or two. Pensions for the rest will be transferred through their bank account.

Government employees will receive festival allowances ranging between Rs 4,400-15,000.

Moreover, accredited social health activists (ASHA), anganwadi workers, and employees of non-operational cashew processing units will get festival allowances of Rs 1,000-2,000, while those who have registered with the state lotteries welfare fund board will be eligible for an allowance of Rs 5,000.

The Rs 9,000 crore borrowed fund and revenues from fuel and motor vehicles taxes will be used to meet expenses for the payout which will cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 12,000 crore. This will include Rs 5,000 crore in salaries, pensions and bonuses for government staff, Rs 3,700 crore for social security and welfare pensions and Rs 3,300 crore as festival bonus for others.

Salaries and pensions will be distributed between August 25-29, social security and welfare pensions distribution is already underway and will be completed by August 25. Festival allowance for ASHAs and others will start on August 19.

Banks to ensure cash flow

In a bid to avoid the liquidity crunch prevailing during the last Onam season, banks have started initiating measures to ensure cash availability in ATMs. Funds towards salaries and pensions will be credited to bank accounts by next week.

However, as banks will remain closed on September 1 (Eid al-Adha), September 2 (Thiruvonam), and September 6 (Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi), it could lead to ATM kiosks running out of cash.

During the last Onam season, the government had to intervene after bank branches and ATMs went dry due to acute liquidity crunch.

The SBI has directed companies entrusted with the job of loading cash in ATMs to refill them even on holidays.

As there are public holidays on September 2, 7, 8, and 11, government employees can avail leave for 12 consecutive days including Sundays.

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