NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet has given its nod Wednesday for disbursal of Rs3,737 crore in bonus and non-productivity linked bonus to 30 lakh central government employees within a week.
The government aims to please the government servants as also hopes that this will boost spending, rev up markets and help lift the economy that has touched its bottom in the aftermath of the Covid-linked lockdowns and the three-week national shutdown that preceded them since March last.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the bonus will be disbursed in one installment before Vijaya Dashami. The nation is into the festival season, with Durga Puja or Navaratri, Diwali and the Christmas and New Year approaching in the weeks ahead. These festivals will be observed low-key and in keeping with the controls linked to Covid-19 pandemic spread.
Some 17 lakh of the beneficiaries will be from government undertakings like the Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, etc. They will together take Rs 2791crore. This apart, the 13 lakh government servants will get Rs 946crore.
The government had announced a leave travel concession voucher scheme for government employees, a while ago, which they can avail without undertaking travel, in view of the Covid-restrictions on travel.
There is criticism, however, that most of the government employees sat back in their homes, doing no work, during months of the lockdown since March last and are yet taking full salary. This, despite the government facing a serious financial crisis. Even the normal salary payment for them is beyond justification, analysts point out.
However, governments and political parties are reticent about rubbing the officialdom the wrong way. The Modi government, in fact, gave them a long rope, and hardly ruffled their feathers, resulting also in a massive jump in corruption in bureaucracy. Corruption is massive in central government ministries, at the level of the bureaucracy, and this is well-known, and the scenario is progressively worsening. Prime Minister Modi has hardly been able to check such evils in governance mechanisms.
The railway employees union, with strong Left presence, has issued a threat to strike work if the government did not release bonus before the Vijayadasami. IHN-NN
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