The Kerala government has decided to extend the deferment of salaries of its employees for six days by six more months besides various other measures as part of efforts to reduce expenditure in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
To save cost, the Kerela government has also decided that there will not be any embellishment of government buildings, purchase of furniture and vehicles in government institutions and offices for a period of one year.
According to an official release, these decisions were taken based on the recommendations of two expert committees set up to review the economic situation of the state.
"Deferment of salary will continue for another six months starting from September 1. However, the salary thus deferred will carry an interest rate of nine per cent per annum until it is merged into PF on April 1, 2021," the release said.
The state Governor had on April 30 given his approval to an ordinance empowering the state government to defer for six days the salaries of its employees for five months.
The Kerala Disaster and Public Health Emergency (Special Provisions) Ordinance 2020 empowered the government to defer the salary of an employee by an amount not exceeding one-fourth of the total monthly pay, for managing a situation arising out of a disaster or public health emergency.
The state government also said that the five-month deferred salary of the government employees would be merged with Provident Fund on April 1, 2021, as an immediate liability of Rs. 2,500 Cr would be incurred if repaid in cash. The merged amount can be withdrawn after June 1 next year.
In other decisions at the cabinet meeting, it was resolved that the staff, appointed for various discontinued schemes, including those under the central government, would be deployed to the required departments within a month. All formal discussions, meetings, training, workshops and debates would be conducted online.
The state cabinet has also issued directions to the Public Works Department to relocate offices functioning in rented premises to unused space in government offices.