Government to borrow Rs 1,000 cr to pay Onam’s bonus, allowance and salary advance
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is ready to take loans up to Rs 1,000 crore to cover Onam’s expenses. It is estimated that more than Rs 8,000 crore would be needed to spend Treasury next month alone.
The additional expenses will mainly be the bonus, the festival allowance and the salary advance of the government employees.
It was also decided to pay two months of social pension in advance following the Onam holiday.
The finance department will make a decision on the bonus by next week. She decided to use the remaining sums under other existing expenditure items and to take advantage of a minimum amount as a loan.
Last year’s flyer
Last year, the government paid Rs 4,000 per employee as a bonus and Rs 2,750 as a festival allowance to those who are not eligible for the bonus. Government employees received 15,000 rupees each as Onam advanced. An advance of Rs 5,000 each was granted to other employees, including part-time contingent staff. The finance department plans to extend the similar benefits of Onam this time as well.
Beneficiaries are expected to be extended by Rs 3,200 each as an early social pension for two months. It would take Rs 1,800 crore just for that. The government commits about Rs 5,000 crore per month for salary and pension. Considering other expenses including bonuses, the total outlay would amount to Rs 8,000 crore. While the Ministry of Finance admits that the State must borrow to meet the additional expenses, the official version is that it has not yet determined the exact amount of the loan.
Restrictions to benefit from the loans
The state must overcome the strict restrictions imposed by the Center to qualify for the loans. The Center has set Kerala’s borrowing limit at Rs 17,936 crore until December 2022. This includes loans which will benefit the KIIFB for development projects and that of the pension society to extend social pensions to hundreds thousands of beneficiaries.