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Onam 2021: Kerala Announces Special Allowance, Festival Bonus for Government Employees

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Kerala Farmers
Onam Festival

To help people deal with the economic crisis caused by the prolonged lockdown, the LDF (Left Democratic Front) in Kerala has decided to provide government employees with some additional perks along with salary.

Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Wednesday announced Onam festival advance and bonus to as many as 5.2 lakhs government employees who were given a hefty pay hike just 4 months ago. For this, the Kerala government has set apart Rs 311 crore.

Few weeks before the assembly elections in April, the state Government had allocated Rs. 4850 crore to carry out the salary review. It must be noted that in the past seven weeks, Kerala has witnessed 28 suicides due to unemployment and debt burden, and so far the government has not announced any assistance to the struggling private sector traders and employees. 

Out of the 5.2 lakh government employees, about 1 lakh will receive Rs. 4000 each as Onam bonus, while the others will receive Rs.2750 each as a festival allowance. In addition, 5.3 lakh people who have retired from the service will get Rs.1000 each.

All employees are also eligible for festival advance of Rs.15000, which must be repaid in five monthly installments. 

According to the estimates by the State Planning Board, the total workforce in Kerala is 1.27 crore. According to a study by the board of directors, 73 lakh people were unemployed during the first lockdown, which means that Rs.260 crore of the tax payers money is used to provide welfare to the 4% of the workforce that did not lose a single day wage due to lockdown. 

Jose Sebastian, an Economist and Former Director of Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation said that “This is atrocious. The government's indifference to what is happening around is writ large in this decision. How graceful a gesture it would have been had the government used this money to pay Rs. 500 each at least to those who have lost jobs?

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