Kerala Treasuries run dry: Salaries and Pensions Interrupted
Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2 : For the second consecutive day on Friday, people, including pensioners, stood in queues since early morning across Kerala as many treasuries in the state were running dry and couldn’t disburse salaries and pensions to people.
State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said: “Today, a request for Rs 127 crore went to the banking authorities and, so far, Rs 57 crore were received. Fifty treasuries are yet to get the money.”
There are 157 banking treasuries in the state.
People formed long queues waiting for their turn to collect the money, the way they did on Thursday, the first salary-pension day after the declaration of demonetisation of high-value currency on November 8.
According to banking authorities, the Reserve Bank of India has given Rs 580 crore to various banks for disbursal.
In Kerala, almost half a million people and state government staff get their salaries and pensions through the treasuries, while the remaining half a million are linked to banks for these disbursals.
The treasury officials have to collect the cash from the respective commercial banks to which their treasury is linked and, depending on the availability of cash in the banks, they are given their share to be distributed.
In Neyattinkara, a suburb here, there are 7,000 pensioners linked to the treasury and on Thursday, about 700 people had turned up but only 40 got the money as the allocation was a mere Rs 20 lakh.
“I came around 5 a.m. with the token that I got yesterday and am waiting and expecting that I will get the money today (Friday),” said an aged pensioner.
An official said: “In the state secretariat, there are 6,000 employees, of which 5,000 are non-gazetted. Yesterday, not even fifty per cent could get their salaries.”
Isaac, who is in Delhi to attend a GST meeting, told reporters that it’s most unfortunate that the states were not taken into confidence by the Centre in the disbursement of salaries and pensions.
“Even though there was a few informal consultations, there was not a single official meeting to manage the present impasse in the distribution of salary and pension,” said Isaac.