Faced with strong reaction from the employees and Opposition parties over state health department’s orders relating to a two-day salary cut for the CM Covid fund, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday said cabinet ministers and MLAs will also contribute their one-month salary towards the fund.
“I myself, and cabinet colleagues will contribute one month's salary towards the CM Covid fund so that help can be provided to needy in the wake of the second wave of pandemic. It’s the time of distress,” he said this evening.
Thakur said a decision to this effect will be taken at meeting of the state cabinet on Thursday, adding that the government has also decided to deduct two days’ salary from the MLAs and class I and II employees this month. However, only a day’s salary will be cut from class-III and IV employees.”
The funds will only be utilised in fighting the Covid surge and providing medical support to the patients in the government hospitals.
The chief minister’s statement came only after leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri made strong comments as to how the government has resorted to cut employees’ salaries to raise funds.
“This shows the government has no money to provide emergency health care to the Covid-hit people of the state,” he alleged.
The lone CPM MLA in the state Assembly, Rakesh Singh, also opposed the salary deductions on the employees and other government staff during the pandemic.
“This decision is wrong. The government employees are working day and night putting their lives at risk. They are legally entitled to get their full salaries and wages. I will give my whole salary towards the fund but why are low-wage groups subjected to salary cuts like this?” he asked.
Singha also drew support from Congress MLA and former PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu who also offered part of his salary but asked to exempt the low-wage groups (class II and IV employees) and contractual staff.
The state’s health secretary, in a notification on April 17, had authorised the drawing and disbursing officers of all departments, PSUs and autonomous bodies of the government to deduct two-day salary/emoluments of each class-I and II employees, barring health care staff. The class III and IV employees were asked to contribute two days’ salary towards the CM Covid care fund.
Last year, the state government had also imposed a 30 per cent pay cut on cabinet ministers and MLAs for contribution towards Covid care fund.
In March 2021, the chief minister restored full wages for the MLAs and cabinet ministers.
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