Amidst protests by many, the Himachal Pradesh government has announced a salary deduction to generate funds for COVID relief. While two days’ salary will be deducted for Class 1 and 2 employees, one day’s salary will be cut for Class 3 and 4 employees. With the second wave of COVID creating havoc, not just in Himachal, but across the country, this is the state government’s strategy to raise funds for relief measures.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has shared that he himself and even cabinet ministers and MLAs will contribute a month’s salary towards the fund. All drawing and disbursing officers of various departments have been issued instructions to deduct salaries, across all public-sector undertakings and autonomous organisations under the Himachal Pradesh government.
Regular health care workers or contractual workers have been spared the salary deductions. The amount thus collected will be deposited in the ‘HP Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund’.
This move is aimed at helping the under privileged and marginalised population amidst these challenging times.
The state government has requested the wealthy families in the state to loosen their purse strings and contribute to the fund.
There have been people opposing these deductions, saying that it is unfair to subject low-wage categories, such as the class 2 and 4 staff, to pay cuts.
The cabinet ministers and MLAs had been taking a 30 per cent cut in their salaries since last year. It was only in March 2021 that their salaries were restored.