The proposal by the Ministry of Railways to grant the productivity-linked bonus (PLB) to its employees, as is the usual practice during Diwali, has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
All eligible non-gazetted employees of the Railways, other than RPF and RPSF personnel, will receive a PLB equivalent to 78 days’ wages for 2019-2020. The disbursement of this PLB will cost the exchequer Rs 2,081.64 crore. However, no employee can be paid more than Rs 17,951 for 78 days.
The bonus is expected to bring cheer to the employees and motivate them to work hard. This is also the Railway Ministry’s way of acknowledging the efforts put in by its employees, especially for the smooth running of the shramik special trains, and for those carrying foodgrains, coal and other supplies, even during the lockdown.
Railway employees across the country had been protesting against the non-payment of Diwali bonus, despite having worked through the pandemic. Having worked hard to ensure smooth transportation of essential commodities even during the lockdown, the employees had been stating that they deserved the bonus.
The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) had threatened ‘direct action’ if the bonus was not released by October 21. As per the usual practice, the bonus is paid to the employees every year before the Durga Puja. However, this year there was a delay as the Finance Ministry’s approval did not come on time. The employees had been pointing out that the bonus they were demanding pertained to last year’s performance, and therefore, the excuse of the pandemic and related financial burden cannot be acceptable.