Hyderabad Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy has strongly opposed the decision of State Government to cut the salaries of employees, including Class IV, outsourcing and contract employees and described it as ‘hasty’ and ‘ill-timed’.
“Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is wrongly trying to take advantage of an epidemic to cut down the salaries of employees and pensions. He should first disclose the figures of funds spent by the State Government to deal with the Coronavirus and the estimated revenue loss to the State’s exchequer due to lockdown.
While expenditure to deal with the Coronavirus situation should be the top priority, it cannot be used as an excuse to cut salaries of government employees,” Narayana Reddy said in a media statement on Tuesday.
Narayana Reddy welcomed the decision for a cut by 75% in the salaries of CM, State cabinet, MLCs, MLAs, State Corporation Chairpersons, Local Bodies representatives and said they cut could be of 100% as most of them are rich. Further, 60% cut in salaries of IAS, IPS IFS and other such Central services Officer might be approved.
However, he said 50% cut in the salaries of all other categories of employees was not acceptable. “The employees were expecting a new PRC next month which is long overdue. Instead of increasing their salaries, as promised by the Chief Minister himself on multiple occasions, KCR is giving them a shock by reducing their salaries to half, he said.
The Congress leader said that the Class IV, outsourcing and contract employees were already drawing less salaries and they were not revised ever since the formation of Telangana State. Now a cut by 10% will have a negative impact on their personal finances.
Similarly, 50% cut in pay for all categories of pensioners would be a severe blow for the elderly persons during the ongoing crisis. “At one side, KCR is asking all private companies to pay full salaries to their employees for the lockdown period. On the other, he is setting a bad example to encourage the private sector to cut the salaries of their employees citing losses due to impact of Coronavirus,” he said.
Narayana Reddy said that the Press Release sent by the Chief Minister’s Office on Monday evening does not specify the month/period for which the salaries would be cut.
However, he said employees and pensioners would be badly hit even if their one day’s salary is cut. He said every month the State Government spends nearly Rs. 1900 Crore on Salaries & Wages and nearly Rs. 860 crore on pensions.
By affecting a cut by 50% in salaries and pensions, the State Government, on an average, could save about Rs. 1370 Crore in a month. “The Chief Minister should first give details of amount spent on treatment of Coronavirus patients, including the cost on Quarantine Centres, upgradation of existing health infrastructure, establishment of new hospitals and related expenses. Further, he should come up with details on likely impact of Coronavirus lockdown on the State’s economy,” he said.
“Finance Minister Harish Rao presented a budget of Rs. 182,914 Crore for the financial year 2020-21 only 22 days ago. He has projected a revenue surplus of Rs. 4,482 Crore in financial year beginning Wednesday. Even if the overall expenditure and losses due to Coronavirus reaches Rs. 20,000 Crore, then it would be around 10% of total budget. Further, the impact of Coronavirus can be ‘long lasting’ but not ‘everlasting’. The Chief Minister cannot force the employees and pensioners to bear the burden for his inability to manage State’s finance in an effective manner,” he said.
Narayana Reddy said all employees, especially those associated with Police, Health and sanitation departments have been working almost on 24×7 basis with huge dedication and commitment to fight the Coronavirus. Therefore, cutting their salaries would be highly uncalled for. “It is strange that the Chief Minister is advocating ‘no work and full salaries’ for the private sector. But for government staff, he wants ‘double work and half salary’. KCR is setting a bad precedent,” he said.
The Congress leader demanded that the Chief Minister withdraw the decision for cut in salaries and pensions of employees while he could go ahead with a cut in salaries of CM, State cabinet, MLCs, MLAs, State Corporation Chairpersons, Local Bodies representatives and senior officials.