Chandigarh, Aug 19 (PTI) Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday urged government employees to withdraw their strike and resume office to help the state government fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the state government has stood by its employees and pensioners despite the financial constraints due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the pandemic.
It has paid 100 per cent salary and pension to them and has been paying it on time without any delay, Badal said in a statement here.
On the call given by the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, state government employees have gone on mass casual leave from August 19 till 21 in protest against the authorities' decisions of reducing their mobile allowance and “cut down” the pay scale for new recruits.
They are demanding the release of pending instalments of dearness allowance, arrears, implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations and restoration of the old pension scheme.
Urging the employees to end their strike, Badal in the statement said the state government has even allowed provisional pension to the employees retiring from January 2020 onwards so that no one has to face financial crunch on account of the lockdown.
The state government had imposed a statewide curfew from March 23 so as to break the COVID-19 transmission chain, he said, adding that the economic activity came to a standstill during the lockdown.
However, with the relaxations in the lockdown and the economy opening up, there has been a revival in some sectors, though many sectors remain subdued.
He said the state's effort to break the transmission through the imposition of lockdown/curfew has also meant a significant loss of revenue.
The state has foreseen a shortfall in revenues that could be even more than the initial assessment of 25 per cent of the total revenue receipts (BE), he said.
He stressed that with little support from the Centre and despite fiscal constraints, the state has fulfilled its obligations.
With the announcement of the lockdown, states like Telangana, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan had imposed a 50 per cent to 60 per cent salary cut but the Punjab government has been paying full salaries to its employees on time, he said.PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK