Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today announced a slew of concessions, including hike in assistance under Family Welfare Fund, for state government employees amid protests by some sections among them.
Other concessions announced included increase in pension for nutritious meal workers, relaxation in norms for promotions and a rise in honorarium for guest lecturers.
In a suo motu statement in the Assembly, Ms Jayalalithaa said the assistance under the Family Welfare Fund for the kin of government employees, if they die in harness, would be increased to Rs. three lakh from the present Rs. 1.5 lakh accepting the request of several employees associations.
According to the plan, the employees' contribution would be Rs. 60 from the previous Rs. 30, she said. As of now, the government subsidy for the scheme is Rs. 6.18 crore, and the increase in assistance would entail an additional expenditure of Rs. six crore and it will be borne by the state government.
Amid stir by sections of government employees pressing for several demands since February 10, she said government employees "are the face, foundation, and backbone of the government" who take government welfare schemes to the people.
She said government employees had given several demands and representations over which senior ministers and officials held talks with them. "My government has decided to give them various concessions," she said.
On the demand of several government employees unions for scrapping the Contributory Pension Scheme and reverting to the Old Pension Scheme, she said, "the demand should be thoroughly scrutinised. Hence, an expert committee will be set up to go into the demand and make recommendations to government. An appropriate decision will be taken based on the report of the panel."
For those who joined government service on or after April 1, 2003, the Contributory Pension Scheme is applicable under which employees and the state both contribute for the Pension Plan.
Under Group Insurance Scheme for employees including those in local-bodies, government aided educational institutions, and nutritious meal programme, the sum insured would be increased to Rs. three lakh from the present Rs. 1.50 lakh. It would mean an additional expenditure of Rs. 20 crore for the government over and above the Rs. 22 crore per annum being spent now, she said.
Jobs under compassionate grounds would be regularised through a common government order to avoid delay, Ms Jayalalithaa said.
Those appointed under compassionate grounds could get employment benefits like increment only after regularisation.
For posts that need relaxation in norms, nod of TNPSC would be obtained and government orders would be issued relaxing norms, she said.
Till such time TNPSC approval is received, such employees would be treated as temporary government employees and they would be given annual increment.
The pension for retired nutritious meal employees would be increased to Rs. 1,500 from the present Rs. 1000 benefiting 86,873 employees and it would cost an additional Rs. 51.13 crore for the government.
Similarly, cash benefits would be increased to Rs. 60,000 from the present Rs. 50,000 for nutritious meal workers. Also, cash benefits for chef and cooking assistants would also be increased to Rs. 25,000 from Rs. 20,000, she said.
She also announced relaxation in service norms covering eligibility for promotion. In the Rural Development
Department, eligibility for supervisors for getting promoted to the post of Junior Engineer would now be reduced to seven years from ten years, she said.
A total of 157 associate professors serving in Government Medical College Hospitals would be promoted as professors.
Bringing 1,500 nurses under time-scale of pay, promotion for 605 village sanitary nurses, hike of Rs. 5000 in honorarium for guest lecturers --from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month, setting up an administrative tribunal were among other announcements, she made.
On representations related to pay, issues like bringing those under consolidated pay into the time-scale bracket and parity will be examined by the pay commission, she said.
"I believe that the new announcements will pave the way for government employees work with a new vigour," she said,
Legislators, including CK Thamizharasan (RPI) and Jawahirullah (Manithaneya Makkal Katchi), praised and welcomed the new announcements.