Ahead of Dussehra, the Centre announced bonus for year 2019-2020 which will benefit 30 lakh non-gazetted employees. The total financial implication of this will be Rs 3,737 crore. Both productivity-linked bonus and non-productivity-linked bonus have been approved, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on 21 October, announcing the decisions approved by the Union Cabinet.
The announcement brings cheer among government employees as uncertainty loomed large over bonus announcement this year, owing to COVID-19 pandemic. These bonuses are generally announced before Dussehra every year. But as there was no announcement until 21 October, government employees were apprehending that they might not get bonus this time.
The bonus will be disbursed at one instalment and before Vijaya Dashami, the Union minister said.
The beneficiaries include 17 lakh non-gazetted employees from commercial establishments like railways, post office, EPFO, ESIC who will get their productivity-linked bonus and other 13 lakh government employees who will get their non-productivity-linked bonus.
All India Railways Federation — a union of railways staff — had called for a nationwide two-hour strike on 22 October, demanding immediate disbursal of the bonus. The union said the government should not deny bonus pertaining to 2019-20 citing this year’s pandemic.
“If middle class people have money in their hands during the festive season, demands will go up in the marker,” the minister said explaining the decision.
Non-PLB or ad-hoc Bonus is given to Non-Gazetted Central Government employees. 13.70 lakh employees would be benefited and Rs.946 crore will be the financial implication for the same. A total of 30.67 lakh employees would be benefited by the Bonus announcement and total financial implication will be Rs 3,737 crore.
The AIRF has said if the bonus is not released immediately, they will be compelled to intensify their protest and take “direct action”. “Today all affiliated unions of AIRF have launched various agitational programmes all over the country to strongly protest the inordinate delay in payment of PLB (productivity-linked bonus) to railwaymen and condemned the government for this delay,” said AIRF general secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra in a statement.
Worth mentoning here is that the Ministry of Railways had recommended payment of the bonus to all railway employees to the Finance Ministry in the first week of October. The bonus is usually paid a week before Durga Puja/Dussehra for the past four decades.