English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

15000 employees go without salaries in Himachal first time in Congress rule

Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has himself gone on record that the state’s fiscal health was very bad

Shimla: Having romped home to power in Himachal Pradesh on a promise to implement the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh has run out of cash, even for salaries to the staff.

In worst ever embarrassment to the six-month government, nearly 15000 employees of the state did not get their wages till mid-June 2023

The employees included those working in the state government entities, boards and corporations, including State Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), which has 12000 employees

The salaries used to be disbursed in the first week of every month.

But now they are waiting for salaries for May 2023.

Others waiting for the salaries are outsourced employees of Forest Corporation, Labour and Employment, Medical College and Jal Shakti Department.

The reports suggest that the state government treasury is running an overdraft of Rs 1000 crore and the government has a plan to raise fresh loans worth Rs 900 cr . The government has already raised loans worth Rs 6000 cr during the past six months.

Himachal Pradesh has a debt of Rs 75,000 cr while the state government has to clear liabilities of Rs 11,000 cr to pay arrears of revised wages to the employees.

The state has practically no money to pay salaries, pensions and for development projects.

The decision of the Congress government to restore OPS, which came into force from April 1, 2023 has caused a further burden of Rs 800 to 900 cr on the exchequer even as the centre has declined to return Rs 9,242.60 crore deposited under the National Pension Scheme (NPS) by the State government.

Himachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, who also holds the charge of transport said “there is a well-thought-out strategy of the centre to create a financial crisis in the state by stopping some of the grants. Even reports about non-payment of salaries are orchestrated to defame the congress government”

The HRTC is running into huge losses. Against an income of Rs 65 cr, the expenditure of the HRTC is Rs 144 cr. There is a huge shortfall every month which is met by the state government.

“ The money has been released by the finance department only a day before. It’s come to our accounts. Now, the salaries will be paid” he said.

Agnihotri reminded the BJP that it had not paid the arrears of the overtime duties of the HRTC staff for three years which the congress had released now.

Meanwhile, the centre has imposed a cut on loan limits of the state government from Rs 14,500 cr to Rs 8,500 cr . The state government is not getting any GST payments . There is also a cut on externally aided projects.

Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has himself gone on record that the state’s fiscal health was very bad and efforts were underway to raise sources and tap some of the options to bring the economy on the rails.

“We are not going back on levying water cess on the hydel projects. This will provide an income of Rs 3000 cr . We have also imposed cow cess on every bottle of liquor sold in the state” he says

But the fact remains that after the congress gained over in the state the conditions on the fiscal front have become quite precarious. A liability of Rs 6000 crores is payable to private contractors of the PWD.

The decision to grant Rs 1500 pm to women as per the election promise is also going to cost dear to the state while some of the promises like 300 units of free power are still to be implemented even as similar grantees are being made by the congress in the states going to polls in next few months.