Nearly 850 District Institute of Education and Training employees in Maharashtra who have not received their salaries since May 2020 come together for a silent protest on Thursday in their respective offices. As a part of the centre-sponsored schemes, the academic programme has a 60-40 division between the Centre and the State, where the State has not released any amount after cutting down the expenses during COVID-19 pandemic.
The DIET employees are continuously trying to contact the higher officials, but all their efforts are in vain. Therefore, they continue to work with black bands as a sign of a silent protest against this non-payment of salaries.
A DIET employee said, “We have not received our well-deserved salaries despite working throughout the lockdown. Many of us have EMIs to pay and bills to clear, but the government is not considering our situation. Despite making several representations, our file is still pending.”
Why the delay in payment?
Before COVID-19, the Centre government lagged in the payments and so, the state compensated for it. But ever since the pandemic, the state government had to cut down its expenses and the sources are saying that a delay in disbursal of funds from the Central government is leading to this holding back of salaries. According to a report by The Times of India, Dayanand Jatnure, an employee of DIET, Pune said, “Pre-Covid, the state would pay our salaries and even if the centre hadn’t released their share. But that hasn’t happened since May, and most of the employees haven’t been paid.”
No response to any letter
Talking about the crisis, a government official said, “Usually, the state would pool its own funds if there was a delay from the Centre. However, this time due to several decisions of the government with respect to the capping of expenditures due to Covid-19 related costs, it has not done so.” Most of the employees of DIET are appointed through the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC), and they are constantly writing to the government from the education department.
An employee added, “A letter has gone to the government from the education department, but there is no response.” Another concern that came up was regarding the coronavirus infections, about which Jatnure said, “So many of us are testing positive for Covid-19 and are having to seek treatment in private hospitals as beds are short. When we are struggling to make ends meet due to non-payment, how can we afford treatment?”
Recommendation by The Policy Times
- This is not the first time when the government has held back the payments with no information, but as these are challenging times, people are struggling more than usual.
- While there are many provisions for government employees and maintaining their salary payments, still, there are many places where they are lacking, and the policymakers should focus on this struggle.
- The authorities must take responsibility for holding proper communication with these protesting employees.