In a major relief for outsourced professionals and contractual workers in central government offices, ministries and departments, the Finance Ministry's Department of Expenditure on Monday announced that all contractual worker in such departments would receive their full pay during the lockdown period in several states amid the coronavirus crisis.
The instruction shall be in force till April 30, said an official memorandum by the Department of Expenditure.
In a tweet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that as due to isolation measures to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, several contractual workers may be unable to attend work, and the Finance Ministry has issued orders to declare this period as "on duty" and wages will be paid accordingly.
"Due to social distancing and isolation measures to contain the spread of COVID19, there is a likelihood of number of contractual labour & outsourced staff working for Govt of India being unable to attend work, resulting in deduction in wages, thus causing hardship to them," she said.
"The @FinMinIndia has issued orders to declare this period as 'on duty' and wages paid accordingly. (2/2) #IndiaFightsCorona," the minister said in a second tweet.
The office memorandum issued by the Department of Expenditure said that the instruction shall also apply to subordinate offices and statutory bodies of the Central government.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Labour and Employment advised private companies and entities to desist from job cuts or pay cuts during these troubled times.
"If any worker takes leave, he should be deemed to be on duty without any consequential deduction in wages for this period," the ministry said in a statement.
In another important announcement, FM said that in a bid to ensure adequate supply of food grains to the public and financially assist the state governments, Department of Expenditure, has agreed to the Food and Public Distribution Department's proposal that food grain for 3 months can be lifted by States/ UTs on credit from Food Corporation of India (FCI).
To ensure adequate supply of foodgrains to the public and financially assist the State Govts, Department of Expenditure, @FinMinIndia has agreed to the Food & Public Distribution Department's proposal that foodgrain for 3 months can be lifted by States/ UTs on credit from FCI.— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) March 23, 2020
This, the FM said, will ensure that states do not face any cash constraint in distributing food to those in need.