While the government has said it will consider their issues, employee organisations launched a week-long protest on December 7, demanding various benefits.

Andhra govt employees launch protest seeking pay revisionImage Credit: YouTube/NTV Telugu
news Employment Tuesday, December 07, 2021 - 19:32

Andhra Pradesh government employees staged demonstrations across the state on Tuesday, December 7, demanding that their rightful entitlements, including the long-delayed pay revision, be granted forthwith, failing which they threatened to intensify their fight. Sporting black badges, employees protested in various towns in the state seeking, among other things, immediate implementation of the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) recommendations, clearance of seven pending Dearness Allowance (DA) instalments, implementation of a robust medical reimbursement scheme and abolition of the contributory pension scheme.

The employees warned that they were ready to step up their fight till their rightful demands were conceded. The Andhra Pradesh Joint Action Committee led the agitation programme in which members of the AP Non-Gazetted Officers (NGOs) Association and other groups participated.

This was the first day of the week-long protest programme chalked out by the JACs, in concert with other employee organisations. Meanwhile, the government sought to mollify the agitating employees, saying it was favourably considering their issues.

Government Advisor (Employees Welfare) Nalumuru Chandrasekhar Reddy told the media on the evening of December 7 that the exercise related to implementation of PRC recommendations was on as the Chief Minister promised action in a week. The government was also ready to give the pending DA arrears, he said.

Speaking in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh JAC Amaravati president Bopparaju Venkateswarlu said more than three years have elapsed since the PRC recommendations were made, but the government took no action till date. "We appreciated the government's situation, including the pathetic finances and patiently waited for more than three years. But the government has so far not even made the PRC report public, let alone implement it. We have certainly run out of patience," Bopparaju said.

While the Union government and states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka too cleared the pending DA dues, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has kept at least seven DA instalments due, protesting employees said. 

"Our families are also facing severe economic hardship as there has been no rise in pay and stalling of all other benefits. We are not asking the government anything more than our own money," Bopparaju said.

Andhra Pradesh JAC chairman Bandi Srinivasa Rao, who is also president of the AP NGOs Association, led the protest in Visakhapatnam. 

"For more than two years now, even our health cards are not being honoured (by hospitals), forcing the employees to incur lakhs of Rupees expenditure on healthcare. Retired employees are not being given their due benefits," he pointed out.

He said this was only the beginning of their agitation programme, which would only be intensified if the government continued to remain indifferent to their demands.

Government Advisor Chandrasekhar Reddy said payment of DA arrears may happen after the PRC. "The government is focused on that. Also, it is working out modalities for scrapping the contributory pension scheme and the Chief Minister will soon take a policy decision in this regard,” Reddy, who was previously the leader of the AP NGOs, added.

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