MUMBAI: India's richest civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, despite being strapped for cash currently, has decided to give its employees a Diwali bonus. Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar made the announcement on Monday, administering a shot of much-needed cheer to thousands of civic workers.
"A bonus of Rs 15,500 will be given to municipal workers, Rs 7,750 to teaching and non-teaching staff of subsidised private schools, Rs 4,700 to education workers of municipal primary schools and Rs 2,350 to teachers of subsidised private schools. In addition to this, we have decided to give Rs 4,400 to social health volunteers as a gift for Bhaubeej (Bhaidooj)," Pednekar announced.
The civic body had suffered a 41 per cent loss in revenue in the first six months of the financial year 2020-21. To bail itself out of this crisis, it had planned to dip into its reserves (in fixed deposits) and withdraw Rs 5,000 crore.
The BMC’s income has taken a hit during the Covid-19-induced lockdown, as earnings under several heads such as property and water taxes, development charges etc. have dipped because of the pandemic. Its expenditures have also risen by around Rs 600 crore because of the Covid-19 relief measures it has undertaken, according to the latest available figures.
A Diwali bonus of Rs 15,500 has been announced, an increase of Rs 500 as compared to last year. This measure will put an additional burden of Rs 155 crore on the municipal coffers.
Last month, the municipal employees' union had demanded a bonus equivalent to 20 per cent of employee salaries for the year 2019-20. Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and Mayor Pednekar held a meeting on Friday to resolve the issue, following which Pednekar made the announcement on Monday.
Pednekar told The Free Press Journal, "We have come to a conclusion which is a win-win for both the administration and the employees/workers. The civic body is facing a huge financial crisis and despite this, a decision to give emloyee bonuses was taken, considering how they have risked their lives working day and night to ensure civic services reach Mumbaikars uninterrupted. They deserve this bonus and even more."