Every employee of the Karnataka government will be giving up a day’s salary in November towards the ‘Punyakoti Dattu Yojana’, the ruling BJP’s cattle welfare scheme. The state finance department issued an order to this effect, allowing deduction of the one-time contribution for the welfare and upkeep of cattle in government-run gaushalas.
The state government is hoping to raise close to Rs 80 crore to Rs 100 crore with the contributions. ‘Punyakoti Dattu Yojana’, an ambitious project of chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, was introduced in the previous state budget to encourage people to adopt cows and fund their rearing.
The amount deducted from government employees’ salaries will be credited directly into the account of the department of animal husbandry and veterinary services. Although these contributions were earlier said to be “voluntary”, the state government’s order now states that those who do not wish to contribute should mention in writing to salary disbursing heads of their departments before November 25.
The order stipulates that the deduction will be done in salaries for November. According to the order, Group A employees will have to contribute Rs 11,000; Group B employees Rs 4,000; and Group C employees Rs 400, while Group D employees, including peons, guards and sweepers, are exempt.
President of State Government Employees’ Association, CS Shadakshari said they were happy to be part of this “noble cause”. The president had led a delegation to meet the chief minister and give him a consent letter on behalf of employees for their salaries to be deducted.
“The government had sought the support of all government workers to successfully implement the ‘Punyakoti Dattu Yojana’, in July. We suggested in September that one day’s salary can be given towards the flagship scheme of adopting cows and gaushala maintenance. The government had sought the permission of all grades of officers and employees before issuing the order, we provided that,” Shadakshari told News18.
Bommai has also assured the implementation of the seventh pay commission for the benefit of government employees. The BJP-led government is hopeful that the ‘Punyakoti’ scheme and the state’s new Act for the prevention of slaughter and preservation of cattle will complement each other.
The state government aims to help build 100 gaushalas and house abandoned cattle, while the Act will help implement a blanket ban on cattle slaughter. Only terminally ill cows and buffalo aged above 13 can be slaughtered, as per the new law.
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