The Jammu and Kashmir Government on Friday ordered recovery of excess amount paid to employees as part of additional salary for discharging elections duties during municipal and Panchayat polls held in the Union Territory in the year 2018. This amount was paid to the employees in the year 2018.
Although the then-government had announced one-month additional salaries for government employees deployed for elections duties, the concerning drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) had sanctioned other allowances also in favour of those employees, which was a violation of rules.
In all, Rs 43.29 crores have been paid to employees along with additional salary due to mistakes by DDOs who construed salary to be inclusive of local allowances, HRA, deputation allowance, and traveling allowance.
Amount to be recovered from over 1.5 lakh employees
During the 2018 municipal and Panchayat elections, over 1.5 lakh employees were deployed for poll duties across Jammu and Kashmir. The State Administrative Council (SAC) of the erstwhile state of J&K, in December 2018 had sanctioned one-month additional salary/wages/remuneration in favour of government employees engaged all over the state to conduct polling for 1,145 wards of 79 municipal bodies. Over one lakh employees were engaged in these elections.
The process of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) elections was started on September 18, 2018, and concluded on October 20, 2018, with the completion of counting of all municipalities.
The Government had deputed over 1.5 lakh employees for a nine-phase Panchayat poll, which started on November 17 and concluded on December 11, 2018.
Excessive amounts were withdrawn
As per the order issued by the government excessive amounts were withdrawn as employees, engaged in elections duties, were not entitled to some allowances paid to them in 2018.
"The DDOs across the then erstwhile state of J&K drew one-month additional salary in favour of the employees as per their interpretation", the order reads.
However the Principal Accountant General, J&K sought a clarification on the admissibility of various allowances while drawing one-month additional salary in favour of these employees as many DDOs paid allowances like HRA/CCA etc as a part of the salary in pursuance of the order.
"The matter was examined in the department and it came to fore that in terms of Article 27 (b) of J&K Civil Services Regulations (Volume-I), the definition of salary does not include local allowances, HRA, deputation allowance, travelling allowance and the payment of these allowances in favour of concerned employees were wrongly made," the order reads, adding, "same has resulted in excess payment of Rs. 43.29 crores which need to be recovered from these officers/officials and also from the employees who in the meanwhile retired on superannuation."
Subsequently, the government has ordered immediate recovery of excess amount paid to any employee deployed/associated with the conduct of the elections.