Railways to shell out Rs 666 crore for bonus payment

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New Delhi, Oct 11 (UNI) The Union Cabinet's decision to award 70 days' wages as Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) to non-gazetted railway employees for the Financial Year 2006-07, the highest in the history of Indian Railways, will entail an outgo of Rs 666 crore.

Last year the Railway Ministry had to shell out Rs 624 crore for paying PLB, which was equivalent to 59 days' wages, a top ministry official said today.

He said the cabinet decision would benefit roughly 1.33 million Group C and D employees out of the Railways' total workforce of 1.42 million.

On an average, each eligible railways employee will get an amount of Rs 5,800 as compared to Rs 5200 last year. The bonus is to be paid before the Dussehra festival.

During 1997-2005, the PLB for railway employees was equivalent to 59 days' wages.

''The government's decision to fix PLB equivalent to 70 days' wages for the financial year 2006-07 is not only unprecedented in the annals of Indian Railways but also speaks volumes about its robust financial health and is a testimony to its phenomenal performance during the last three years,'' the official said.

Earlier, briefing reporters on the cabinet decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi said the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) personnel would not be eligible for the PLB.

Mr Dasmunsi said the PLB was approved on the basis of the formula approved by the Cabinet at its meeting held on September 23, 2000.

Pointing out that ''payment of bonus is an indicator of our performance,'' the official asserted that all the targets of the Railways -- freight transportation of 785 million tonnes, operating ratio of 79 per cent and the cash surplus of Rs 21,600 crore -- would be exceeded by decent margins.

UNI

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