The retirement age of Kerala state government employees might be raised to 57 years from the present 56, as per indications.
It is only in Kerala that state government employees retire so early, as while in some states, the retirement age is 58 years and in some, it is 60.
This announcement is expected to be made in the soon to be presented state budget for the 2022-23 fiscal by Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal, as per sources.
The reason for this is the precariously-placed financial position of the Kerala government as if the retirement age is increased by a year, the end of service benefits including gratuity can be deferred by an year, which would turn a big bonus for Balagopal, as at the moment he is finding it tough to meet both ends meet and the only way is to borrow and keep on borrowing.
Incidentally it was the Oommen Chandy government (2011-16) who regularised the retirement age of all employees to 56.
The source also pointed out that it was the Kerala State Pay Revision Commission, chaired by retired veteran bureaucrat K. Mohandas, which studied this aspect and recommended it and the Pinarayi Vijayan government asked a five member high-level bureaucratic committee to look into it.
If this is going to be implemented, then the youth organisations of various political parties is expected to take to the streets as there are over a record four million people who have registered in the employment agencies seeking a government job.
All eyes will be on the CPI-M-affiliated Democratic Youth Federation of India who are the most vocal whenever there is a talk of raising the retirement age of state government employees.