Shimla, June 18 (IANS) Barely months ahead of the assembly elections, the Himachal Pradesh government Monday decided to give additional financial incentives to its employees and pensioners.
A cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, decided to enhance the fixed medical allowance of the government employees and pensioners from Rs.100 to Rs.250 per month with effect from April 1.
A government spokesperson told IANS that this would benefit over 80,000 people, entailing an annual expenditure of Rs.14.40 crore.
It was also decided to enhance the honorarium of computer operators, engaged under the central government's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the rural development department, from Rs.8,000 to Rs.13,500.
For ex-servicemen and their widows, the cabinet decided to increase the monthly pension from Rs.330 to Rs.400. World War II soldiers and their widows will get a pension of Rs.750 instead of Rs.500.
Addressing a function in Bilaspur district Sunday, Dhumal said financial benefits worth Rs.6,500 crore had been given to the government employees in the past four years.
Official sources said close to half of the annual budget of the debt-ridden state was being spent on its serving and retired employees.
According to the 2012-13 budget, out of the total expenditure of Rs.20,243.92 crore, the spending on salaries and pension is Rs.9,069.81 crore.
Himachal Pradesh is likely to go to the polls for its 68-seat assembly in October.