Cabinet panel on cutting holidays to hold consultation

Cabinet panel on cutting holidays to hold consultation

A Cabinet sub-committee constituted to review the number of public holidays in the state held its first meeting on Wednesday and decided to put in place a consultation process before finalising its report.

The panel headed by Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda was constituted following concerns that government officials enjoyed more offs than necessary.

Government officials enjoy more than 100 holidays including earned leave. There are 52 Sundays, 12 second Saturdays and 25 other holidays. If the recommendation of the Sixth Pay Commission to declare fourth Saturday as a holiday is accepted, another 12 days will get added.

The panel will decide on holidays that can be dispensed with. There have been public representations made by Veerashaiva-Lingayat organisations to declare Basava Jayanthi a non-holiday considering that the 12th century social reformer advocated the principle of “Kayakave Kailasa” (work is worship).

Sources said the panel will seek the opinion of various communities, state government employees’ association and experts in the field of public administration before finalising its recommendations. However, trimming of public holidays, if put in place, will come into effect only from the calendar year 2020.

It was Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge who had first suggested last year that the current number of public holidays can be cut down and replaced with restricted holidays allowing employees to avail of leaves as per requirement. 

The pay commission has also recommended that the working hours for government employees be increased by one hour every day. At present, government employees work between 10.30 am and 5.30 pm. The Karnataka State Government Employees’ Association, while accepting the fourth Saturday holiday proposal, does not want the working hours to be extended.