The Lok Sabha Secretariat and Rajya Sabha Secretariat have asked the State Bank of India’s (SBI) Parliament Annexe branch to make available Rs 5 crore by November 21, so that they can pay advance salaries in cash to their staff.
The SBI branch manager, Sudhir Malhotra, has sought the Reserve Bank of India’s guidance.
Confirming this, Malhotra told The Sunday Express: “We received requests from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha offices on Friday, to arrange Rs 5 crore in cash by Monday (November 21) so that they can give Rs 10,000 as advance salary to their staffers… I have sent the requisition to my senior authority and also sought RBI’s guidance, as there are standard norms about paying Rs 24,000 to a savings bank account holder and Rs 50,000 to a current account holder.
Malhotra said all Parliament employees normally get their salaries in their accounts, and no cash requests from the secretariats had been received in the past.
About 4,000 Parliament employees have salary accounts in the SBI branch.
“The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats could have just asked the branch to transfer the advance salary amount to their staffers’ accounts . They may be asking for cash to save their employees from the inconvenience being faced by others,” said a senior SBI officer who did not want to be named.
He said the government should come forward to encourage cashless transactions. “Moreover, it will be very difficult to justify Rs 5 crore cash withdrawal from one branch,” said the officer, adding that the RBI would take a final call.
When contacted, a spokesman for the Lok Sabha Secretariat, confirmed the move, adding that the request for cash was made in keeping with a circular from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which stated that salary advance should be paid to non-gazetted employees for the month of November.
He, however, maintained that the measure was only for 179 Group-C employees of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, and the total amount was a little less than Rs 1.80 crore. He claimed the amount involved was far below the limit set for withdrawals from banks, and would reduce the rush at ATMs and banks.