From October 2, 2018, employees of Assam government will be compelled to look after their elderly parents or differently-abled siblings who do not have any source of income. Non-compliance will result in a deduction of 10% to 15% from their monthly salary.
The BJP-led Assam government has enacted legislation, the first of its kind in India, called the Assam Employees Parental Responsibility Norms for Accountability Monitoring (PRANAM) Act, 2017. Reportedly, the cabinet approved the rules of the act on July 23 which will come into action from October 2
According to the Times Of India, Assam finance minister Hemant Biswa Sarma said, “This is to ensure that they (the employees) look after their parents, who do not have any source of income and are dependent on them. The employee should also take care of a physically challenged sibling who is also dependent on him.”
How will Assam Government’s new law work?
According to the new rules, if a child (government employee) fails to look after his or her parents who are dependent, 10% of their gross monthly salary will be deducted and deposited to the parent’s account. Similarly, in the case of differently-abled siblings, the salary deduction can be up to 15%.
The norms state that the aggrieved parents will have to approach the Drawing and Disbursal Officer (DDO) of the office where their wards work to claim money for their upkeep. At the same time, they also have to produce documents which state that they have no source of income. Hence, under this rule, parents who already receive pensions or have additional sources of income are exempted from the ambit of this rule. The DDO can even reject the application of aggrieved parents if the officer finds no ground for seeking assistance.
The Pranam Commission
Sarma said, “Not satisfied with the DDO’s stand; both parties can approach the director of the department concerned as he will be the appellate authority as per the Act. If still not happy, one can approach the Pranam Commission. The entire matter should be settled within three months.”
Reportedly, the Pranam commission is being set up. The commission will be made up of one commissioner, who is going to be a retired officer of the rank of additional chief secretary or above and two other additional commissioners. The additional commissioners can either be social workers or two retired civil servants.
When the bill was being passed in the assembly, Sarma said that a similar bill would be introduced within the next three years for the MPs and the MLAs as well as employees of Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) and private companies in Assam.
Notably, earlier in July 2018, an elderly couple in Assam’s Sivasagar town committed suicide. They left suicide note which cited their reasons for committing suicide. Reportedly, they were facing acute financial difficulties and their only son, an Oil and Natural Gas Commission employee did not look after them.