The Karnataka Government has increased the festival advance of its employees from ₹10,000 to ₹25,000 following a rise in the prices of essential commodities.
The decision was taken following a demand from the Karnataka State Government Employees’ Association (KSGEA).
An order issued by the Finance Department said that all permanent government employees, including the IAS and KAS cadre, are eligible for availing festival advance.
An employee can obtain the advance, which is free of interest, once a year. The amount has to be repaid within 10 months in equal instalments.
About 5.25 lakh employees are eligible to avail the festival advance. During January-October 2021, 1,29,000 employees had availed the festival advance, and the amount totalled ₹129 crore, said C.S. Shadakshari, president of the KSGEA.
The practice of festival advance was started in 1998 by the J.H. Patel government with ₹500. The amount was increased to ₹5,000 in 2012 by the BJP government. The amount was further increased to ₹10,000 in 2018.
The Association president said no other State in India provides an amount of ₹25,000 as festival advance. He thanked Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who also holds the finance portfolio, for increasing the festival advance.
In October 2020, the government increased the Dearness Allowance from 21.5% of basic pay to 24.5%. The hike also applied to pensioners.