PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Friday said the fund maintained in the public account of the Union Territory can’t be used for the payment of salaries to government employees as it’s not owned by the government but is held in a trust. The fund comprises Government Provident Fund (GPF), civil deposits and insurance money.

In a statement, Bedi said she is fully aware of the onerous responsibility to financially secure the Union Territory. The elected government asked for approval to use the said fund for disbursal of salaries to government employees for May 2020 and the LG’s office asked the government not to draw from the public fund which is held in a trust, but to deposit the said fund with the RBI, avail an advance from the RBI and disburse the salaries. 

This is to ensure non-diversion of the fund held in the trust, she said. The central government has issued orders for release of GST compensation of Rs.247.75 crore to Puducherry for the months of December, January and February which will reduce financial stress on the UT administration, she added.

Bedi’s comments came as a rejoinder to Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao who on Thursday faulted the Lt Governor for not approving the use of the fund to pay salaries to government employees which had forced the government to borrow money at 3 per cent interest from the RBI.

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