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KL This Week: NHM Employees Hold Rallies and Dharna; Urge Disbursal of Central Share

Neelambaran A |
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important happenings from across Kerala during the past week.
KL This Week

Image credit: R Prakash

NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important happenings across Kerala during the past week, including the protests by the National Health Mission (NHM) employees against central negligence, protests by the Catholic Syrian Bank Staff Federation (CSBSF) condemning the non-implementation of the 11th bipartite settlement, and the restoration of 1.5 crore workdays in the Mahatma National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) after a strong voice of dissent from the state government.


Condemning the indifferent approach of the central government towards the important NHM, the workers attached to the NHM Employees Federation affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held marches towards the central government offices and held dharnas. The federation has been accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government of attempting to destroy the health system in the state.

The delay in fund distribution to Kerala has affected the implementation of different schemes of NHM along with the wages and social welfare measures of the workers. The CITU has urged the central government to immediately disburse the pending dues and enable the health department to restore the social welfare measures to the workers.

Even as the central share fell from 90% to 60% since the launch of the programme in 2005, the drying up of funds has led to the stagnation of the workers' salaries for a few years. The inordinate delay in the distribution of funds has also impacted the functioning of the projects.

The state president of the federation, U P Joseph, inaugurated the protest in Thrissur district, while leaders of the federation and CITU participated in the district-level rally and dharnas. The employees have been holding various protests against the neglect of the central government.


The staff of the Kerala-based CSB Bank held a dharna in front of the head office of the bank against the non-implementation of the 11th bipartite settlement for wage revision, even as the 12th bipartite settlement has been signed by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and the Indian Banks Association (IBA).

The CSBSU has accused the bank management of refusing to implement the earlier bipartite settlement after the foreign direct investment from a Canada-based organisation, leaving the employees without industry-level wages. The bank has not submitted the mandate for the 12th bipartite settlement as well.

The workers also demand the inclusion of the representatives of the majority union, the CSBSF, affiliated with the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), to be included in the provident fund trust and pension trust. The issues faced by the temporary workers in different categories in the bank, working with low wages, also flayed during the dharna.


The government of Kerala and the Department of Local Self-Government (LSG) took strong exception to the reduction of 1.5 crore workdays under the MNREGA by the Union Rural Development Ministry. The issue was a major talking point in the Nava Kerala Sadas, where several thousand beneficiaries raised concerns over the reduction of man-days and delay in the distribution of wages.

After the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government raised objections, the reduction was withdrawn. The Union ministry has allocated only 6 crore man-days for the state for the current fiscal, in place of 9.5 crore man-days in the previous year. The earlier intervention of the LSG minister resulted in the increase of 2 crore man-days and now the remaining 1.5 crore man-days are also being allocated.

Writing on Facebook, the minister for LSG, M B Rajesh, said that the empowerment committee of the union rural development ministry held on January 10 announced the decision of restoring the man-days along with the allocation for the labour budget. The state government has demanded the central government to allocate 10.5 crore man-days considering the achievement of the state in implementing the scheme, including the completion of social audit.


The state-level school Arts Festival, the school Kalolsavam concluded on January 8, with the Kannur district crowned champion. The district has won the festival after a gap of 23 years, with Kozhikode and Palakkad capturing the second and third positions respectively.

Kannur occupied the top positions in High School (HS) general and Higher Secondary School (HSS) general while Kollam topped in HS Sanskrit and Malappuram winning the HS Arabic sections. The top two teams were separated only by just three points with Kannur scoring 952 and Kozhikode scoring 949. Thrissur and Malappuram completed the top five.

The Kannur district panchayat and social organisations accorded a warm welcome to the winners, with banners carrying messages including ‘Beautiful Kannur, Not Bloody Kannur’ in a rebuttal to the Governor of Kerala.

The competitions included events like drama, group dance and song, instrument playing, different traditional art forms including Kathakali, Mapillapattu, Vanchipattu, and recitation in languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, English, Urdu, and Kannada. The festival is considered to be the biggest school-level competition in Asia, with the first event being held in 1957. The event took place continuously without a break till 2020 but was suspended in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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