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Job sop before poll

Chennai, Jan. 20: Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa today announced that the freeze on recruitment to government posts stands withdrawn.

The freeze ordered in 2001 to protect the state’s depleting coffers could now be overturned as finances had returned to the “pink of health”, she told the Assembly today.

The announcement came alongside a slew of concessions for farmers and the urban poor ahead of the Assembly elections that are due in the next three or four months.

Jayalalithaa said the freeze had never been total as doctors, teachers and policemen had continued to be recruited in times of need. But now, “it was completely withdrawn”.

Jayalalithaa’s rivals ' the PMK and Left parties ' had so far been making an electoral issue of the freeze. With uncanny timing, the ADMK leader has taken the sting out of their campaign.

In another sop that will entail an annual outgo of Rs 1,200 crore, she announced a virtual wage revision for the 12.38 lakh state government employees and teachers.

From now on, 50 per cent of their dearness allowance would be merged with basic pay, she said. This would be shown as “dearness pay” in salary slips but would be taken into account for other benefits, including pension.

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