Thiruvananthapuram: Over 5,000 state government employees retired from service in Kerala. The employees who turned 56 years old celebrated the completion of their tenure on May 31. Preliminary reports suggest that state government needs more than Rs 1,700 crore to provide retirement benefits to the retired employees.

The Finance Department had earlier approved retirement benefits and stated that all employees should receive benefits within a month. If the benefits are delayed, the concerned officials will be found punished, stated the Finance Department’s directive.

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The government needs to provide the retirement benefits within a month because a delay will necessitate payment of interest on the benefits, which may cause a huge loss to the government.

According to data, the number of retirees is more when compared to last year. The SPARK (Service and Payroll Administrative Repository for Kerala) data collection shows that more than 5000 employees will turn 56 by May 31.

The trend in recording the date of birth on May 31 in schools in Kerala decades ago, resulted in this mass retirement at the end of the month.

The non-existence of birth certificates decades ago caused the practice of recording people’s date of birth as May 31. The date of birth of a child used to be recorded in school certificates which acted as proof. Schools in Kerala would, regardless of the actual date of birth of the child, record it as May 31 in order to facilitate easy recordkeeping and tracking of batches among other reasons.