The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved 78 days’ productivity-linked bonus (PLB) for about 12.30 lakh non-gazetted railway employees, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing a press conference later, Jaitley said: “The Cabinet has approved 78 days’ productivity-linked bonus for non-gazetted rail employees for 2016-17.”

He said that according to the existing formula, the PLB was for 72 days.

“Six years ago there was a tradition of giving 78-day bonus. So, the Cabinet has approved the 78-day PLB,” the Finance Minister added.

According to the government, about 12.30 lakh non-gazetted railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision. The payment will be made before Dussehra Puja holidays.

The financial implication of payment of 78-day PLB to railway employees has been estimated at Rs 2,245.45 crore.

The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB is Rs 7,000 per month. The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs 17,951 for 78 days.

The government also said the payment of PLB would serve as an incentive, and result in motivating a large number of railway employees, particularly those involved in execution and operations of railways, to improve their productivity and ensure safety, speed and service for railway customers.

The government also said that the Indian Railways operates on the principle of maximum public welfare, and in this context, this bonus payment would help in improving accountability and efficiency in railways operations.