The dearness allowance (DA) and dearness relief (DR) for Central government staff has been restored, and increased the same from 17 to 28 per cent. This means, an increment of 11 per cent. The hikes in these allowances had been frozen amidst the pandemic in order to check expenditure and save about Rs 38,000 crore for the Centre, which was utilised to vaccinate the population.
The COVID crisis had led to the Finance Ministry deciding to put increments in dearness allowance (DA) for 50 lakh Central government employees and 61 lakh pensioners on hold till July 2021.
This increase in allowance reflects the additional instalments that arose on January 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021. The rate of DA/DR for the period January, 2020 to June 2021 will remain 17 per cent.
Many beneficiaries argue, however, that the Centre should recognise their “contribution” towards COVID relief/vaccination.
Also, some pointed out that those who retired in the last couple of months have lost out on various pension benefits, including leave encashment.
A significant number find the increment for the last six months to be less than adequate, considering that the prices of fuel, cooking oil, and several other foods including pulses had shot up.
The DA/DR had been suspended by the Government, which felt that it was the duty of Central government employees and pensioners to do their bit in times of the nation’s health emergency, when most companies in the private sector had imposed pay cuts, furloughs and even layoffs.