Government Employees Eye 18-Month DA Arrears: Finance Minister Receives Proposal

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Government Employees Eye 18-Month DA Arrears: Finance Minister Receives Proposal

As the debate over the 18-month freeze on Dearness Allowance (DA) and Dearness Relief (DR) for central government employees and pensioners during the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a critical question hangs in the air: will they receive compensation for the withheld sums?

Recently, Mukesh Singh, General Secretary of the Bharatiya Pratiksha Mazdoor Sangh, wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urging the release of the 18-month-old DA arrears. This comes after the Central Government froze DA and DR payments from January 2020 to June 2021 due to the pandemic’s impact on finances.

Earlier, while responding to a question in Parliament, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary had stated that the “negative financial impact of the pandemic in 2020 and the funding of the government’s welfare measures” made releasing the DA/DR arrears, primarily pertaining to the challenging fiscal year 2020-21, “not feasible.”

However, Singh’s letter acknowledges the financial difficulties posed by the pandemic while highlighting the improved economic situation as the nation recovers. He emphasizes the “crucial contributions” made by government employees and retirees during the pandemic, ensuring the smooth functioning of essential services and aiding the fight against COVID-19.

“In light of the better financial situation and the important role played by government employees,” Singh urges the Finance Minister to reconsider the decision and release the withheld DA installments in the upcoming budget session.

He argues that the “accumulated cash can now be distributed to the worthy recipients” after the temporary hold due to earlier financial constraints.

DA, a crucial component of government employee and pensioner salaries, helps mitigate the effects of inflation on their living standards.

The Union government typically revises DA twice a year, in January and July, taking into account inflation changes. It’s important to note that DA varies for employees based on their location (urban, semi-urban, or rural).

With Singh’s plea and the ongoing debate, it remains to be seen if the government will consider releasing the DA arrears, bringing relief to affected employees and pensioners.

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