Coronavirus Outbreak: Govt freezes DA, DR for 1.1 cr central govt employees, pensioners

The government on Thursday froze inflation-linked allowance for its 1.1 crore employees and pensioners, a move states are likely to replicate, helping save a combined Rs 1.2 lakh crore that could be used to combat the coronavirus crisis

Press Trust of India April 23, 2020 19:09:14 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: Govt freezes DA, DR for 1.1 cr central govt employees, pensioners

New Delhi: The government on Thursday froze inflation-linked allowance for its 1.1 crore employees and pensioners, a move states are likely to replicate, helping save a combined Rs 1.2 lakh crore that could be used to combat the coronavirus crisis.

Last month, the government had announced a 4 percent increase in dearness allowance (DA) for its 50 lakh employees and 61 lakh pensioners beginning 1 January, 2020. This was to cost Rs 27,100 crore in the current financial year 2020-21.

"In view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that additional instalment of dearness allowance payable to central government employees and dearness relief (DR) to central government pensioners due from 1 January, 2020, shall not be paid.

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"The additional instalment of DA and DR due from 1 July, 2020, and 1 January, 2021, shall also not be paid," the Department of Expenditure said in an office memorandum.

However, central government employees and pensioners will continue to receive DA and DR, respectively, at the current rate -- 17 percent -- till 30 June, 2021.

Coronavirus Outbreak Govt freezes DA DR for 11 cr central govt employees pensioners

Representational image. Reuters

The Department of Expenditure, under the finance ministry, in the memorandum said no arrears will be paid from 1 January, 2020, to 30 June, 2021. However, for releasing the DA and DR due from 1 July, 2021, the government will take into account the previous hike.

"In view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that additional instalment of dearness allowance payable to central government employees and dearness relief to central government pensioners due from 1 January, 2020, shall not be paid.

"The additional instalment of DA and DR due from 1 July, 2020, and 1 January, 2021, shall also not be paid. However DA and DR at current rates will continue to be paid," the ministry said.

Generally, DA for government employees and pensioners is revised twice a year in January and July in line with inflation trend.

"As and when the decision to release the future instalment of DA and DR due from 1 July, 2021, is taken by the government, the rates of DA and DR as effective from 1 January, 2020, 1 July, 2020, and 1 January, 2021, will be restored prospectively and will be subsumed in the cumulative revised rate effective from 1 July, 2021. No arrears for the period from 1 January, 2020, till 30 June, 2021, shall be paid," the ministry.

According to sources, the combined savings on account of freezing of these instalments of DA and DR to central government employees and pensioners would be Rs 37,530 crore in the current financial year and 2021-22.

Generally, the states follow the Centre's order on DA and DR.

It is estimated that the savings due to suspension of these instalments of DA and DR of state government employees and pensioners will be Rs 82,566 crore, the sources said.

Thus, the combined savings of the Centre and states will be Rs 1.20 lakh crore, which will help in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout.

Last month, the Union Cabinet had approved a 4 percent increase in DA for government employees and pensioners to 21 percent. This decision was to be effective from 1 January, 2020.

With Thursday's decision, this 4 percent hike has been put on hold.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as Union ministers and Members of Parliament and governors of all states, have taken a 30 percent pay-cut for one year beginning April.

The Cabinet also approved the move to temporarily suspend MPLADS Fund of MPs for two years – 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The money, saved through these efforts, will go to the Consolidated Fund of India and would be utilised for managing health services and the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Besides the healthcare cost, the government is also faced with the additional burden of giving booster or stimulus to sectors and industries hit by a nationwide lockdown. The lockdown, which began on March 25, was last week extended until 3 May.

Late last month, the government announced a Rs 1.7-lakh crore economic package, comprising free foodgrains and cooking gas to the poor and cash dole to poor women and elderly.

A second package, aimed at industries, is said to be in the works and is likely to be announced shortly.

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