The Centre’s decision to freeze the dearness allowance (DA) and dearness relief (DR) increment for a period of 18 months, which was due from January 1, 2020, is not consistent with its other announcements. It exhorts private citizens and enterprises to pay full salaries to their staff, while not being so solicitous towards its own employees.
“If the government is not willing to pay our dues, how can it repeatedly advise citizens and establishments to make full payment of salaries to their employees?” a senior government official said echoing the sentiments of most of his peers.
The Finance Ministry announced last week that that the additional installment of DA and DR that was payable to Central government employees and pensioners respectively will be withheld. Employees and pensioners will continue to get their existing levels of DA and DR.
Needless to say, the move, which will lead to a saving of about Rs 21,000 crore, has dampened sentiments of over 50 lakh employees and about 65 lakh pensioners. DA, revised once a year to adjust the cost of living index, is a component of the salary earned by the employee.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his televised address to the nation, had urged individuals and business establishments not to deduct salaries of their employees.
Amid the nationwide lockdown, the Centre issued an advisory asking India Inc not to resort to retrenchment or wage cuts especially for those who were on contract labor. It went to the extent of saying that those taking leave from work as a precautionary measure to save themselves from getting infected by Covid-19 virus should be treated to be ‘on duty’.
Separately, Arvind Kejriwal and Yogi Adityanath, Chief Ministers of Delhi and UP, have asked landlords not to demand rents from their tenants. The Adityanath government issued a magisterial order in the national capital region of Noida warning landlords with a two-year imprisonment or fine in case they asked their tenants to vacate the premises.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh slammed the government for its decision saying that this was unnecessary at this juncture..