Central government employees across India can sigh relief as the confirmation of a 4% Dearness Allowance (DA) hike effective January 2024 arrives. However, their joy is tempered by the lack of a concrete date for receiving this much-needed boost in their salaries.
As the December Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) was published, the calculated Dearness Allowance, or DA, settled at 50.28%, exceeding the 4% threshold required for a DA increase. This translates to a 4% jump from the existing 46% DA, offering some welcome relief against rising inflation.
This time, the DA hike will come with another benefit.
Crossing 50% DA, central government employees automatically get a boosted HRA: 30% (X city), 20% (Y city), 10% (Z city), per accepted pay commission recommendations.
While formal approval from the union cabinet typically follows confirmation of the necessary CPI-IW figures, followed by the finance ministry's office memorandum, the official order's exact date remains uncertain. Experts and financial analysts predict that the official announcement could come in March 2024, which is a potential 1-2 month delay for actual payment due to administrative procedures. However, the arrears from January 2024 will be paid.
Adding to the employees' wait reports hints at a faint hope for discussions regarding disbursing arrears to compensate for the DA freeze during the pandemic. However, no definitive decision has been made, further clouding the financial picture for these government servants.
Despite the waiting game, the confirmed DA hike offers a silver lining to central government employees struggling with rising living costs.
Looking Back at Last Year: For context, in 2023, the union cabinet approved the DA hike for January 2023 on March 24th, followed by the Finance Ministry's official order on April 3rd. This suggests a similar timeline could be expected this year as well. However, rumours swirl about a potential advancement in the announcement due to the upcoming general elections.
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