In the backdrop of the constant demand of state government employees to raise the Dearness Allowance (DA) and bring it at par with their central counterparts, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that DA is not mandatory, but an option.
Speaking at the Assembly, Banerjee in an apparent reference to agitating employees of the state government reminded them about the extra annual leaves as well as her government allowing them to go abroad.
"DA is not mandatory, it's just an option," she said, adding that her government has given the DA as per the pay commission's fresh directive, and for that purpose, it has spent over Rs 2 lakh and 52 thousand crore in the last two years.
"Central government employees work under the central structure while the state government employees are under the state structure. If anyone wants, they can join the central government service. The Centre gives fewer holidays but our government gives holidays for all occasions," she said.
"They get only 3 to 4 extra days off in a year, but here we have 40 days. You have to add value for that. This government is the only one who has given them the opportunity to go abroad," she said.
State government employees have been demonstrating for several months demanding to raise their DA and bring it to par with the central government employees. They are alleging that the one provided by the state has a much lower rate than that of the central government employees.