27 Aug, 2022 11:30a.m.

18 months DA/DR arrears may become reality. Court orders in favor


This is only an opinion, reader discretion is advised.

For central employees and pensioners whose dearness allowance and dearness relief  hikes were suspended during the COVID pandemic, the 18-month arrears are starting to become a possibility. The government may soon make a decision on this, according to media reports. On the other side, employees are putting pressure on this. The Cabinet Secretary and the President of the National Council received a letter from Mr Shiv Gopal Mishra, Secretary of the Staff Side of the National Council, on August 18. Read the letter here. In the letter, it was requested that dearness allowance and relief arrears for the deferred hikes on January 1, 2020, July 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, be paid. The letter also noted that the National Council's Secretary and members are prepared to talk about the modes of dues payment.

In his letter to the Cabinet Secretary, Shiv Gopal Mishra cited the Supreme Court's ruling on February 8, 2021. The country's Supreme Court ruled that although the temporary suspension of an employee's wage or pension may be allowed owing to the economic crisis, it must be reinstated as soon as conditions improve. This is an employee's right and should be paid according to the law.

In a different case on payment of pending dearness allowance (DA) arrears to West Bengal government employees, the Kolkotta High Court had ruled against govt authority on DA payment. The division bench of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Rabindranath Samanta said that DA is a legal right of government employees.

Shiv Gopal Mishra asserted that the Central Government should be aware of the selfless service rendered by employees of the Ministry of Army, Railways, Health, Rural Development, Agriculture, and other departments during the pandemic time. The Center had announced at the start of the year 2020 that there would be no hike in the DA, DR, and related allowances for government employees due to the COVID. Even after that the employees cooporated and worked with the government.

According to the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman's reply at the Rajya Sabha. the freezing dearness allowance (DA) of the central government employees and dearness relief (DR) of the central government pensioners, the government saved Rs 34,402 crore. Read - ₹34.4 thousand crores is the amount govt snatched from employees & pensioners via the DA freeze

When the central government announced to give DA after the corona period, it said that the rate of 'DA' and 'DR' will be considered only 17 per cent from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021.
The individuals who retired or passed away during the Corona era have suffered a loss as a result of the stoppage of the growth in DA/DR. Due to the non-payment of dearness allowance and dearness relief during the CORONA period, government employees and retirees had a variety of financial issues. Many central government employees also retired during this period. Additionally, a few retirees and workers passed away during this period. They were affected by the freeze on the DA and DR hike and have endured suffering. Despite the fact that those employees were faultless, they were denied the specified financial benefits.

According to JCM Member C. Mr Kumar, even though the central government froze the DA-DR of government employees and pensioners, all of the staff members did an excellent job of carrying out their duties. They even contributed one day's wages to the PM Care Fund.

The employee unions had presented the central government with a number of solutions to resolving the 18-month-old DA arrears of central employees, which included the payment of arrears in full.
In addition to this, the workers' party's secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra and other party members informed the government about the issue of arrears and said that the workers' organisation is prepared to discuss it in any other way of solution.  

The Indian Pensioners' Forum urged Prime Minister Modi to compensate central government employees and pensioners for unpaid dearness allowance and dearness relief arrears. The forum had requested that the issue be handled as quickly as possible in a letter to the PM. The Center has still not made a decision in this regard even after that. The direct benefit will reach 64 lakh retirees and 48 lakh employees if the central government pays the arrears.

The government is purposefully delaying raising the DA rate and paying the 18-month arrears, according to members of the employee associations.

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