Calcutta, Nov. 19: Finance minister Amit Mitra today informed the Assembly that state government employees had no dearness allowance (DA) dues, a statement that left more than three lakh employees irrespective of their political affiliation in shock.
In a written reply to a question by CPM MLA Basudev Khan, Mitra, however, admitted that central government employees were getting 38 per cent more DA than their state government counterparts.
State government employees’ unions, including those affiliated to Trinamul, have been demanding that the staff be paid the difference between the DA amounts as dues.
Mrigen Maity, the Trinamul MLA and chairman of the party-led United State Government Employees’ Federation that was formed to counter the CPM’s Co-ordination Committee, was the first to cry foul.
“State government employees are eligible for 38 per cent more DA, which they are not getting. It is the practice that if the Centre announces a DA hike, the state governments give a matching raise to its employees,” Maity said.
He added that he was not present in the Assembly today and would talk to the finance minister soon.
“The difference between the DA for state and central government employees increased during the Left Front regime. So our government is facing problems in matching the DA being given by the Centre,” Maity said, tempering his comments on a matching hike.
Senior state officials said the Trinamul government had announced only two instalments of DA since coming to power. In January 2012, the state government had released 10 per cent DA and in January 2013, another 6 per cent was paid.
“During this period, the Centre has given five instalments of DA. The difference between DA received by central and state government employees has increased from 16 per cent in May 2011 (when Trinamul came to power) to 38 per cent,” an official said.
Pranab Chatterjee, a senior Co-ordination Committee leader, said almost all states had increased their DA amount following the central hike.
“Almost all states give 90 per cent of basic and grade pay as DA to their employees, which is on a par with the Centre. But Bengal government employees get only 52 per cent, which is the lowest in the country,” Chatterjee said.
He said Mamata Banerjee had promised in her Assembly election manifesto that she would bring the salaries of state government employees on a par with that of the central staff. “Now, her government is depriving employees in an unprecedented way,” Chatterjee said.
Source : The Telegraph