Home/ News / India/  Bengal DA hike: Employees to hold protest today; Mamata Banerjee's govt reacts

The spar between the West Bengal government and some state government employees has continued to heat up over Dearness Allowance (DA).

Employees of 18 organisations are demanding that their DA be raised to the level of what their counterparts in the central government get.

However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led government has refused to give a further hike.

Dearness Allowance is one of the salary components which is paid by the public sector employer to their employees to offset the effect of inflation.

Thousands of West Bengal government employees will be holding a protest on Friday asking the Trinamool Congress administration(TMC) to raise their DA on par with central government employees.

Last week, agitating government employees held a 48-hour 'pens down' in this connection ignoring warnings of action against them.

Meanwhile, the state government has said that no leave will be allowed on that day and the absence will be treated as a break in service.

According to an order issued by the state finance department on Thursday, all state government offices including those provided with grants-in-aid by the state such as educational institutions shall remain open on March 10 and all employees will report for duty on that day.

"No Casual Leave or any other kind of leave for absence either in the first half of the day or in the second half or for the whole day shall be granted to any employee on March 10," the order said.

"Absence of employees on that day will be treated as dies-non (break in service) and no salary will be admissible unless such absence is covered by hospitalisation of the employees or if there is bereavement in the family, severe illness and absence continuing prior to March 9," it said.

However, no action will be taken against employees who had been on Child Care Leave, Maternity Leave, Medical Leave and Earned Leave sanctioned before March 9, according to the order.

The government order on Thursday asked all heads of offices or controlling authorities concerned to issue show-cause notices to the employee who will remain absent on Friday.

"On receipt of satisfactory reply, leave due and admissible may be granted on production of documentary evidence on the grounds mentioned above," the order said.

Disciplinary action will be taken against those who will not be responding to the show-cause notice, the order stated.

She explained the difference in the salary structures of the Central and state governments and claimed that the TMC government is already giving its employees a DA of 105%.

"I am giving 105% DA. How much more do you want? State government employees have different pay scales from central employees. We don't have so much capacity as they (the Centre) are not giving 100 days' work money and others. Accept what we are giving (DA issue). If you don't like me, behead me. But beyond this, I cannot do anything," said Banerjee in the state assembly on protests over Dearness allowance and other demands.

Earlier this week, CM Banerjee said that she would not be able to meet the demand for a DA hike even if the protesters “behead" her.

The Mamata Banerjee government raised DA for its employees by 3% in this year's budget. It also issued a notification for DA grant to employees, pensioners, and family pensioners at the rate of 6% of their basic pay with effect from March 1, 2023, following the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. Alleging financial deprivation by the Centre, she said, "The state government is giving as much as possible. Paying DA is not mandatory. The scales of pay of central and state government employees are different. State government employees get more leaves".

Continuing to speak in defense of her government's stand on the issue, Banerjee said “Does the state have a Reserve Bank? We are yet to get one lakh crore from the Centre. Money will not fall from the sky. I have allowed government employees to go to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Thailand," she added. No objection certificates are mandatory for government servants who apply for leave to go abroad on a private visit. Prior permission from the competent authority for such a visit is also required. The West Bengal government in 2015 allowed benefits under the LTC scheme to the state government employees once in ten years to visit neighboring countries.

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Updated: 10 Mar 2023, 06:15 AM IST
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