In a significant development, Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, recently announced a 4 per cent increase in dearness allowance (DA) for state government employees, starting from 1 January, as reported by Indian Express.
However, this decision has faced criticism from opposition parties and state employees who argue that the central government employees receive a higher DA of 46 per cent, creating a substantial gap.
Addressing a festive event in Kolkata, Mamata defended her decision, stating that it would benefit around 14 lakh state government employees and pensioners, costing the government an additional Rs 2,400 crore.
She clarified that, unlike the central government, the state considers DA as optional.
The protesting state employees, affiliated with the Sangrami Joutha Mancha (SJM), have been advocating for parity in DA hike with central employees for a year.
Despite the recent 4 per cent increase, they find it insufficient and plan to continue their protest until the government addresses their complete DA dues.
The SJM has garnered support from opposition leaders, and a mega rally on the issue is scheduled for 19 January, with a subsequent three-day "pen down" stir.
The state government's move is seen as a political strategy ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, with critics describing the increase as a mere token gesture.
Meanwhile, the opposition is using the opportunity to target the TMC government on various fronts, including allegations of corruption.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!