The Union Cabinet on Wednesday increased the dearness allowance (DA) for its 48.41 lakh central government employees and dearness relief (DR) for 61.17 lakh pensioners to 7 per cent, from 5 per cent, from January 1, 2018. The combined impact of the two per cent hike of DA and DR on the exchequer would be Rs 6077.72 crore per annum and Rs 7090.68 crore in the financial year 2018-19, a government statement said.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to release an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners from January 1, 2018 representing an increase of 2 per cent over the existing rate of 5 per cent of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise,” the official statement read.
This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission, it added.
The cabinet also approved the continuation of Swatantra Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY) – a scheme that provides for a monthly pension to freedom fighters, as a token of respect for their contribution to the national freedom struggle, and on their demise to their eligible dependents, spouses and thereafter, unmarried and unemployed daughters and dependent parents.
In another decision, the Cabinet also allowed telcos to pay for spectrum over 16 years instead of 10 years and permitted them to hold more airwaves. It also relaxed caps on holding spectrum, helping ongoing mergers like that between Vodafone and Idea as the combined entity would have breached the current limits in certain circles or telecom zones.