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CM offers DA, arrears and festival bonus

Calcutta, Aug. 2: Mamata Banerjee today announced that the government would pay the remaining 50 per cent of the arrears of the fifth pay commission’s salary revision and bonus to all employees before Durga Puja.

The chief minister also promised to clear 7 per cent of the dearness allowance due to the employees.

The cash-strapped state government would have to shell out Rs 950 crore for this purpose — Rs 500 crore for arrears and Rs 450 crore for bonus.

“There is a financial crisis and we are aware of the implications (of paying the bonus and the arrears). But we have to take care of our employees,” Mamata said while announcing the decision at Writers’ Buildings.

“Before the festive season of Id and Durga Puja, it is customary to clear dues so that our employees can plan accordingly. We have decided to pay the remaining 50 per cent arrears and the bonus. Eta chhoto mishti mukh (this is a sweetener),” she added.

The fifth pay commission became effective from April 2009 with retrospective effect from April 2008. The erstwhile Left Front government had decided to pay the arrears in three equal instalments. Two were paid before the Assembly elections last year.

The Mamata government decided to pay the last instalment in two parts, the first of which was given before the Pujas last year.

The government has decided to increase the bonus of each employee to Rs 2,500 from Rs 2,100. The ambit of employees who will get the bonus has also been increased.

“Earlier, the bonus was around Rs 1,000. Last year, we had raised it to Rs 2,100. We have decided to raise it further to Rs 2,500. We want more employees to be eligible for the bonus. So we have decided to raise the salary ceiling to Rs 22,000 from Rs 20,000. Each pensioner will get a bonus of Rs 900, up from Rs 800,” Mamata said.

On the 13 per cent DA that the government needs to pay to its employees, the chief minister said: “I am making a commitment. Seven per cent of the DA will be paid from January.”

The state government was to release 23 per cent of the DA, of which 10 per cent is being given from this January.

The employees had been demanding that the entire DA be released.

A state government officer of assistant secretary rank who now has a basic pay of Rs 23,000 per month will get Rs 1,610 more every month because of the DA increase. The officer will also get a lump sum amount of Rs 30,000 as the remainder of the arrear dues.