Agartala, Nov. 27: Tripura finance minister Badal Chowdhury today announced a further increase of 7 per cent dearness allowance (DA) and also a hike in pay for the state’s 2.9 lakh regular and fixed-pay employees.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the state cabinet this morning.
Speaking to reporters in the state secretariat, the finance minister said an exercise was on to find out ways and means of giving more benefits to the employees to reduce the gap in DA payment between state and central government employees.
“The gap in DA payment between the state and central government employees was 35 per cent as Centre is giving 72 per cent DA, while we were giving 35 per cent. But after today’s announcement of 7 per cent, the gap has now narrowed down to 30 per cent; we are trying hard to further reduce the gap in DA but resource constraint is standing in the way; nevertheless we are trying,” said Chowdhury.
Chowdhury attributed the gap in DA payment between state and central government employees to “deprivation of the 13th Finance Commission”. He said the state had asked for a consolidated amount of Rs 26,848.76 crore from the 13th Finance Commission but got only Rs 16,349.13 crore.
The commission underestimated the number of employees by more than 11,000 and all this reduced the devolution of non-plan funds to Tripura, creating a crisis, he added.
He said the 13th Finance Commission had adopted the first year of the 12th Finance Commission as the base year for calculation of the state’s funds requirement unlike all preceding finance commissions which used to take the last year as the base year. Citing statistical data, the finance minister said the state government was not able to give updated DA and other benefits to the employees because of the lower receipts from the finance commission.
“We had demanded Rs 13,924.43 crore for salary but got only 7,727.13 crore while we had received only Rs 2,779.90 crore for pension in spite of our demand for Rs 3,444.79 crore,” said Chowdhury. Among the eight special category states, only Tripura and Himachal Pradesh had received less funds than demanded, he added.
He, however, made it clear that the Left Front would continue to oppose the new pension policy and freeze on government employment.
“We consider the new pension policy anti-people and the freeze on recruitment to government services a deliberate deprivation of unemployed youths; we will not accept and implement this,” said Chowdhury.
He said Tripura was being politically “victimised” because of its opposition to “anti-people policies” of the UPA-I and II.