The officers’ body of the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) has called to stage a protest in October against what they claim to be an unprecedented “discrepancy” created in the dearness allowance given to executives and non-executive staff by the central government.
Last year, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the central government had decided to freeze the hike in dearness allowance (DA) from October 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. The freeze was for the executives and non-unionised supervisors in the CPSEs who draw salaries as per the industrial dearness allowance (IDA) pay guidelines
The IDA guidelines, issued by The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), had added that “no arrears” for the said period would be paid. Further, according to a PTI report, the additional instalments of the DA due from January 1, 2021 and April 1, 2021, were also not to be paid.
Employees Oppose Govt’s Move
The move, touted to be impacting over 14.5 lakh employees across 339 central PSUs in the country, had drawn flak from staff associations as well as political fronts. Moreover, the decision to unfreeze the DA and revise its rates, as taken in August this year, has not gone down well with the public sector officers.
“Adding to the injury of DA freeze of the past, unfreezing circular was another assault on the executives by paying two different percentages of DA for workers and executives,” the National Confederation of Officers’ Association said in a “protest notice” addressed to the Secretary of Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) this week.
The officers’ body has called for wearing black badges on October 7 and stage a dharna in front of the DPE office and at respective PSUs on October 28 in protest against the “discrepancy created in IDA”.
It added that the “discrimination” over which the DPE “is keeping silent”, despite multiple requests from the officers’ body, has lead to “widespread agony amongst the officers of CPSEs”.
Discrepancy in DA
Dearness Allowance is a compensatory payment for erosion in the real value of salaries resulting from price increase.
The central government, in office memorandums (OMs) issued on August 2 and August 3 this year, had decided to unfreeze the DA of those affected employees drawing salaries as per 2017, 2007, and 1997 IDA pay scale. The revised rates henceforth are from April 1, 2021, and these are 23.2%, 170.5% and 356.7%, respectively for the said pay scales.
However, according to NCOA, the actual rate effective from January 1, 2021 should be 24.6% for the 2017 scale; 173.6% for the 2007 scale; and, 361.9% for the 1997 scale.
V K Tomar, secretary-general of NCOA, told Newsclick on Tuesday that the whole matter comes down to the additional instalments of DA pertaining to this year’s January-April quarter.
“The non-executives in the CPSEs will be receiving it since their DA was never frozen by the Centre. However, the government has still not released the same orders for us – the executives and non-supervisors in the public companies,” he said, adding that this will create a “disparity” and “confusion” in the DA between the executives and non-executive staff members in the CPSEs for the “first time”.
In April 2020, the Union Finance Ministry had also decided to put on hold the increment in DA for about 50 lakh central government employees and 61 lakh pensioners till July 2021 due to the pandemic. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a central trade union, had denounced the central government’s move, calling it a “retrograde decision”.