New Delhi, Nov 20 : The Congress on Friday flayed the Centre over the decision to freeze the additional Dearness Allowance of central public sector undertakings’ employees and said it is “yet another sign of a sinking economy”.
“Food inflation rises to 11.1 per cent. But the Modi government is freezing DA instead of increasing it for central PSU employees. While the condition of government employees is poor, the capitalist ‘friends’ are happy,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Addressing a press conference here, party leader Supriya Shrinate said: “The economy is spinning out of control and everyone is in trouble. It is not just the unorganised sector, but even the government employees are bearing the brunt of incompetent handling of the Indian economy.”
The Congress maintained that there was a complete collapse of the Indian economy not just during the coronavirus pandemic but even before that, due to the Modi government’s “economic mismanagement”. “Now, it is taking steps that will further destroy demand and dent consumption.”
“Skyrocketing prices make matter worse. Increase in inflation to a six-year high of 7.61%, especially alarmingly high food inflation at 11.6%, is troublesome. So, simply put, a freeze on DA along with high prices amounts to salary cuts for central government employees, PSU staff, pensioners and the armed forces,” Shrinate said.
“Why does the Modi government not shelve discretionary and vanity expenditure like the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista project, the Rs 1.10 lakh crore bullet train project, or cut 30 per cent of the wasteful expenditure of the government, which will come to close to Rs 2.5 lakh crore?” the Congress spokesperson asked.
As per a circular dated November 19, the government froze additional DA instalments (due from October 1, 2020) for employees of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) till June 30, 2021. The additional DA from January 1, 2021 to April 1, 2021 will not be paid, the Department of Public Enterprises said. This decision impacts over 14.5 lakh employees across 339 central PSUs.
It follows retrospective cut in DA and Dearness Pay for 113 lakh central government employees and pensioners, including armed forces, in April 2020.
The Congress alleged that DA freeze was a cue for the private sector to withhold salary hikes or appraisals. “Many state governments have already frozen DA and Dearness pay of their employees. They will perhaps now move to do so for state PSUs as well.”