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Kolkata: Bengal government has announced 18 per cent hike dearness allowance (DA) for its employees. Also, it has decided to merge with DA the 10 per cent interim relief, which the employees were getting since July 2016.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made the announcement this afternoon at state secretariat Nabanna and said that the hike in DA will come into effect from 1 January next year.

She said that employees and pensioners of the state government, employees of government sponsored/aided educational institutions, local bodies, statutory bodies, boards, corporations, undertaking, etc. will get the benefit. The move will cost the state exchequer Rs 5,000-crore additional per annum.

“We are also merging with DA the 10 per cent interim relief that was being given because of the delay in Sixth Pay Commission recommendation. This effectively means the employees will get another seven per cent DA and thus, overall it will be an effective DA hike of 25 per cent,” the Chief Minister said.

DA is calculated on the basic pay of an employee which has two components ~ band pay + grade pay. In case of interim relief, the calculation was based on band pay only. Hence, the employees stand to slightly benefit from the merger.

The government had last hiked the DA by 15 per cent in January this year and this brought down the gap with Central government employees to 39 per cent. With the proposed hike of 18 per cent from next January, the gap will come down to 21 per cent, provided Centre does not increase DA for its employees before that.