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In Photo: Mamata Banerjee addressing the meeting of the Trinamool affiliated government employees federation at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Friday. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 11 September: CHIEF Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a ten per cent hike in dearness allowance (DA) for the Bengal government employees. The increase in DA will come into effect from 1 January 2016 and no arrears will be paid.

The Bengal government had last time hiked the DA by seven per cent on 9 January 2015.

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Miss Banerjee made the announcement while addressing an open meeting of the Trinamool Congress affiliated West Bengal State Government Employees Federation at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Friday afternoon.

This comes close on the heels on the Centre announcing a six per cent hike in DA to its employees on 9 September. This had put a pressure on the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.

After Friday’s announcement by Miss Banerjee to hike the DA by ten per cent, the DA shortfall of Bengal government employees now stands reduced to 44 per cent, when compared to the 119 per cent DA that the Central government staff now get.

The move by Miss Banerjee will benefit the near seven lakh state government employees in Bengal and the announcement comes ahead of the coming festive season beginning with the Durga Puja in October. The ten per cent hike in DA will cost the state exchequer around Rs 2,500 crore annually.

Miss Banerjee also announced the formation of the sixth pay commission for the state government employees that will work from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2025.

She also announced that now on, the state government employees would get leave travel concession (LTC) every ten years. Till now, LTC used to be paid only once in a service life.

Furthermore, the LTC that earlier used to cover travel within the country has now been extended for travel to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

This apart, the employees will now on get the benefit of home travel concession (HTC) every five years.

Stressing that the interaction with employees helps in better coordination and cooperation, the Chief Minister announced the formation of a Group of Ministers headed by finance minister Amit Mitra to maintain coordination with the state government employees.

Miss Banerjee also said that the employees who attended office during the 2 September all-India bandh by trade unions, would get a compensatory leave. Those who were absent would be penalised.

“There was 93 per cent attendance in Kolkata on the day of bandh. In the districts, it was 98 per cent. I salute you for this,” she said addressing the full-house gathering of state government employees at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

When the Trinamool Congress came to power in Bengal in 2011, it had promised to release the DA periodically according to the recommendations of the State Pay Commission. Back then, the Bengal employees were drawing DA 16 per cent lower than that of the Central government staff.

But over the past four years, the Trinamool government has revised the DA of its employees scantily, widening the gap vis-a-vis Central government staff.

States like Punjab pay the highest amount of DA to their employees and as many as 15 states in the country are paying their employees a DA of 113 per cent, which was at par with that of the Centre till the hike announced on 9 September.

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