Ahead of the festival season, the government has lavished a flurry of gifts, with the Union Cabinet raising Dearness Allowance (DA) and Dearness Relief (DR) for Central Government employees and pensioners, annual bonus for Railway employees, and Minimum Support Price for six rabi crops.

“DA and DR will be hiked by 4 per cent, and it will be made effective from July 1,” said Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur. DA is meant for serving employees, while DR is added to the pension of Central Government employees, who joined service on or before December 31, 2003.

With the release of the latest instalment, the rate of DA and DR will be 46 per cent. This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission. Employees and pensioners will get three-month arrears with the salary and pension for October.

“The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief will be ₹12,857 crore per annum. This will benefit about 48.67 lakh Central government employees and 67.95 lakh pensioners,” said a government statement on Wednesday. DA and DR are revised twice a year, with effect from January 1 and July 1. Revision is done on the basis of a change in Consumer Price Index-Industrial Worker (CPI-IW)

Also read: Centre hikes DA by 4% for FY24, extends Ujjwala subsidy for another year

Railway bonus

In a separate decision, the Cabinet also approved Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ wages for the financial year 2022-23, to all eligible non-gazetted Railway employees, namely track maintainers, loco pilots, train managers (guards), station masters, supervisors, technicians, technician helpers, pointsmen, ministerial staff, and other Group C staff (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel).

“In recognition of the excellent performance by the Railway staff, Union Government has approved payment of PLB of ₹1,968.87 crore to over 11 lakh railway employees,” the statement said. Further, it highlighted that Railways loaded record cargo of 1,509 million tonnes and carried nearly 6.5 billion passengers.

Many factors have contributed to the record performance, including improvement in infrastructure due to the infusion of record capex by the government in Railways, efficiency in operations and better technology. “PLB will act as an incentive to motivate Railway employees to work towards further improvement in performance,” said the statement.

MSP for farmers

Ahead of the rabi sowing season, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs accepted the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) to raise the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for six crops, including wheat, between ₹105 and ₹425 a quintal. Government agencies, including Food Corporation of India (FCI), will pay these prices during procurement.

“The government has increased the MSP of rabi crops for marketing season 2024-25, to ensure remunerative prices to growers,” said a statement issued by the government. The highest increase in MSP has been approved for lentil (masur) at ₹425 per quintal, followed by rapeseed and mustard at ₹200 per quintal, wheat and sunflower (₹150 per quintal each), barley (₹115 per quintal) and gram (₹105 per quintal).