Ex-PM Manmohan Singh slams govt, says not necessary to freeze DA, DR hike

Former PM Manmohan Singh
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday expressed concerns over the Centre's decision to cut back the hike in dearness allowance and dearness relief for all government employees and pensioners. He said that it was not necessary at this stage to impose hardships on government servants and armed forces personnel. 

"We should be on the side of people whose dearness allowance is being cut. I sincerely believe it is not necessary at this stage to impose hardships on government servants and also on the armed forces people," said the former Prime Minister in a video message put out on Congress' Twitter handle.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also slammed the government over the issue, saying the problem lay with the government's decision to go ahead with the central vista redevelopment project.

"You are taking away money from the middle class, you are not giving money to the poor people and you are spending it on your central vista," Gandhi was quoted as saying by PTI.

As #COVID spreads, Modi Govt hurts 1.1cr Central Govt employees instead of providing relief. Withdrawing DA instead of cutting wasteful expenditure like Central Vista project is insensitive & inhumane. Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, Shri @RahulGandhi & others express deep concern. pic.twitter.com/M6WQ0tojxG

Congress (@INCIndia) April 25, 2020
P Chidambaram in his message said, "We can make the point when we you have not cut back the expenditure on the bullet train and central vista development. Those are the problems which should be put on halt before you halt people's dearness allowance."

Congress MP Manish Tewari also opined that before the government went around cutting everyone's allowances and salaries, it should first set up an "expenditure rationalisation commission".

The Ministry of Finance on Thursday stopped a hike in dearness allowance (DA) for the central government employees and dearness relief (DR) for the central government pensioners till July next year. According to the order issued, no arrears will be paid for the period from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

"In view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that the additional instalment of dearness allowance payable to Central Government employees and dearness relief to Central Government pensioners, due from January 1, 2020, shall not be paid," the order said.

The government's decision comes after the Union Cabinet on March 14 approved a four per cent hike in DA to 21 per cent in a bonanza for 1.13 crore Central government employees and pensioners applicable from January, 2020 costing the exchequer Rs 14,595 crore.

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