DA increase for Government staff, pensioners

Special Correspondent

Move involves Rs. 282 cr. annual additional expenditure

CHENNAI: The Government has decided to increase Dearness Allowance for its employees and pensioners from 67 per cent of the basic pay to 71 per cent, with effect from January 1 this year. The decision will involve an annual additional expenditure of Rs. 282 crore.

In his address to the Assembly, Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said in the earlier years, enormity of the fiscal crisis made it difficult for the Government to hike the DA each time the Centre announced an increase for its employees.

The killing of brigand Veerappan was the "most significant triumph" of the Government. "This Government's overriding emphasis on the perfect maintenance of law and order has transformed Tamil Nadu into a haven of peace and tranquillity... The threat posed by naxalites in border districts adjoining Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has been handled successfully."

Despite the tsunami and floods, the State was likely to record economic growth "in excess of eight per cent in 2005-06 as per preliminary estimates. The economic boom the State is witnessing is exemplified by the new investments flowing into the State."

There was significant improvement in vital health indicators during the past five years.

"Institutional deliveries have improved from 87.9 per cent in 2001 to 94.3 per cent in 2005, infant mortality rates have declined from 49 per 1000 births to 43 per 1000 births in 2003. Maternal deaths in Tamil Nadu have also declined by 25 per cent during 2001-04."

Said the Governor: "Today, Tamil Nadu has made rapid strides and has, in fact, reached the numero uno position in various sectors."

This was reflected in most independent surveys ranking Tamil Nadu at the top in all aspects - investment destination, public services, social sectors and maintenance of law and order.

The annual food subsidy had touched the Rs.1,500 crore mark again. The Governor said no other State except Tamil Nadu provided rice at Rs.3.50 a kg to all families requiring it. This cost the Government Rs. 1200 crore.

"When this is the situation, this Government is dismayed at the Union Government's decision to increase the Central Issue Price of rice for the Above Poverty Line category from Rs. 8.30 a kg to Rs. 9.15 a kg. This will result in an additional food subsidy burden of Rs. 300 crore a year, increasing the total annual food subsidy from Rs. 1200 crore to Rs.1500 crore."

There were 1.88 crore ration card holders in the State.

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