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Finance Ministry halts dearness allowance increment for central govt employees, pensioners

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New Delhi: The finance ministry on Thursday decided to put on hold increment in dearness allowance (DA) for 50 lakh central government employees and 61 lakh pensioners till July 2021 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“In view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that additional instalment of dearness allowance payable to central government employees and dearness relief (DR) to central government pensioners due from January 1, 2020, shall not be paid.

“The additional instalment of DA and DR due from July 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, shall also not be paid,” the Department of Expenditure said in an office memorandum.

However, DA and DR at current rates will continue to be paid.

According to sources, the combined savings on account of freezing of these instalments of DA and DR to central government employees and pensioners would be Rs 37,530 crore in the current financial year and 2021-22.

Generally, the states follow the Centre order on DA and DR.

It is estimated that the savings on suspension of these instalments of DA and DR of state government employees and pensioners will be Rs 82,566 crore, the sources said.

Thus, the combined savings of the Centre and states will be Rs 1.20 lakh crore, which will help in fighting the battle against COVID-19 and its fallout.

The last DA hike for central government employees was effected last month effective January 1. 2020.

The Union Cabinet had approved a 4 per cent increase in DA for government employees and pensioners to 21 per cent.

With Thursday’s decision, this 4 per cent hike has been put on hold.


Also read: No salary for months, Delhi municipal staff’s struggles have multiplied in Covid lockdown


 

 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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