Cong hits out at govt over freezing of additional instalments of DA for some central PSU staff

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (PTI) The Congress on Friday said the freezing of additional instalments of dearness allowance for some central PSU staff indicated an economic emergency and collapse of the country's economy.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said while food inflation is rising, the government by freezing the DA of PSU staff is adding to their woes further.

'Food inflation rises to 11.1 percent! But the Modi government is freezing the DA of central PSU employees, instead of increasing it. The condition of government employees is battered, while the capitalist 'friends' are busy in making profits,' he said in a tweet.

The former Congress chief also alleged that MNREGA labourers are finding it difficult to even get their earnings from banks.

'First the lockdown that brought millions of workers on the road. Then their only support - earnings from MNREGA was made difficult to withdraw from the bank. Modi government only talks, as it is crushing the rights of the poor,' he said on Twitter, tagging a news report citing a survey that said MNREGA labourers are finding it difficult to take out their earnings from banks.

Party spokesperson Surpriya Shrinate at a virtual press conference said freezing of DA for some CPSE employees is an 'irresponsible step' that will further hit demand.

She asked what more proof does the government need to at least accept its 'monumental economic mismanagement' that has cost the country dearly.

'The freezing of DA of PSU employees is yet another sign of a sinking economy. It is clear that PSUs are not making money and which is why the dearness allowance of their employees has now been frozen. The economy is spinning out of control and everyone is in trouble,' she said.

Shrinate said instead of reviving demand by supporting incomes of people, the government is hell bent on reducing the purchasing capacity of even those who have assured incomes like those employed by the state and central PSUs.

'Modi government's economic mismanagement' and the steps it is taking now will further destroy demand and dent consumption', she claimed.

She said the government's move will hit incomes and will impact over 14.5 lakh employees across 339 central PSUs.

The Department of Public Enterprises on Thursday announced freezing of additional instalments of DA for executives and non-unionised supervisors of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) drawing salaries under certain pay scales till June 30, 2021.

Shrinate wondered if this is the condition of those who have assured income, what will be the plight of the informal sector which employs over 90 per cent labour force.

'The destruction of employment and opportunities there is unimaginable. Instead of extending income support to revive demand for those who are most vulnerable, the government is foolishly denting consumption even for those who have assured income like government employees and PSU workers,' she said.

'The central government seems to lack the basic understanding of the economy. It refuses to acknowledge demand has been destroyed and the first step to reviving the Indian economy has to be to boost consumption,' she said, adding that the government does not understand that reducing incomes of middle-class employees and pensioners is not just 'immoral but fiscally imprudent because it further squeezes demand'. PTI SKC ZMN