Announcing a three per cent hike in dearness allowance (DA) from next month for government staff, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the state's coffers would never run dry for its employees, although it was yet to receive dues of Rs 85,000 crore from the Centre.
Ms Banerjee, during her address to members of TMC affiliated government employees' association at the state secretariat, said dues payable by the Centre to Bengal had been mounting over a period of time under several heads – UGC grant, GST and funds for COVID-19 battle among others.
"We had not been receiving our financial dues. At least Rs 8,000 crore is due under GST. Despite financial constraints, we had met the recommendations of all previous pay commissions (Sixth Pay Commission). We will also provide three per cent hike in DA from January 2021," she said.
Ms Banerjee said the exercise will incur an expense of Rs 2,200 crore on the state's exchequer.
"More than Rs 85,000 crore dues are yet to be cleared by the Centre, but that will not prevent us from giving our people their dues," she said.
The chief minister, further said that 9.5 lakh students of 14,000 higher secondary schools and 636 madrasas will be given tablets for free for their online classes.
The state has also made arrangements to ensure RT-PCR tests are conducted at Rs 950, she added.