New Delhi: Just two days after the Union cabinet decided upon a five per cent hike in Dearness Allowance (DA) for government employees and pensioners, the Punjab government on Saturday announced a ‘Diwali bonanza’ by increasing the DA for its employees and pensioners by 3 per cent.

Disregarding the state’s financial constraints, the bumper increment will be effective from November 1, 2019, as a mark of appreciation for the constant dedication and hard work of its employees, state’s finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal stated.

“The decision will cost the exchequer an additional Rs 480 crore per annum,” said Finance Minister Badal.

Notably, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced the decision to coincide with Diwali celebrations even at a time when Punjab’s fiscal conditions are at a worrisome stage. The CM, Badal said, was committed to the welfare of his people irrespective of the government’s financial situation.

It must be noted here that on Wednesday, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced a DA hike from 12 per cent to 17 per cent of the basic pay and pension for nearly five million employees and 6.5 million pensioners.

The increase, a long-pending demand of the employees, was announced keeping mind the accepted formula based on recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission (7th CPC) in 2016. The decision is set to cost the exchequer Rs. 16,000 crore.