Gangtok: Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay, during his address at the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party’s mass joining programme in the Barfung constituency, made a significant announcement. He declared that the Dearness Allowance (DA) arrears, which have been pending for government employees since January 2023, would be released before the auspicious festival of Dussehra.
A Boost in Dearness Allowance
Golay outlined the government’s commitment to improving the financial well-being of state employees. “Dearness Allowance can be provided by either the state or the centre, but we will implement a 4 percent increase,” he stated. This increase will raise the existing DA rate of 38 percent to 42 percent before Dussehra this year.
The move is expected to bring much-needed relief to government employees and will result in a total expenditure of £121 million for the payment of DA arrears accumulated since January 2023.
One Rank One Pension Initiative
In addition to the DA increase, Chief Minister Golay also announced the launch of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) initiative. Under this scheme, retired officers from 1994 will receive the same amount of Dearness Allowance as their counterparts who retired in 2023, provided they hold the same rank.
Political Outlook and Election Strategy
During his address, Golay expressed confidence in his party’s prospects for the upcoming 2024 elections. He pointed to their success in securing 17 constituencies in the 2019 elections and cited the advantage of government support as a key factor in their electoral strategy.
However, Golay refrained from announcing specific party candidates, emphasizing the party’s symbol, the table lamp, as the sole candidate for every constituency in the state. He explained that naming candidates at this stage could lead to groupism, which goes against his principle of inclusive politics that welcomes individuals regardless of their party affiliations.
A Dig at Potential Opponents
While not naming Bhaichung Bhutia directly, Golay alluded to the former footballer’s political aspirations. “It doesn’t matter who joins or where they may have contested before; they were in the opposition in 2019 and will remain there in 2024,” Golay remarked. He suggested that Bhutia’s bid for the Barfung constituency ticket may face challenges, given his previous political setbacks in two different states. Golay also referenced Bhaichung Bhutia’s alignment with former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who had been a vocal critic in the past, labeling Bhutia as one of the most corrupt politicians. He concluded by noting that Bhutia was not part of their party in 2019.
As Sikkim gears up for the 2024 elections, Golay’s announcements on DA arrears and the OROP initiative could significantly influence the political landscape, particularly as various parties and candidates prepare to compete for the state’s Assembly seats.
Gangtokian Web Team, 16/09/23