MB Subba

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has decided to normalise the Daily Allowance (DA) and Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) with effect from January 1, 2021.

In a notification to government budgetary agencies, Finance Minister Namgay Tshering yesterday stated that DA and DSA would be paid as per the Pay Revision Act 2019.

As per the normalised rates or the Pay Revision Act, DSA for in-country training where food and lodge are not provided is Nu 2,000 per day. However, for participants from within the same place of posting, 50 percent of the DSA will be paid.

The DA, as per the Act, ranges from Nu 1,000 to Nu 2,000 (lump sum) per day from the O level staff to the government secretary. For ministers and equivalent post holders, actual expenses are paid as DA.

The government in September had reduced the DA/DSA to uniform Nu 500 per day to all officials irrespective of position levels without amending the Pay Revision Act, Section 65 of which states that the amendment of the Act shall be by the way of addition, variation or repeal effected by Parliament.

However, for officials on the Covid-19 duty requiring continuous stay beyond six months, the finance minister notified that a lump sum of Nu 15,000 per month shall be paid irrespective of position levels.

The Leave Travel Concession (LTC) will also be deposited from January to March of the next year, the finance minister notified. As per the Pay Revision Act, LTC should be paid at a month’s basic pay in a financial year with a maximum ceiling of Nu 15,000.

On the issues of budget crunch, Lyonpo Namgay Tshering said that the money has been already allocated in the Budget Act 2020-21 and that the government need not pump in additional fund to normalise the DA/DSA rates and pay the LTC. “We are not giving extra,” he said.

However, the finance minister stated that there was no indication of the Covid-19 pandemic subsiding anytime soon and that agencies and departments should contain their recurrent expenditures within the allocated budget, which has been given as annual block grants. “The MoF will not entertain additional budget for budgetary agencies and departments,” he stated.

The finance minister notified that to promote the local economy and help rescue the service sector, all group meetings, seminars, workshops and trainings must be held in hotels across the country.

The MoF has asked the budgetary agencies to observe strict fiscal prudence in utilising our limited public resources.