Dearness Allowance - Meaning, Types, DA Calculation and Taxes

Dearness Allowance (DA)

Each working individual receives additional components with their basic salary. These additional components support the employees’ various financial requirements. The dearness allowance is one notable component that central government public sector employees receive.

Understand the critical steps in the DA calculations, eligibility, and types.

What is Dearness Allowance (DA)?

Individuals who work in the government sector have many allowances within their basic salary range. The basic salary range and allowances are different for all employees; they vary according to their qualifications, experience, and hired position. Dearness allowance is a notable allowance included in an employee’s total salary package. It is essential to know about dearness allowance while negotiating a salary package by both employee and employer.

Who Provides Dearness Allowance to the Employees?

Dearness allowance is the amount the central government provides to civil service employees and employees who work as nonpermanent professionals under government and government-affiliated organizations’ norms. This is given in considering the inflation of prices in the country’s economy to support the employees financially.

It is given to the employees in addition to the basic salary amount. Nowadays, many private sectors also provide dearness allowances to their employees to maintain their basic living costs and welfare. Background research is periodically done to revise the DA. For a fair salary package, the DA has to provide a systematic way to satisfy the living costs of the employee.

Types of Dearness Allowance (DA)

Dearness allowance is divided into two types based on the employees’ categories. The revision sequence and DA amount should differ for both types. The two kinds of DA are mentioned below.

1. Industrial Dearness Allowance (IDA)

Industrial Dearness Allowance (IDA) is given to public sector employees who work under the central government. It is caused by commercial inflation in society and varies according to the place of the public sector employees. It is offered every quarter and revised quarterly, along with the region’s consumer price index.

2. Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA)

Variable dearness allowance (VDA) is given to employees in the central government employment sector. The VDA is revised half-yearly by the consumer price index. It is further aligned with three criteria.

  • Base Index – It remains the same for the decided period.
  • Consumer Price Index – It shows variation in the VDA, which varies monthly.
  • The VDA amount will not be changed as the government fixes it until another revision is made.

Calculation of Dearness Allowance (DA)

1. Calculation of DA for Employees of Central Government

DA% = [(Average of AICPI (Base Year 2001 = 100) for the last 12 months – 115.76)/115.76] x 100

2. Calculation of DA for Public Sector Employees

DA% = [(Average of AICPI (Base Year 2001 = 100) for the last 3 months – 126.33)/126.33] x 100

AICPI – All India Consumer Price Index

What Are the Factors That Affect Dearness Allowance Calculation?

Many factors play a vital role in calculating the dearness allowance. Due to these factors, the DA calculation has changed, which can be reflected in the revision made by the pay commission. Before periodically formulating and revising the allowance, the pay commission should consider the various deciding factors that directly or indirectly affect the DA calculation.

The factors that affect the DA calculation are mentioned below.

1. Base Index

The base index is a consumer price index (CPI) number used to calculate the dearness allowance percentage at the starting point of the DA calculation. The DA percentage and base index are opposites. If the value of the base index is higher, the dearness allowance percentage becomes lower. If the value of the base index is lower, the DA is higher. The base index plays a primary role in calculating the DA.

2. Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The CPI is essential in determining the dearness allowance amount. Thus, it is among the most critical factors in the DA calculation. The consumer price index corresponds to the DA calculation. If the consumer price index’s value increases, the DA percentage also increases. If the range of the consumer price index decreases, the value of the DA percentage also decreases.

3. Industrial Average

Like the consumer price index in the dearness allowance calculation, the industrial average factor also corresponds to the status of the DA percentage. Thus, if the value of the industrial average is higher, the value of the DA percentage is also higher. If the value of the industrial average is lower, the value of the DA percentage is also lower.

4. Inflation

In economics, inflation is termed as the increase in the price of goods and products in the market. Dearness allowance is mainly proposed to manage an employee’s living costs. So, inflation directly affects the DA calculation. If the inflation rate is high, the value of the DA percentage also seems to be high, and the employee can have more DA.

5. Cost of Living

The cost of living in urban areas differs from rural and semi-urban areas. It depends upon the employee’s location, and the DA percentage varies for the same qualified employees who work in different places. The DA percentage in urban areas is always higher than in rural and semi-urban areas.

6. Employer Policies

Rules and guidelines vary from one employer to another. Employers can have different norms and structures according to their code of conduct. Salary packages, increments, and norms are also distinct for each organization. Employer policies in DA calculations also vary, reflected in the DA percentage.

7. Frequency of Revision

The pay commission of the central government revises the dearness allowance. The DA percentage is constant until any changes are made in the revision. If the value of DA is increased or decreased in the revision, it is directly reflected in the DA percentage.

The above factors play a significant role in calculating DA. The pay commission and the employer should know enough about these factors to make a fair calculation.

Dearness Allowance (DA) for Pensioners

Dearness allowance from the central government applies to retired employees of the central government’s public sector. If the pay commission is revised or provides any hike in the salary structure, the DA for pensioners also changes. Not all pensioners are eligible for DA. The eligibility to get a DA has some criteria based on that: pensioners or retired employees of the public sector can have a dearness allowance.

The dearness allowance for pensioners is denied if they are re-employed using any fixed pay or time scale structure. In some exceptional cases, the re-employed pensioners can get a dearness allowance for their last drawn salary.

Pensioners who are residents of foreign countries during re-employment are not eligible to get DA under any circumstances. Pensioners who are not in re-employment and are residents of foreign countries can receive DA. Considering the status of the retired employees of the central government’s public sector, the pay commission provides a dearness allowance.

Dearness Allowance under Income Tax

Income tax applies to all revenue-generating individuals, whether salaried professionals, self-employed professionals, or business professionals. Revenue from income tax is an excellent source of revenue for the Government. An employee pay scale adds allowances to the basic salary, such as dearness allowance and house rent allowance.

The entire take-home salary comprises basic salary, DA, house rent allowance, and other allowances if applicable. Calculating income tax includes various steps. Income tax is appropriate for the DA and is updated in the Income Tax Act 1961. Employees who attain the minimum salary package to pay the income are also eligible to pay income tax for their DA.

When Can an Employee Negotiate Their DA?

Negotiating a salary package while joining a job is crucial as it is the primary thing for an employee to confirm the job. Likewise, an employer must negotiate a fair salary structure and a dearness allowance to retain an efficient employee. An employee can negotiate a salary package at the beginning of the onboarding process. Before dealing with the DA, employees must know the living costs in their work location and negotiate according to their fair needs. However, the employer makes the final decision and salary fixing while considering their rules and norms.

Who Is Eligible to Get Dearness Allowance?

All employees are eligible to get a dearness allowance. Nowadays, the government and private sectors provide dearness allowances to their employees. However, the central government is a primary source of DA. Getting a DA is entirely up to the employer’s policies and norms in the private sector. For central government employees, the government provides DA based on their location, and it is not equal to all central government employees; it depends upon their job position and basic salary package.

A dearness allowance was implemented for the employees’ welfare, so many private sectors also provide it. Thus, people also opt for and look for private sector jobs according to their interests and salary package norms.

Difference between DA and HRA

DA and HRA are types of allowances given to employees in addition to their basic salary. They are calculated as a percentage of their basic salary.

1 Dearness Allowance House Rent Allowance
2 Provided to public sector employees of the Central Government Applicable to all salaried employees who stayed in a rental house.
3 4% of the basic salary is given as a DA 50% of the basic salary is given to HRA (Metro residents) and 40% (Nonmetro residents)
4 To support the living cost of the employees To support the house rent of the employees

Does the Pay Commission Formulate DA?

The pay commission department plays a vital role in formulating and generating pay scales for the public sector employees of the central government. The pay scale comprises a basic salary, DA, house rent allowance, and other allowances, if applicable under certain circumstances.

Pay commissions are responsible for revising public sector employees’ pay scales or salary structures. Whenever changes are made in the pay scale, the pay commission reflects them in the dearness allowance.

The Pay Commission conducts underground research nationwide to fix the dearness allowance for the nation’s working professionals. The cost of living varies depending on the region. The pay commission formulates the DA. The research report periodically revises the DA percentage. The pay commission department suggests hikes and decreases in the DA to the central government. The government validates the data given by the pay commission and then approves it according to fair necessities.

Latest changes in DA

The revisions are done periodically according to the type of DA. Before 1 January 2024, the dearness allowance for central government employees was 46%. In the latest revision made by the pay commission, a hike of 4% was added to the DA. So, from 1 January 2024, the dearness allowance of the central government employees has reached 50% of their basic salary.

For instance, if a central government employee has a basic salary of Rs.60,000/-, according to the latest revision, the DA is hiked by 50%, which means Rs. 30,000/—per year. After dividing Rs.30,000/—for 12 months, an employee can have Rs.2500/—as a monthly DA. The employee can have Rs.2,500/—in addition to their basic salary.

Likewise, for current working employees of the central government, the DA hike has also been revised for the pensioners. The retired central government employees can also have the same 4% hike. This, in turn, fixes their DA percentage as 50 like the currently working employees. In addition to that, if DA has a hike, other allowances like home rent allowance, day allowance, gratuity ceiling, hostel subsidy, allowance for children’s education, special allowance for childcare, and travel allowance also have some hike, and that reflects in the take-home salary of the employees.

Overall, the salary package of the central government employees is fair enough for the cost of living. With this latest revision made by the pay commission from 1 January 2024 onwards, they can comfortably afford the inflation in the economy. Implementing the newest revision will take place effectively in the same month.

Dearness Allowance Merger

As per the government norms, the pay commission has to merge the dearness allowance with the employees’ basic salary when it crosses 50%. This, in turn, was reflected in the massive hike in the basic pay of the employees. It can boost the employee’s salary in the upcoming revision as the DA reached 50% in the latest revision on 1 January 2024.

The expectation towards the next revision is prominent among the central government employees. Suppose merging the DA with the basic salary happens in the next revision. In that case, the pay commission will lay a strong foundation for their employees to tackle the rising inflation in the country’s economy. People can cope with the living costs of the region wherever they are working.


Dearness Allowance is the allowance provided to the employee by the employer along with a basic salary package. DA primarily aims to support employees’ living costs with economic inflation. The brief and updated knowledge of da to both the employee and employer is essential for the well-being of the working environment and ensuring the fair revenue given to the employee to sustain societal stability.

Having enough knowledge while deciding on DA for an employee enables one to fix fair and satisfactory packages. From an employee’s point of view, DA knowledge and the latest revision made it possible to seek or negotiate a comfortable salary package.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the Deductions that the Income Tax Department Deducts from an Employee Salary Package?

The income tax department makes three types of deductions from the account of each employee who is eligible for income tax: standard deductions, deductions for entertainment allowance, and professional tax. The standard tax is stable for employees who qualify for income tax, and the other two deductions are not the same and vary according to some conditions.

2. Are Private Sector Employees Eligible for DA?

Dearness Allowances are only provided to central government public-sector employees; private-sector employees are not eligible to receive them.

3. How often is the Dearness Allowance Calculated?

There are two main categories: industrial dearness allowance (IDA), which is revised quarterly, and variable dearness allowance (VDA), which is revised half-yearly.

4. Does Dearness Allowance Vary According to the Location?

Not all central government public sector employees get the same dearness allowance. It varies according to location, such as rural, urban, and semi-urban areas, as living costs differ from place to place.

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