An alleged “office memorandum” is circulating on WhatsApp in the name of the Department of Expenditure under the Ministry of Finance. As per the notice, Dearness Allowance (DA) and Dearness Relief (DR) payable to Central Government employees and Central Government pensioners respectively will be suspended to tackle any “unprecedented situation” that may arise due to the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. It further states that the decision will be in effect from January 1, 2022, and the programme will be resumed in the near future with revised rates.

A copy of the viral memorandum is attached below.

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The notice also says, “The finance department of all ministries is hereby directed to control additional expenditure as justifiable.”

Alt News has received multiple requests on its official WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160) to verify the authenticity of this notice. The notice is in circulation on Facebook as well.

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In October 2021, the Ministry of Finance had increased Dearness Allowance for Central Government employees. The rates were revised upwards from 28 per cent of the ‘Basic Salary’ to 31 per cent. The new rates were made effective from July 1, 2021. The viral office memorandum comes just a few months after the hike was announced.

Fake circular

We looked at the memorandum closely and observed a few anomalies when compared with a genuine memorandum:

  1. The subject line is incomplete.
  2. The phrase “Office Memorandum” is usually underlined in genuine memorandums. This is missing from the viral circular.
  3. Genuine circulars usually have asterisks below the name of the department.

We have juxtaposed the viral memorandum with a genuine memorandum issued by the Department of Expenditure in the past.

 

This is the same pattern used in other memorandums issued in recent years, which can be accessed in the archives of the Department of Expenditure. We also checked the “Who’s who” section on the website of the Department of Expenditure for an “Anand Prakash” under whose name the letter is undersigned and did not find anybody by this name. It is important to note that the website does not display the full name of some of the employees.

Further, the website of the Department of Expenditure has not issued any circular under “Dearness Allowance” since August 2021.

The viral notice was also debunked by the government’s fact-checking wing PIB Fact Check.

Hence, an order issued in the name of the Ministry of Finance stating that the Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief payable to Central Government employees and Central Government pensioners has been suspended is fake.

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc