The Ministry of Finance on Thursday announced that three installments of Dearness Allowance to central government employees or pensioners will be put on hold due to the havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reported.

“Additional installment of Dearness Allowance payable to central government employees and Dearness Relief to central government pensioners, due from 1st January, 2020 shall not be paid,” the ministry announced. Additional installments of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief from July 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021, shall also not be paid, it added. However, the dearness allowance and relief at current rates will be paid.

Dearness allowance is an adjustment given to employees to compensate for the increase in the cost of living because of inflation. It is revised twice a year, on January 1 and July 1.

“As and when the decision to release the future installments of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief due from 1st July, 2021, is taken by the government, the rates of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief as effective from 1st January, 2020, 1st July, 2020, and 1st January, 2021, will be restored prospectively and will be subsumed in the cumulative revised rate effective from 1st July 2021,” it added. The arrears for the period between January 2002 and June 2021 shall not be paid.

The number of coronavirus patients in India rose to 21,373 on Thursday morning, but the Indian Council of Medical Research said at least 21,797 people have tested positive so far. The toll increased to 681, while the number of patients who have recovered stood at 4,257.