April Fool prankster ‘announces’ dearness allowance hike: Business Standard
Millions of central government employees were taken for a ride on April Fool’s Day by an office memorandum from the ministry of finance that the much-awaited dearness allowance had been increased by eight percentage points, higher than the expected six percentage point increase.
The memorandum, numbered 1/2/2015-E.11 (B), dated March 30, 2015, and duly signed by an undersecretary in the department of expenditure, said the President was pleased to decide that the dearness allowance payable to central government employees shall be enhanced from the existing rate of 107 per cent to 115 per cent with effect from January 1, 2015.
Dearness allowance based on the consumer price index till December is usually announced around March and is applicable from three months before that, which is January.
The order reviewed by Business Standard looked like a genuine memorandum with five paragraphs explaining the nuances and the categories of employees who would benefit. It spread joy across departments and ministries. But the cheer was short-lived. Within hours, the department of expenditure issued a clarification saying the memorandum was fake and no such instructions had been issued by the ministry.
“Accordingly, all ministries, departments and central government offices are hereby advised not to take cognisance of these fake instructions being circulated in government offices,” the clarification posted on the website of the finance ministry said.
Though the government was quick to spot the mistake, which concerned thousands of government employees, questions remain how such an authentic office memorandum was drafted and issued without necessary checks.
“Usually, matters related to an increase in the dearness allowance need Cabinet approval. We became suspicious as soon as the order came because there was no information of a Cabinet clearance,” an official in the department of information and broadcasting said.
“It was a prank. Someone just took an old notification and changed the dates and the numbers in the text. That is easy to do,” another official from the finance ministry said.
He said most Indian Administrative Service officers who saw the notification figured it was a fake, but lower-ranking officials were hoodwinked. The matter is being investigated in the finance ministry.
Read at: Business Standard
Stay connected with us via Facebook, Google+ or Email Subscription.