Dehradun | Jagran News Desk: Months before the beginning of the crucial assembly elections in the state, the Pushkar Singh Dhami-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttarakhand on Friday approved three per cent additional dearness allowance (DA) for all state government employees.

Earlier in September, the state government had hiked the DA to 11 per cent, Uttarakhand spokesperson Subodh Uniyal had said, adding that the state government employees and pensioners would get the allowance with retrospective effect from July 1. Uniyal had also said that the move will cost Uttarakhand government Rs 1,800 crore annually.

Meanwhile, the state government on Friday also gave its nod to deposit money in bank accounts of eligible class 10 and class 12 students through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to purchase mobile tablets. This scheme, as per Uniyal, will cost the state government Rs 190 crore annually.

Uniyal, who was addressing reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pushkar Sigh Dhami, also said that the state government will publish bilingual books for students of classes 1 to 5 in Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jaunsari, Gurmukhi and Bangla languages.

The assembly elections are slated to take place in Uttarakhand in February or March next year. In the previous elections in 2017, the BJP had returned to power in the state, winning 57 seats. The Congress was a distant second, bagging just 11 seats. On the other hand, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won just three seats.

The BJP, which considers the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh polls as semi-finals for 2024 Lok Sabha elections, has pulled up its socks to retain power in the state. On Friday, Chief Minister Dhami, while addressing the Bodhisattva-Vichar Series, had expressed hopes that the saffron party will retain power in the state. He further said that the roadmap for the development of the state for the next 10 years is also being prepared.

"The suggestions and ideas received in this series would be helpful in making Uttarakhand the best and leading state of the country on the occasion of the silver jubilee year in 2025. For this, the road map of all the departments for the next 10 years is also being prepared," news agency ANI quoted Dhami as saying.

"In the larger interest of the state, a series of views of the state's intellectuals, subject experts and the people of the diaspora have been organised under this self-reliant Bodhisattva program. So far three series have been organised in this regard," he added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma