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Dearness Allowance (DA): Formula, Calculation & Definition

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April 26, 2023


What’s Inside

In this blog, we explore what Dearness Allowance (DA) in salary means along with the DA calculation formula and examples.  

What is Dearness Allowance?

The definition of Dearness allowance (DA) states that DA is paid to employees by the government or a company to compensate for the rising cost of living due to inflation. It is a cost-of-living adjustment typically calculated as a percentage of an employee's basic salary.

The DA is calculated using a formula and added to the basic salary. It varies between organisations. In India, it is a significant part of government employees' salaries and pensions and is revised by the government periodically.

What is The Current Dearness Allowance Rate?

The DA (Dearness Allowance) is a part of the salary that varies based on the cost of living in different regions for public sector employees. It changes twice a year, on January 1st and July 1st, and is increased by the government every six months. The DA rates are different in rural, urban, and semi-urban areas. The DA calculation formula helps us understand the Dearness Allowance in employees’ salary structure. 

Types of Dearness Allowances in India

Type of Dearness Allowance


Industrial Dearness Allowance (IDA)

The government of India offers the Industrial Dearness Allowance (IDA) to public sector employees, revised every quarter based on changes in CPI.

Variable Dearness Allowance (VAD)

The Variable Dearness Allowance (VAD) is a type of DA paid to Central Government employees that is revised every six months in response to increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to compensate for inflation. VAD comprises three main components: a fixed variable DA, a base index, and the CPI.

How To Calculate Dearness Allowance?

The total DA calculation in the salary of public sector employees includes different parts like House Rent Allowance (HRA), Conveyance Allowance, and more. In this DA calculation formula, AICPI stands for All-India Consumer Price Index.

Here's how DA is calculated in basic salary using the dearness allowance formula for central and public sector employees and pensioners:

DA Calculation Formula For Central Government Employees

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

DA Calculation Formula For Public Sector Employees

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

DA Calculation Formula For Pensioners

  • When a pay commission changes the compensation structure, the pension for retired public sector workers is adjusted proportionately, including both family and regular pensions.
  • Re-employed pensioners are ineligible for DA if it is paid on a fixed wage or time scale. However, in rare instances, re-employed pensioners who may be eligible and want to know how DA is calculated can go ahead and use the DA calculation formula using the amount of their last drawn pay.
  • Pensioners who reside in a foreign nation while re-employed are ineligible for DA. Pensioners who live abroad without re-employment are eligible for DA on their pension.

DA Calculation with an Example 

Let's illustrate the DA calculation formula with an example involving Srishti who works in Chandigarh. 

  • Srishti has a basic salary of ₹50,000
  • Her employer provides her with a variable Dearness Allowance that depends on the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • The calculation is based on a base index of 100 and a predefined factor of 0.15.

Step 1: (Determine the Current CPI) Let's assume the current CPI stands at 150.

Step 2: (Determine the Base Index) The base index remains at 100.

Step 3: (Compute the Percentage Increase in CPI) To calculate the percentage increase in CPI, subtract the base index from the current CPI, divide the result by the base index, and then multiply by 100 to obtain the percentage increase.

Percentage increase in CPI = ((150 – 100)/100) x 100 = 50%

Step 4: (Calculate the DA Percentage) The DA percentage is determined by multiplying the percentage increase in CPI by the predefined factor.

DA percentage = 50% x 0.15 = 7.5%

Step 5: (Determine the DA Amount) To find the DA amount, multiply the employee's basic salary by the DA percentage.

DA amount = ₹50,000 x 7.5% = ₹3,750

Hence, Srishti would be eligible for a Dearness Allowance (DA) of ₹3,750 in addition to her basic salary.

Remember: The actual calculation of DA may vary depending on factors such as the employer's policies, the base index used, the predefined factor, and the frequency of DA adjustments.


Dearness Allowance (DA) plays a crucial role in compensating employees for the rising cost of living caused by inflation. It is a cost-of-living adjustment added to the basic salary and varies between organizations. In India, DA is especially significant for government employees and pensioners, with periodic revisions by the government. The calculation of DA involves formulas based on the All-India Consumer Price Index (AICPI). Understanding the different types of DA, such as Industrial Dearness Allowance (IDA) and Variable Dearness Allowance (VAD), is essential. By incorporating DA into salaries, employees can mitigate the impact of inflation and maintain their standard of living.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Dearness Allowance and how does it impact an employee's salary?

Dearness Allowance (DA) is a part of an employee's salary that compensates for inflation and increasing living expenses. It is calculated as a percentage of the employee's basic salary and helps adjust for the cost of living. It directly affects the employee's overall salary and provides compensation for changes in the cost of living.

2. How is Dearness Allowance (DA) calculated with a formula?

The Dearness Allowance (DA) calculation for Central Government Employees is as follows:

DA% = (Average of AICPI for last 12 months - 115.76) / 115.76 x 100

For Public Sector Employees, the DA calculation is as follows:

DA% = (Average of AICPI for last 3 months - 126.33) / 126.33 x 100

3. What factors influence the calculation of Dearness Allowance (DA)?

The calculation of Dearness Allowance (DA) is influenced by factors such as the All-India Consumer Price Index (AICPI) and changes in the cost of living, which determine the adjustment to an employee's salary.


Fi Money is not a bank; it offers banking services through licensed partners and investment services through epiFi Wealth Pvt. Ltd. and its partners. This post is for information only and is not professional financial advice.
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