Delhi: The Dearness Allowance (DA) of central government employees will be raised by five per cent, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said today, calling it a “Diwali gift”. Some 50 lakh government employees will benefit from the move. Around 65 lakh pensioners would also benefit from a hike in Dearness Relief. The decision, effective from July, was approved this morning at a cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Dearness Allowance will be raised from 12 to 17 per cent to compensate for price rise, said the minister. The move will cost the government Rs. 15,909.35 crore. “This will bring cheer to the working class ahead of Diwali, the central government has been announcing steps for many sectors,” Mr Javadekar said. The government said in a statement that the increase was according to the accepted formula based on the recommendations of the 7th central Pay Commission.