Ahead of the budget session of the Tripura assembly, the state government on Tuesday announced an additional five per cent dearness allowance (DA) for its 209,000 employees and pension holders.

"Despite the state government’s financial crunch, it has released additional five per cent of DA for the employees and pensioners," state Finance Minister Tapan Chakraborty said after a cabinet meeting chaired by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

To provide the DA, the additional annual spending from the government exchequer would be Rs.162.5 crore.

"Over 209,000 government employees and pensioners would get the new instalments of DA from this month," the minister said.

Employees of public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies will also benefit from it.

Government employees and pensioners had long been demanding from the state government that their DA be equal to that of central government employees.

With this new instalment with effect from January, the DA of state government employees and pensioners rose to 79 per cent, while central government employees are getting the dearness allowance at 119 per cent.

The budget session of the Tripura assembly begins on March 18 and the state budget for the coming financial year (2016-17) would be placed in the session.