Central And State Government Employees Start 4 Days Relay Hunger Fast For Old Pension Scheme

Government forcing its employees to go on strike by denying Old Pension Scheme, says C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF and Steering Committee Member, JFROPS

Today, Central Government Employees including Railways, Defence, Postal and State Government Employees have started a 4 Days Relay Hunger Fast agitation throughout the Country on a single point demand to Scrap the contributory National Pension System and to Restore the defined and guaranteed Old Pension Scheme.

Opposition ruled State Governments have withdrawn the NPS in many states in the past. However the Modi Government is of the firm view to continue with NPS and not restore the Old Pension Scheme. The Government has appointed a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary Mr. Somanathan for recommending improvements in the NPS. However the Central Government Employees have rejected the same since their demand is to restore the Old Pension Scheme.

In support of their demand the JFROPS organized a huge rally at RamLeela Maidan, New Delhi on the 10th of August 2023 and decided to go for an indefinite strike if the Government is not coming forward to restore the Old Pension Scheme.

Accordingly Strike Ballot was taken in the Railways and Defence and more than 99% of the employees voted in favour of indefinite strike. As a preparatory for the indefinite strike the JFROPS have decided to observe 4 days Relay Hunger Strike from 8th January 2024 to 11th January 2024. Accordingly, the Hunger Fast began throughout the country, from today.

In an interaction of the www.indianpsu.com with C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF and also the member of the Steering Committee of JFROPS, he stated that at present out of 30 Lakh Central Government Civilian Employees more than 20 Lakh are in the NPS and all these young employees including officers selected through UPSC are agitated since there is no protection during their old age after retirement from service. Apart from this there may be more than 2 Lakh Para Military Forces and about 40 Lakh State Government Employees who are covered under NPS. Pension is the fundamental right of the Government Employees as per the Judgment of the Supreme Court. Pension for the Government Employees was there even from the Britisher’s Period. Government Employees are not selected for appointment just like that. They have to undergo many selection procedures before their appointment. They are governed by so many Conduct Rules which are not applicable to the employees of other sector. They cannot do any part time job after their office hours. They are serving for the country and the people 24 hours. In any crisis like Natural Calamity, COVID-19 Pandemic, War Situation, etc it is only the Government Employees who are in the field not fearing for their health and life.

He added that many Government Employees have sacrificed their life during the COVID-19 Pandemic while performing their duty in odd conditions without any protection. Government have refused to grant even Compassionate Appointment to the dependents of such employees. The Government Employees deserves a better treatment from the Government and a decent and dignified Retired Life. This old age protection cannot be taken away on the dictates of World Bank and IMF. On an average, a pensioner lives 10 to 12 years after retirement. Taking care of its employees who served the Government and the Nation during a service span of 30 to 35 years after their retirement cannot be treated as a burden by the Government and the Country. Government should allow the Pensioner to have a comfortable retired life. Even old age home have become very costly and unaffordable in these days. With the meagre NPS Pension even Old Age Homes will not give them shelter and food. Government cannot throw away its retired employees on lurches.

Government should rethink its position and should become sensitive and restore back the Defined and Guaranteed Old Pension Scheme to the Government Employees so as to avoid any confrontation with its own employees. If the Government is not considering our demand then we will be forced to take a call for Indefinite Strike for which the employees have given their mandate through Strike Ballot and also in the Rally held at RamLeela Grounds, New Delhi. The JFROPS will meet soon and decide the date of commencing the Indefinite Strike and issuing Strike Notice, etc. the Defence Civilian Employees are prepared for the Indefinite Strike, concludes C Srikumar.

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