MP’s Receiving Guaranteed Pension After Every Term Should Ask Government To Scrap NPS And Restore OPS To Government Employees : C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF

Lakhs of Central and State Government Employees under the banner of JFROPS will hold a huge rally outside Parliament House on August 10


General Elections in the Country are round the corner. Modi Government has to face the Parliament Elections with lot of challenges. One of the Major issues is the ongoing struggle of the Central Government and State Government Employees demanding for Scrapping the Contributory Pension Scheme popularly known as NPS and to restore back the Old Pension Scheme.

More than 60 Central Government and State Government Employees Organizations have now come under one banner the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS). On the 21st of every month the JFROPS is observing protest programs throughout the country in support of their demand. Smelling the discontentment amongst the Central Government and State Government Employees, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made an announcement in the floor of the parliament that a committee under the Chairmanship of Finance Secretary is constituted for suggesting measures to modify the NPS and to improve the Pensionary benefits of the Government Employees governed under the NPS. The Committee has been given the mandate that any recommendation should be keeping in view the fiscal implications and impact on overall Budget space.

The Government Employees organizations especially those who represents the Central Government Employees in the JCM fora including AIRF, AIDEF, NFIR, etc have rejected the terms of reference of the committee and in a meeting held with the Chairman of the Committee they have clearly stated before the committee that their only demand is to scrap the NPS and to restore OPS, they have never demanded any improvement in NPS.

In the mean time, a section of the media reported that the committee is going to recommend 45% minimum guaranteed Pension under the NPS. However, this was denied by Ministry of Finance.

The JFROPS have now taken a decision that on the 10th of August 2023 they will be mobilizing lakhs of Central Government and State Government Employees at New Delhi during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. Central Government Employees organizations have started preparing for the huge Parliament Rally. Shiva Gopal Mishra, Convener of the JFROPS have issued a statement in this regard.

C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF, stated that despite all the efforts taken by us the Government is not in a mood to listen to this very genuine demand of the Central Government Employees. First of all, why the Government Employees should contribute for their pension. It is obligatory on the part of the Government to ensure Guaranteed Pension to its employees without any contribution from the employees. How can the Government take away the old age security of the employees and how can the government deny a decent, dignified and protected old age life to its own employees. The Government has ignored the fact that more than 70% of its employees are Industrial Workers especially in the Railways and Defence and are subjected to various risks and hazards. Many in the Railways and Defence have died while performing their duty due to accidents.

Many died during the COVID-19 pandemic while performing their duty. How can the Government behave like a private employer that the employees should contribute 10% of their wages for their pension. The fact remains that despite the employees contributing 10% of their wages and the Government contributing 14% of their wages every month, the pension what the employees are getting after retirement is not even 10% of their last pay drawn. In the Old Pension Scheme 50% of their Last Pay drawn is being given as pension to employees.

Apart from this, they are paid 2 installments of Dearness Relief to compensate the price rise. In the NPS no relief is given to the Pensioners to compensate the inflation. Pension is Static in the NPS. Recently in one of the Ordnance Factories at Avadi, Chennai an ex-servicemen who was re-employed, after rendering 15 Years of service in the NPS retired on 30th June 2023 and from NPS he is receiving a pension of Rs.1000/- per month. He should have been receiving Rs.14800/- as Basic Pension + 42% Dearness Relief which amounts to Rs. 21,016/- as guaranteed Pension, if he was in the Old Pension Scheme.

This is what is happening to the Central Government Employees who are retiring from NPS every month. In this situation what type of improvement can be made by the T.V. Somanathan Committee. Whatever improvement the committee is going to recommend will in any case cannot be the replacement of the 50% Guaranteed Pension under the Old Pension Scheme.

The AIDEF also has today submitted a letter to the T.V. Somanathan Committee wherein we have rejected the proposed improvement / modification in NPS and we have categorically demanded that the only solution before the Government is to withdraw the New Pension System and to restore the Defined and Guaranteed Old Pension Scheme. The JFROPS has rightly taken the decision to mobilize Lakhs of Government Employees before the Parliament and raise the voice against NPS and to insist the demand for restoration of OPS. We only appeal that Hon’ble MP’s who are receiving a Defined and Guaranteed Pension after their retirement of every term should consider the genuine demand of the Government Employees and should insist upon the government, irrespective of their political affiliation to scrap the NPS and to Restore the Old Pension Scheme. After the Parliament Rally the struggle against the NPS will be further intensified concluded C. Srikumar.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, veteran trade union leader who is also the General Secretary of AIDEF

Related Articles

Back to top button