The Atal Bihari Vajpayee led BJP Government during the year 2003 took a major policy decision to abolish the old pension scheme and to introduce a contributory pension scheme popularly called as NPS to those employees who join the Central Government service on or after 01-01-2004. Only the Army, Navy and Airforce was exempted from the NPS. Even the paramilitary forces such as CRPF, CISF, ITBP etc., were also brought under the purview of the contributory pension scheme.
Subsequently, barring West Bengal all other states have also switched over to NPS to the newly recruited employees. The Trade unions of Central Government employees and State Government employees are in a war path and so far they have observed various agitational programmes demanding for scrapping the no guarantee pension scheme NPS and to restore the defined and guaranteed old pension scheme. Many state governments including Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh have already withdrawn the NPS and have restored back the old pension scheme for their employees.
In this situation the National Joint Council of Action for Central Government employees consisting of the constituent organizations participating in National Council (JCM) of Central Government employees convened a broad based meeting of various Central Government Employees organizations, State Government Employees organizations, Associations of Para Military Forces under the Chairmanship of Shiva Gopal Mishra convener of the NJCA and General Secretary of AIRF on 7 th of January 2023 at New Delhi. In this meeting more than 75 representatives of different organizations including Railways, Defence, Postal, Income Tax, Accounts & Audit, State Government employees, Autonomous Bodies, participated.
The NJCA took decision to observe 12 th of January 2023 the National Youth Day as Scrap NPS and Restore OPS Day throughout the country. Accordingly, today in different parts of the country the National Youth Day was converted into an agitation day against NPS by the Government employees.
To know further details www.indianpsu.com interacted with C. Srikumar, General secretary of AIDEF and National Secretary of AITUC, C.Srikumar stated that it is now more than 18 years after the implementation of the NPS. Employees who were recruited on or after 01-01-2004 have now started retiring from service. Most unfortunate part is after contributing 10% of their wages every month for the NPS Pension fund these retiring NPS employees are getting only a very paltry pension of Rs.2000 to Rs.4000 per month. If the same employees if they have retired under the Old Pension Scheme they must have received Rs.15000 to Rs.30000 per month as pension without any contribution.
The Government is most insensitive towards its own employees. Here I would like to record about the historical judgment given by the Constitutional Bench of the Honorable Supreme Court wherein the Law is established that the pension of the Government employees is their fundamental right. I am just reproducing the relevant portion of the Supreme Court Judgment. “Para 31: from the discussion three things emerge (i) that pension is neither a bounty nor a matter of grace depending upon the sweet will of the employer and that it creates a vested right subject to 1972 Rules which are statutory in character, because they enacted in exercise of powers conferred by the proviso to Art. 309 and Clause(50 0f Art. 148 of the Constitution, (ii) that pension is not an ex-gratia payment, but it is a payment for the past service rendered, and (iii) it is a social welfare measure rendering socio-economic justice to those who in the heyday of their life ceaselessly toiled for the employer on an assurance that in their old age, they would not be left in the lurch.”
When right from President of India, Prime Minister, Ministers, MP’s, MLA’s and Judges are enjoying the benefit of the defined guaranteed pension why the Government employees who are 24 hours Government employees and who cannot do any other job or service while in Government job is deprived of the pension benefits. Why the Government has budged to the dictates of the World Bank and IMF.
In many countries the pension funds have collapsed and the pensioners were left in the lurch. In India also the NPS depends on the market and if the share market collapse then the pension fund will become bankrupt and ultimately who will be the sufferer. While the Government is writing off the loans taken by the giant corporates unfortunately the Government is cutting down the expenditure for the social sector and also for old age security.
The Government instead of taxing the government employees in the name of contributory pension should have the courage to raise revenues to meet its social obligations rather than washing away its hands from these social responsibilities. The Government forgets it is the Government employees who play a major part in generating and collecting revenue for the Government. The arguments putforth by the so called economists in favor of NPS are totally irrelevant.
The people in power should understand that for more than 90% of the Government employees the only source of income is their salary which they earn while in service. A major portion of the salary is given back to the Government as Income Tax as Direct Tax and also through GST for whatever items they are purchasing from the market. They avail maximum loans for educating their children, purchasing a flat etc., and hence after retirement they are left with nothing and the only hope is the pension which now the government has snatched away from the Government employees.
In view of all these the Government employees organizations are left with no other option than to fight back. NJCA has taken a right decision to bring all the central government employees organizations and state government employees organizations under one banner to fight back for the single demand of scrap NPS and Restore OPS. A National Convention of all the organizations is scheduled to be held at New Delhi on the 21 st of January 2023 and wherein decisions including Bharat Bandh / Strike in support of this major demand is expected to be taken concluded C. Srikumar.