State Assembly Election Results Has Nothing To Do With Our Struggle For Restoration Of Old Pension Scheme : C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF

Many economists are critical about bringing back the Old Pension Scheme

The Congress Party which has restored the Old Pension Scheme in the States of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh has lost the power to BJP in the recent Assembly Elections. After this there are lots of discussions in the media that the debate on the NPS vs OPS is likely to lose stream, it is also expected that the Centre might not hurry to make any improvements in the NPS.

In fact, Rajasthan was the first state to scrap the NPS and to restore the guaranteed and defined Old Pension Scheme. Subsequently, the State Governments of
Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh restored the Old Pension Scheme which was criticized by the Centre. The Congress gave similar assurance to the Government Employees during the Karnataka State Assembly Elections.

Many Economists and others are always critical about bringing back the Old Pension Scheme to the Government Employees since it will have serious impact on the economy of our country. The Central Government Employees and the State Government Employees are opposing the Contributory Pension Scheme and are continuously struggling for scrapping the NPS and to restore the Old Pension Scheme. A joint forum for Restoration of the Old Pension Scheme was setup under the convenership of Railway Federation Leaders in which the Federation of Defence Employees and other Central Government Employees and State Government Employees are also there.

The Result of the 3 States Assembly Elections whether it will have any impact on the struggle of the Central and State Government Employees for restoration of the Old Pension Scheme? Whether in this situation the Central Government Employees and State Government Employees who have taken the Strike Ballot will go for an indefinite Strike with these questions approached C. Srikumar, the General Secretary of AIDEF, his version is given below:

The Results of 3 States Assembly Elections have got nothing to do with the demand of Central and State Government Employees for Scrapping the NPS and to restore the defined and guaranteed Old Pension Scheme. It is a justified demand of the Central and State Government Employees since the Government Employees who work for the people and the Nation deserves a decent and dignified retired life. The Government Employees are governed under innumerable Conduct Rules which are not in force for the employees of any other sector. Government Employees while in service are not permitted to do any other job including part time job since it is violation of the Conduct Rules. Therefore while in service the salary is the only source of income for the Government Employees. Majority of the Government Employees are forced to pay 20 to 30% of their salary as Income Tax which is automatically recovered by the Government every month from their salary. With the
remaining amount they have to take care of all their requirements including housing, education of children, marriage of the children, social and domestic
commitments, etc apart from the EMI which they are paying back for loan taken for different purposes. After all these, when they retire they are left with nothing. Because of these aspects only, the Government Employees are always paid defined and Guaranteed Pension without any contribution. At present, in addition to all the above recoveries, the Government Employees have to contribute 10% of their salary as contribution every month to the New Pension Scheme. Out of 30 Lakh Central Government Civilian Employees, more than 20 Lakh are covered under the NPS. They are all worried about their old age protection. Any improvement in the NPS as proposed by the Finance Minister will not replace the benefits available in the Old Pension Scheme. There are so many Judgments of the Supreme Court that Pension is the Right of the Government Employees and the Government is bound to pay Pension after retirement to them. Pension to the Government Employees cannot be treated as a liability by the Government since Government Employees are the assets of the Government as they only generate Revenue to the Government and implement all the Governments Policies and decisions. They do not have any politics. They are in service only to serve the nation and the people. Therefore the demand of the Government Employees to restore the Old Pension Scheme is a 20 years old demand and so the demand continues irrespective of theparty in power in the centre and states. More than 99% of the Central Government Employees especially the Railways and Defence Employees have
voted in favour of an Indefinite Strike in support of this single point demand. It is a mandate of the employees which the Trade Unions are duty bound to implement. The JFROPS will meet soon and expected to fix the date of commencement of the Indefinite Strike. He also appealed to the people of the Country to support that genuine demand since they are only serving for them and the country as a whole during there more than 3 decades of service and that is why Government called them Government employees as Government Servants, concluded C Srikumar.

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