Why Should Government Employees Contribute For Pension, Being 24 Hours At Disposal Of Government : C. Srikumar, General Secretary, AIDEF

More voices come in support of Old Pension Scheme (OPS) as the big debate rages on


On the one side 5 states Assembly Elections and on the other side, the country is approaching Parliament elections, the Government employees are on the road all over the Country demanding to Scrap the Contributory Pension Scheme NPS. Rallies and demonstrations are being held all over the Country against NPS.

Many States have withdrawn NPS. Its now a very important issue in the election field. Employees in voice are telling that their vote will be for the political party who assure restoration of Old Pension Scheme. The Central Government is also under pressure from employees and has appointed a High Level Committee under the Chairmanship of TV Somanathan, Finance Secretary, for improvement in the NPS. Media Reports says that Somanathan Committee is going to recommend 40% of last basic Pay as Pension from NPS and that the Government of India will take a decision on the Committee’s recommendations before end of this year.

In this backdrop what the Government Employees Federations are going to do if government takes such a decision. C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF, who is also member of the Steering Committee of Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme, stated that as on date out of 29.5 lakh Central Government Employees, 20 lakhs are NPS Employees including Group A Officers. An IAS Officer, who joined as a Deputy Secretary in Government Service, is today Joint Secretary in a Ministry.

Initially, all were supporting NPS, but today they have realized that with the amount of pension what they will get from NPS, cannot ensure a decent and dignified retired life. Therefore, all Government Employees, irrespective of the fact that whether Worker or Officer, demand scrapping of the NPS and restoration of the defined and guaranteed Old Pension Scheme. We fail to understand that the elected people’s representatives, whether MPs or MLAs, all are getting defined Pension without any contribution, but why the employees who earn revenue to the government, serve the people and the country, should contribute for their Pension. The Government employees alone contributes more than 30% of their salary to the Government as Income Tax and GST, so there is no burden on the Government for paying Pension to its employees. The Supreme Court of India, in many judgments, has reiterated that Pension is the right of the employees and it cannot be taken away. After all, how many years after retirement do employee live to receive pension. At an average, may be 12 years after retirement, thereafter family pension is only 30%. Is it a burden on the part of Government?

Therefore, there is no meaning in guaranteeing 40% or 45% as Pension in the Contributory NPS. Our question is why the Government employees should contribute from their salary for pension. It’s the responsibility of the Government, which it simply cannot shed away. As such our demand is only to scrap the Contributory NPS and restore the defined and non-contributory Old Pension Scheme and we are going to take “Strike Ballot for Indefinite Strike” on the 20th and 21st of November, this year, in all Central and State Government Establishments. Having understood the pulse of the employees and their family members about their anger and discontentment against NPS, good wisdom should prevail with the Government and it should scrap NPS once for all, to go back to the old pension scheme, which only gives protection to the government employees after retirement, since after superannuation, they are left with no savings after spending all their earnings for health care, education & marriage of their children, housing etc.

Any sensitive Government should understand the pain of its employees and give them back the old pension scheme which was snatched away from them, concludes C. Srikumar.

Views expressed here are those of C. Srikumar, veteran trade union leader and General Secretary of AIDEF

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