Finance Minister K.M. Mani has said the State government will take a decision on the question of enhancing the retirement age of employees only after gathering the views of all those concerned.

Responding to questions at a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Mani said that a Cabinet subcommittee consisting of him and three other Ministers - Aryadan Mohammed, P.K. Kunhalikutty and K.B. Ganesh Kumar - had gathered the views on this subject from the service organisations.

All service organisations were in favour of enhancing the retirement age - they were demanding it. Various suggestions had come from them. Some wanted the retirement age to be lifted to 58 years and some others to 60 years.

The service organisations were of two views with respect to the unification of retirement date to the end of each financial year, instead of the earlier practice of each employee retiring on the date of attaining the present retirement age of 55 years. One view was that the unification of retirement age should be discontinued since it was affecting the promotion chances of many employees, Mr. Mani said.

He said the subcommittee would report whatever was discussed with the service organisations to the Council of Ministers. Asked about the objections of certain youth organisations to the suggestion of enhancing the retirement age, he said: “You can be sure that the Cabinet will take that also into consideration… The decision will also reflect the government's concern to protect the employment opportunities of the youth.”

Mr. Mani said a Bill guaranteeing the rights of the citizens to efficient and prompt service from government departments and agencies was at present at the drafting stage. Kerala would be the first State in the country to introduce such a Bill in the Assembly.

He said the employees' organisations were not against such a legislation ensuring the Right to Services. During the discussion, the subcommittee had with the service organisations, the only demand was that the draft of the Bill, when it was ready, should be finalised for introduction in the Assembly only after hearing their views also.

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