Thousands of employees of various State and Union governments and public sector units belonging to the Government Employees National Confederation (GENC) held a rally in New Delhi on Wednesday demanding the restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS). A delegation of the workers also met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and told her through a memorandum that dissatisfaction, resentment and grief arose among workers over the National Pension Scheme (NPS). The GNEC is the industrial unit of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union of the Sangh Parivar.
The leaders said the OPS was a guaranteed pension amounting to a minimum of 50% of the last basic pay with provision of dearness relief for price neutralisation and a mandatory revision in tune with the recommendations of the Central Pay Commissions. The protesting workers were mostly from Defence, Railways, Postal and Central government establishments like the Archaeological Survey of India and EPFO.
BMS general secretary Ravindra Himte and GNEC general secretary Sadhu Singh were part of the delegation that met Ms. Sitharaman. Mr. Singh said in a release that the BMS was opposed from the beginning to the decision to discontinue the Old Pension Scheme (CCS Pension Rules, 1972) from January 1, 2004, and launching the NPS through an Ordinance on December 22, 2003. He said the NPS is a non-guaranteed, market-based contributory pension scheme. “Before January 1, 2004, the old pension scheme provided a non-contributory guarantee, ensuring that 50% of the last salary became the pension upon retirement. Additionally, the scheme was intricately linked to the price index, resulting in the receipt of dearness allowance twice a year in January and July. Government employees, who feel deprived of their rightful pension under the guise of social security, are now urgently appealing to the government of India to abolish NPS and reinstate the OPS,” the BMS said in the memorandum to the Minister.
They told her that in the last few years, many State governments have abolished NPS and brought back OPS. “This aroused hope among the employees of the remaining States and the Central government that the government will think about us, but due to no announcement till now, there is disappointment and dissatisfaction among the employees,” they said in the memorandum.