Defence unions demand restoration of old pension scheme

AIDEF stages protest, submits memorandum asking the Centre to emulate certain States in scrapping the new scheme

September 27, 2022 06:14 am | Updated 09:30 am IST - New Delhi

About 3,000 civil defence workers, under the banner of All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF), staged a protest at Jantar Mantar on Monday, demanding that the new pension scheme (NPS) be scrapped and the old pension scheme be restored.

The AIDEF, an umbrella organisation of various unions working in the defence sector, has submitted a memorandum to Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and Jitendra Singh, pointing out that the employees under the NPS, despite their contribution during the entire service period, are getting only a meagre pension.

AIDEF general secretary C. Srikumar told The Hindu that such a protest was needed as the Centre has decided to stop pension even for soldiers. “We were demanding that civilian employees in the defence sector should get pension as per the old scheme as soldiers in Army, Navy and Air Force avail now. But instead, the Centre decided to recruit soldiers on contract and started Agnipath,” Mr. Srikumar said.

Leaders of Opposition trade unions such as the CITU, AITUC, INTUC and the HMS addressed the protest gathering.

There are about four lakh civilian workers in the defence sector and 436 unions are affiliated with the AIDEF. In its memorandum, the AIDEF pointed out that after 18 years of service, employees enrolled in the NPS draw a meagre pension of ₹2,500 to ₹5,000. Had they retired under the old scheme, they would have received a monthly pension of ₹17,000 and above, depending on last pay. “Moreover, in the NPS, there is DA/DR element for compensation of inflation/price rise. In the Old Pension Scheme, the price rise is compensated by DA increase twice in a year,” it added.

Pointing out that the State government in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have decided to scrap NPS and restore the old scheme, the memorandum suggested that the Centre follow suit. “Many State governments are in the process of withdrawing the NPS. West Bengal is one State, which has not introduced NPS at all. If State governments can withdraw NPS, then why the Central government with all its resources and revenue is not withdrawing NPS?,” the AIDEF asked.

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