Tamil Nadu

State raises retirement age of government employees to 59

According to the government order, the change will apply to those in regular service as on date and those due to retire from May 31, 2020. Photo: File   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday raised the age of superannuation of its employees to 59 years, in an attempt to give itself some relief from a near ₹5,000-crore financial burden.

“This will apply to all those who are in regular service as on date and due to retire on superannuation from May 31, 2020,” a G.O. issued by Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam said.

The decision, which was preceded by moves such as a freeze on the hike in dearness allowance till June 2021 and the suspension of encashment of earned leave for a year, would be applicable to teaching and non-teaching staff in government and State-aided educational institutions, employees of all constitutional/statutory bodies, public sector undertakings (PSUs), including State corporations, local bodies, boards, commissions, societies, etc.

“The relevant provisions under Rule 56 of the Tamil Nadu Fundamental Rules will be modified to the above extent. Necessary amendment to the above rules will be issued accordingly,” the G.O. stated.

Though the order did not specify any reason for the decision, a senior official told The Hindu: “About 25,000 State government employees are scheduled to retire during the next one year and a financial burden of about ₹5,000 crore that will accrue towards retrial benefits has been ‘postponed’ for a year.” On superannuation, retired employees are given a lumpsum, including gratuity, commutation and other pension benefits.

Another official pointed out that the current year’s budget had a provision for the payment of gratuity to the tune of ₹2,763.63 crore and the encashment of leave by fresh pensioners of about ₹2,220 crore, both of which the government would not have to incur during the course of the year in the wake of the decision. The extension of service for the 25,000-odd employees would not lead to any “significant rise” in the salary expenditure as the government’s original estimates was drawn up on the premise that vacancies would be filled this year.

Mixed reaction

There has been a mixed response to the State government's decision. Employees who would be reaching the age of superannuation this year welcomed the decision and felt that the latest action of the government would generate “greater goodwill” among the staff towards the administration. However, the Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers' Organisations-Government Employees' Organisations (JACTTO-GEO) opposed it.

In a statement, JACTTO-GEO pointed out that the temporary measure would severely affect the employment opportunities of youth in government service for a year. It said that it suspected that the State government was moving towards handing over vacancies in various departments to private players on contract.

“This decision of the Tamil Nadu government has put a question mark on social justice and also the fate of 69% reservation in the State,” it said. The organisation recalled the Audiseshiah Committee’s report, on the basis of which the State government was already making plans to reduce the number of government employees.

The Tamil Nadu Government Employees’ Association announced that it would organise an agitation against the government’s decision on May 8.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:45:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/state-raises-retirement-age-of-government-employees-to-59/article31529808.ece

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