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National congregation of employees in Delhi to press old-pension demand

Government employees in most states have been holding protests, demanding restoration of OPS, which entitles an employee to a pension equal to 50 per cent of their last drawn salary

Basant Kumar Mohanty New Delhi Published 12.09.23, 06:08 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File photo

The demand is growing from state and central government staff for a return to the Old Pension Scheme, which provided higher pensions, with a national congregation of employees planned in Delhi next month.

Government employees in most states have been holding protests, demanding restoration of the OPS, which entitles an employee to a pension equal to 50 per cent of their last drawn salary.

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But the National Pension Scheme (NPS), introduced by the Centre in 2004 and adopted by most states, requires an employee in service to make a contribution towards his or her pension that is equal to the government’s. Even at the highest allowed rate of contribution, the eventual pension equals barely 20 per cent of the last salary.

The National Movement for Old Pension Scheme, an organisation of employees from central and state governments, has called for a national congregation here on October 1, its president Vijay Kumar Bandhu said.

He said Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand had already restored the OPS while Bengal and Tamil Nadu never discontinued the OPS.

"It's absolutely feasible to implement the OPS. We want the government to accept our demand," Bandhu said.

With several states restoring the OPS, the Union finance ministry had set up a committee in April this year to suggest improvements to the NPS. The panel is yet to submit its report.

Bandhu said his organisation wants the OPS, not an improved NPS. The organisation is also opposed to the privatisation of public sector undertakings.

Contract teachers

Associations of contract teachers have been protesting in various states such as Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, demanding regularisation of their jobs or higher pay or both.

Primary schools in most Odisha districts have been paralysed for the past three days with teachers’ groups protesting at block headquarters demanding the appointment of regular teachers and the regularisation of the existing contractual teachers.

They also want pay parity with regular teachers of other states, and a return to the OPS.

“The state government decided in March that it would recruit only regular employees. However, this decision is not being implemented in the case of primary school teachers,” a protesting teacher said.

“The government has now issued advertisements for the appointment of 20,000 contractual teachers. We are opposing it."

Nearly 40,000 para-teachers work on contract in Bengal. They are paid Rs 14,000 a month in middle school (Classes VI and VII) and Rs 10,000 in primary school.

Ashit Baran Chakraborty, a teacher leader, said the teachers are demanding regularisation or pay parity with regular teachers.

Uttar Pradesh has about 1.5 lakh Shiksha Mitras or contract teachers at primary schools. They are paid Rs 10,000 a month.

Tribhuvan Singh, vice-president of the Uttar Pradesh Shiksha Mitra Sangh, said the state should emulate Bihar, which has introduced a pay scale of Rs 28,000 for trained contract teachers.

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