Benefits cheer for state govt employees

Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik government has decided to give better retirement and death benefits to its employees who joined service after January 1, 2005.

These employees are now covered by the contribution pension scheme under the National Pension System (NPS).

They were not entitled to such benefits earlier. Officials said according to the new provision, the employees would be entitled to 26 months' salary at the time of retirement or death during service.

Under the contribution pension scheme, the state government deducts 10 per cent from the salary of employee and contributes another 10 per cent from its account and deposits it in the NPS. After retirement, the pension would be given from the consolidated amount. But, they were not qualified for any other benefits. The decision, considered another sop for the nearly one lakh employees who have joined after 2005, comes after the state government had decided to implement the recommendations of the Centre's Seventh Pay Commission.

Finance minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said: "The Odisha Civil Services (Pension) Amendment Rules, 2005, has been modified to extend these facilities."

After the implementation of the recommendations of the state's expert committee on the 7th pay commission, there was a demand that other benefits should be extended to the employees who joined the government service after January 1, 2005. A finance department official said: "The Union ministry of personnel public grievances and pensions has extended retirement gratuity and death gratuity to the central government employees covered by the NPS with effect from January 1, 2004 on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to the employees covered by Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972."

Abanti Pradhan, a state government employee, said: "This is a good move."

The Opposition smelled petty politics in the state government's move. The state government has nearly 4.8 lakh employees who constitute a major votebank. Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty said: "People should be told why the state government did not implement the rules it in 2005. It is doing it now for the sake of vote-bank politics."

BJP leader Golak Mohapatra said: "I hope the announcement is not a political gimmick."

BJD leaders denied the allegations and said the move was only aimed at the welfare of government employees who constituted the backbone of state administration. BJD secretary Bijay Nayak said: "Our government is keen to ensure the welfare of our employees. The Opposition is in the habit of reading motives in our every move."


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