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Assam Government employees demand scrapping of National Pension Scheme

Representatives of over 2.3 lakh employees of the State Government held a meeting in the city

National Pension Scheme

Sentinel Digital Desk

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Representatives of over 2.3 lakh employees of the State Government held a meeting in the city on Sunday and demanded scrapping of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) in order to ensure secure financial and social lives for Government employees and their families after retirement.

They also demanded provision of full retirement benefits to all employees as per the Assam Services Pension Rules, 1969.

The meeting was organized by the All Assam Government NPS Employees Association (AAGNPSEA) and the Assam College Teachers Association (ACTA). The AAGNPSEA is an umbrella organization representing various bodies of Government employees. Today's meeting was also attended by representatives of the All Assam District Administration Employees Association, the All Assam Heads of Department Ministerial Officers Association, the All Assam Ministerial Officers Association, the Assam High School Retired Teachers-Employees Association, the All Assam ME Teachers Association, the Sadou Axom Karmachari Parishad (SAKP), the All Assam VFA Association, the Assam Secretariat Service Association, the Assam Graduate Teachers Association, the Sanmilita Sikshak Mancha and Assam Medical Service Association.

Dr Himangshu Maral, president of ACTA and Apurba Sarma, general secretary of the AAGNPSEA, informed the media that Charan Deka, ex-secretary general of SAKP, also addressed the meeting.

The employees' bodies also urged the Government to sit with them for a fruitful discussion regarding the matter. However, they decided to go for a strategic programme for restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) if the Government fails to show any interest to their demand in the near future.

The employees claimed that the NPS has jeopardized the future of each Government employee covered under it. They said that the NPS is becoming a burning issue in the State. The employees' representatives said that after implementation of NPS in the State, around 7,000 Government teachers, officers, employees retired from Government services and more than 95 per cent of them are drawing monthly pensions of less than Rs 1,200, which has piled misery on these retired employees and their families.

They said that this shows the extent of financial insecurity faced by Government servants under the NPS after dedicating their entire service life to serving the Government in public interest. On the other, their counterparts covered under the OPS enjoy financial security for the rest of their lives and after their death, their families enjoy family pension.

ACTA president Dr Maral said that given rising inflation, they are deeply anxious as to whether they would be able to meet basic needs after they retire.

AAGNPSEA general secretary Apurba Sarma said that since the last three years they repeated appealed to the Government to implement the Old Pension Scheme in place of the current and ongoing New Pension Scheme, just to safeguard the future of retired State Government employees. However, no concrete steps have been taken for scrapping NPS or to giving benefits to all Government employees as per the Assam Services (Pension) Rules, 1969.

He said that in the mean time, the Governments of Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Punjab scrapped the NPS and restored the OPS. Today's meeting demanded a realistic and prompt action from the Government.

Further, he informed that the AAGNPSEA in association will all State Government employees, teachers, officers' associations will organize an OPS Yatra in the last week of June next, where more than 50,000 employees will come out to the streets.

Also Read: Government employees under NPS demand implementation of DCRG

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