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Government empathetic to demand for OPS, says Maharashtra CM amid employee protest

Amid the ongoing protest by government employees seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme, Maharshtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday said a discussion was held in this regard and his government was empathetic to the demand.

“There is a need to hold further discussions. Our government is empathetic to this demand and I would, yet again, urge the government employees to sit with us and hold discussions as only through a dialogue can all issues be resolved and a good decision taken,” Shinde said.

The chief minister informed further that a committee has been put together to address the issue and settle it to the satisfaction of all.

“We can assure that the employees would not lose out on any benefits post retirement under the prevailing new pension scheme. If fact, if one retires in the middle of his service period, he will also get all the benefits as he would following the completion of his full tenure,” the chief minister said.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday demanded that the employees get what they are entitled to.

“Government employees are on strike in demand for restoration of the Old Pension Scheme. This government has blocked it. Why can’t it implement the Old Pension Scheme? Some states have already implemented it. The employees must get what they are entitled to,” said Thackeray.

His son and Shiv Sena Leader (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray alleged that people across the state weren’t happy with the present government and while government employees are holding protests against the existing pension scheme, farmer suicides are also on the rise.”While government employees are out on the streets seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme, farmer sucides are on the rise across the state. Not a single section of society in Maharashrtra is happy with this government. While many committees have been formed, the expansion of the state cabinet is yet to take place,” said Aaditya Thackeray.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and deputy chief minister in the previous Maha Vikas aghadi (MVA) government, Ajit Pawar, raised the ongoing protest over the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) in the Assembly on Tuesday, saying that the state government should consider the request of the employees.

Speaking to mediapersons, Pawar said, “The government needs to talk to employees, who are on strike demanding the restoration and implementation of the Old Pension Scheme in the state. If small states can implemented the scheme, then why can’t an advanced state like Maharashtra implement the OPS?”

“I raised the issue in the Assembly today and requested the state government to hold discussions with the protesting employees and meet their demand as soon as possible, as these strikes could impede the day-to-day functioning of the government and add to the hardships of the people,” Pawar added.

Under the OPS, a government employee is entitled to a monthly pension which is half of his last drawn salary.

Under the New Pension Scheme (NPS), employees contribute a portion of their salaries to the pension fund based on which they are entitled to a one-time lump sum amount on superannuation.

The Old Pension Scheme was discontinued in December 2003, and the new scheme came into effect on April 1, 2004.

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