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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Assam’s Economy Will Be In Shambles In 5 Yrs If OPS Restored: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

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GUWAHATI, Feb 26: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said the state’s economy will be in “shambles” if the government has to implement the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) for its employees.

Speaking in the assembly, he maintained that employees retiring after 30-35 years of service under the National Pension System (NPS) stand to gain, a notion that the opposition members refused to accept, and staged a walkout.

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Replying to a question by independent MLA Akhil Gogoi, Sarma said as per data with the ‘FinAssam’ portal, there are 4,34,454 pensioners under the state government, excluding those under the Sixth Schedule Areas.

Of these, 2,58,456 are under the NPS and 1,75,998 are under OPS, he said.

The CM also said that 7,006 retired personnel are currently drawing pension under the NPS, which was implemented in the state from 2005.

“Since we implement the central government’s pay scale here, we follow their policies with regards to pension. Those who have joined service at a younger age like 25 years, will get a good pension amount under the NPS.

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“But, the benefit cannot be same for some with, say, three years of service under NPS and someone with 30 years of service,” Sarma said.

He said the Assam government has a pension bill of about Rs 1,700 crore per month at present.

“If we assume that the current salary bill is Rs 2,800-3,000 crore per month and pension bill is Rs 1,700 crore, then under OPS, our pension bill will be more than the salary bill in five years. And, then our economy will be in shambles,” Sarma said.

He said only a limited number of employees whose retirement is due soon under NPS could face some financial setback, and the government is aware of it.

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“The central government has formed a committee to study whether to move forward with NPS or go back to the OPS and other related matters. We have to wait for its recommendations,” he said.

“Pointing fingers and asking questions can happen in Naxal training camps, not in the assembly. I won’t reply to that,” Sarma said, when Gogoi insisted that the state government clarifies whether it will restore the OPS.

Expressing dissatisfaction at the chief minister’s reply, the Congress, CPI (M) and Gogoi, the lone independent MLA, staged a walkout from the House. (PTI)

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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