Agitation of the Central Government and State Government employees are going on throughout the country against the no-guarantee National Pension System (NPS) implemented by the BJP-led NDA Government during the year 2003. The Central Government and State Government employees are grateful to the Communist Party of India for adopting a resolution against the NPS and demanding the restoration of the defined, guaranteed and non-contributory Old Pension Scheme in the 24th Congress of the CPI held at Vijayawada from October 14 to 18, 2022. Recently, in September, more than 3000 defense civilian employees assembled at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, and staged an anti-NPS dharna and submitted a memorandum to the Government demanding the scrapping of the NPS and restoring the Old Pension Scheme.
In the BJP Government in 2003 under the pressure and dictates of the World Bank and IMF implemented the contributory NPS with a lot of fanfare propagating that the employees would get a huge amount as pension since the pension contribution of both the employees and the Government would be invested in the stock market. Today after 18 years of the implementation of the NPS, the Government stands exposed. Employees who are retiring after 18 years of service in the NPS are getting a very paltry monthly pension of Rs. 2000 to 4000 depending upon the value of the annuity which they are purchasing from the 40 percent of the pension fund available in their account. The NPS is nothing but gambling or a lottery. If there is a crash in the stock market, the burden of getting less amount of pension should be shouldered by the poor pensioner. Various global studies it is revealed that most of the private pension funds were wiped away in the deep economic crisis. The argument put forth by the Vajpayee Government in 2003 was that more than 25 percent of the country’s budget is eaten away by the pensioners. But the fact remains that the Government gets back a major portion of the pension, either as income tax or through GST which is collected from the pensioners on whatever he or she is purchasing from the market.
In the old pension scheme, the employee is not required to contribute anything for getting a pension after retirement. An employee who has put in a minimum of 10 years of qualifying service is eligible for 50 percent of the last pay drawn as a monthly pension subject to a minimum of Rs. 9000 per month. As already mentioned, two installments of dearness relief are also paid on the pension to compensate for the price rise. Forty percent of the pension can be commuted in advance which will be restored after 15 years. At present, the Central Government employees have demanded to the Government that the commuted pension should be restored after 12 years. Incidentally, the Gujarat Government keeping the State assembly elections in mind has reduced the restoration of commuted pension after 13 years instead of 15 years. It is now the right time for the Central Government employees and the State Government employees to relentlessly fight against the NPS to make it a major issue for the 2024 general elections. The Government employees and their families should decide that they will vote only for those political parties which are opposed to NPS and which are assuring that they will restore the old pension scheme if they come to power.