Chandigarh: The chief minister, Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab on Friday took an in-principle decision to revert to the old pension scheme (OPS) for its government employees.
Mann made this announcement after a cabinet meeting.
On implementation, the move is likely to benefit about 1.6 lakh state government employees who joined service after 2004. According to information, Punjab would be the third state in the country – after Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan – to revert to the OPS.
Stating that it had been a long-pending demand of the state government employees ever since the OPS was denied to them in 2004, Mann said that it was a historic decision and the best Diwali gift ever to the employees of the state.
Employees will have the options
Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that employees would have the option to join the old pension scheme or the new scheme.
A month ago, Mann said that his government was considering restoring the scheme for government employees as it had been one of the major demands of state government employees.
In August last year too, prior to the state assembly polls, AAP leader Cheema had promised to restore the old pension system if the party was voted to power in Punjab; the AAP won with a landslide victory in March this year.
The Punjab AAP government’s move is also being seen as an attempt to score in the ongoing campaign for the assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, where the AAP has also promised the same.
The Congress too has made a similar poll promise in Himachal Pradesh.
6% DA TO GOVT STAFF, PENSIONERS
Meanwhile, in another significant decision, the Punjab Cabinet also decided to give 6% Dearness Allowance (DA) to government employees and pensioners with effect from October 1, 2022, according to official information. The Council of Ministers opined that the employees were a critical segment of the state administration and safeguarding their interests was the government’s top priority.