All Himachal Pradesh government employees presently covered under the new pension scheme will be given the benefit of the old pension scheme, according to an office memorandum.
The finance department has been directed to notify the instructions and standard operating procedure (SOP) to implement the decision benefitting about 1.36 lakh employees, according to the note by Himachal Pradesh chief secretary Prabodh Saxena.
The finance department would issue terms and conditions and SOP in due course of time, the note said.
Keeping its poll promise to restore the old pension scheme (OPS), the Congress government approved restoration of the scheme in its first cabinet meeting. Cabinet sub committees were also constituted to prepare a road map for disbursement of Rs 1,500 per month to women in the age bracket of 18 to 60 years and explore possibilities for one lakh jobs in one month.
Briefing media persons after the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had maintained that the benefit of the old pension scheme would be given from January 13, 2023, and its implementation would put a burden of Rs 800-900 crore per annum.
Employees who joined government service from January 1, 2004 are covered under New Pension System (NPS).
The new pension scheme is a contributory scheme in which the government and employees contribute 10 per cent and 14 per cent of the salary respectively towards the pension fund while in the old pension scheme employees with 20 years of service used to get 50 per cent of last drawn salary as pension.
Sukhu had also accused the previous BJP government of financial mismanagement and said that his government not only inherited debt liability of Rs 75,000 crore but also committed liability of Rs 11,000 crore pertaining to employees and pensioners as the previous BJP government has not paid arrears of Rs 4,430 crore to employees, Rs 5,226 crore to pensioners and Rs 1,000 crore dearness allowance of the sixth pay commission.
Sukhu reiterated that the state government has not restored OPS for votes but for giving social security and safeguarding self respect of the employees who have scripted the history of development of Himachal.
However, the President of New Pension Scheme Employees Federation of Himachal, Pradeep Thakur, said that the federation had informed the government that the liability for 2022-23 under the NPS is Rs 1,632 crores out of which employees and the government would deposit Rs 680 crore and Rs 952 crore respectively while the liability under the OPS would only be Rs 147 crore.