In what is being seen as a pre-poll promise, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath, on Sunday, announced that the old pension scheme (for government employees) will be reinstated in in the state if the Congress government comes to power.
Nath’s announcement comes on a day the Chhattisgarh cabinet, led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, approved a proposal to reinstate the old pension scheme (OPS) with effect from April 1, 2022. The Congress governments in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan had already announced this decision earlier.
Speaking at the Shikshak (teachers) Congress convention in Bhopal, Kamal Nath said the stand of the Congress vis-à-vis the old pension scheme was clear in the decisions of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments. “It is natural that the scheme that is implemented in Congress states can be implemented in Madhya Pradesh too. Why can’t it be done,” Nath said. Later, he said the OPS will be implemented when Congress comes to power.
The announcement is being seen as an important promise aimed at government employees of the state ahead of 2023 assembly polls. This is an indication that the issue will find an important place in the poll manifesto of the party in the state.
Senior Congress leaders, including Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh, former president of MPCC Arun Yadav and former minister P.C. Sharma, were present at the convention.
The government employees, who have joined service from January 1, 2005, are benefited by the National Pension Scheme rather than the OPS. These employees contribute 10 per cent of their basic salary to a pension pool to which the government adds 14 per cent. On retirement, employees get 50 per cent of the accumulated fund at once, while a monthly pension is given on the other 50 per cent. However, the amount of pension comes out to be nominal. The pension amount is also dependent on the returns of the equity shares in which the government invests the pension pool amount.
In the old pension scheme, employees did not make any contribution to the pension pool. Government contributed the entire fund. The pension received by the employees following retirement came to about half of the last salary received, which was a big relief for the employees.