Government employees from across India gathered in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday to protest against the central government and demand the restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
Government and public sector employees from over 20 states gathered for a protest named “Pension Shankhnaad Maharally” at Ramlila Maidan in the national capital, organised under the banner of the National Movement for Old Pension Scheme (NMOPS). The aim of the protest was to exert pressure on the central government to discontinue the existing National Pension Scheme (NPS) and revert to the OPS.
The National Movement For Old Pension Scheme (NMOPS) led the protest, with leader Vijay Kumar Bandhu saying, “Our team believed that if the central government ratifies this (OPS), then the onus won’t be on the state government.”
The NMOPS also threatened to launch a campaign titled “Vote for OPS” to demand its restoration ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election if the central government does not restore the OPS.
Several Opposition leaders, including Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, and Bahujan Samaj Party MP Shyam Singh Yadav, joined the protest.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress party also backed the protesters, with Kejriwal saying that the city government had already written to the central government to implement the OPS for government employees in the national capital.
The Congress party demanded that the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi restore the OPS to “honor the workers who serve the country.”
Across India, five states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh – have reverted to the OPS, while West Bengal never opted for the New Pension Scheme.
The OPS provides a defined pension based on the employee’s last salary, while the New Pension Scheme is a contributory scheme where the employee and government contribute to the employee’s pension fund. Government employees argue that the OPS is a more secure and beneficial pension scheme.
Both the old pension scheme (OPS) and the new pension scheme (NPS) represent retirement savings plans, but they diverge in their approach to securing one’s financial future.
The old pension scheme ensures that employees receive a predetermined pension, equating to 50% of their last earned salary. OPS was discontinued by the NDA government in 2003, with the cessation taking effect from April 1, 2004. In contrast, the National Pension System (NPS) mandates that employees contribute 10% of their basic salary, matched by a 14% contribution from the government.