Karnataka Government to Discuss Removal of NPS and Restoration of OPS in Upcoming Budget
Date: June 14, 2023
In a significant development, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Karnataka has announced that the newly elected Congress government will discuss the possibility of restoring the old pension scheme (OPS) in an upcoming cabinet meeting. The decision regarding the implementation of the scheme is expected to be taken during the regime's first budget, scheduled to be presented on July 7.
The Chief Minister made this announcement after a meeting with a delegation of state government employee unions, who had expressed their concerns and demands regarding the New Pension Scheme (NPS). During the meeting, CM Siddaramaiah emphasized the importance of government employees working efficiently to implement the government's guarantee schemes and ensure the benefits of various programs reach the people.
Former Member of the Legislative Council (MLC), V.S. Ugrappa, who also addressed the gathering, provided some insights into the current situation. According to Ugrappa, approximately 2.98 lakh employees are currently covered under the NPS, with their pension amounts deposited in the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL). He suggested that these funds could be transferred to the General Provident Fund (GPF) to be made available at the time of retirement. Additionally, Ugrappa urged the government to drop disciplinary actions against those who participated in the "Vote for OPS" campaign.
Shantaram Teja, the president of the Karnataka State NPS employees' union, expressed solidarity with the demands to restore the old pension scheme. He highlighted that other states like Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have already discontinued the NPS and reverted to the old pension scheme. Teja argued that canceling the NPS in Karnataka would free up a significant amount of approximately Rs 19,000 crore, which could be redirected towards the government's development programs. He further explained that Rs 9,000 crore from employees' contributions could be converted to the GPF, while the remaining Rs 10,000 crore from the government's share could be utilized for development initiatives.
Representatives from various employee associations, including the Primary School Teachers Association, the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL), the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), as well as associations from the Revenue and Health departments, were present during the meeting with the Chief Minister.
The decision to restore the old pension scheme in Karnataka would have significant implications for government employees and their future retirement plans. As the cabinet prepares for discussions in the coming days, the employees eagerly await the outcome, hopeful that their long-standing demand for the OPS will be fulfilled, ensuring their financial security and well-being after years of dedicated service.