Do not rely on the stock market. One opposition-ruled state after another has announced the return of the old pension scheme, meeting the demands of guaranteed pensions for state government employees. In poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, the demand for the return of the old pension scheme of state government employees has become one of the main issues in the elections. But yesterday in Himachal, the Modi government’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman argued that it is not possible to hand over the funds accumulated in the new pension scheme to the state government. Although he did not say it directly, he hinted that even if the old pension is announced in the Congress-ruled state, it is not legally possible.
Voting of Himachal
Voting for the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections on Saturday. The voting campaign ended yesterday, Thursday. State government employees in Himachal are agitating for the return of the old pension scheme. Keeping that demand in front, Congress has promised that the old pension scheme will be returned if it returns to power after defeating the BJP. While campaigning on the last day yesterday, Congress’s Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that a guaranteed pension of a certain amount is the right of government employees.
Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Hemant Saren’s Jharkhand, and UP-ruled Punjab have already announced the return of the old pension scheme. Along with this, the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have demanded from the Modi government that the money deposited in the pension fund of the government employees of their state should be handed over to the state.
Yesterday Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went to Shimla for the last day of campaigning in Himachal for BJP. Responding to the Congress demand, he said, “The money in the new pension scheme or NPS fund cannot be returned to the state government. It is the employees’ money. It can be returned to them individually. It cannot be returned to any organization. Can’t.” The finance minister said, “I am not bringing politics here. I am talking about the law.”
After Sitharaman’s comments, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Old pension is protection. A promise. Not a transaction like a new pension. Congress will restore old trust to senior citizens of Himachal.” A movement has been going on in Himachal for a long time demanding the return of the old pension guarantee. Realizing that Congress is trying to use that opportunity in the elections, the Chief Minister of the BJP government of Himachal Jairam Thakur said yesterday that the Congress is playing politics on pension.
At the end of the Vajpayee government’s tenure, on January 1, 2004, the old pension scheme for central government employees was abolished and a new pension scheme was introduced. Then all the states one by one walk toward the center. The only exception is West Bengal. Yesterday, Priyanka Himachal said, “BJP took away the financial security of the elderly people of the country by giving away the new pension system. Congress will bring back the old pension system if it comes to power not only in Himachal but also in Gujarat.”