The state govt. led by new Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has restored Old Pension Scheme in Himachal Pradesh. On 13 January 2023, CM reversed changes to the pension programme for government employees. This was a popular demand from general public to stop new pension scheme and restore the older version of pension in HP state.
HP Old Pension Scheme Latest Update
The Old Pension Scheme (OPS) would be restored from April 1, 2023 in Himachal Pradesh, benefitting 1.36 lakh employees who will no longer be required to faced deductions under the National Pension Scheme (NPS). A notification regarding implementation of the OPS was issued by the Chief Secretary on 17 April 2023 (Monday). It said according to the cabinet decision for implementation of the old pension scheme, the contributions of the state government employees (employee’s and employer’s share) covered under the National Pension System shall be stopped with effect from April 1, 2023.
Restoration of OPS was one of the main promises made by the Congress in the 2022 assembly polls and a decision in this regard was taken at the first meeting of the Cabinet on January 13, 2023.
Restoration of Old Pension Scheme in Himachal Pradesh
Here are some of the most notable points regarding restoration of old pension scheme in himachal pradesh state.
- Before the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections in November 2022, Congress party had promised to restore the so-called Old Pension Scheme (OPS) in its first cabinet meeting. This was a popular demand that would affect some 1.36 lakh people and was seen as a key reason for the BJP’s defeat.
- The order regarding old pension scheme in himachal pradesh was effective immediately with benefits rolling out from Lohri festival in the year 2023. CM termed it as a “Lohri gift” to honour workers who have helped in the development of Himachal Pradesh.
- “The matter has been studied in depth and despite some reservations by finance officers, the issue has been settled and all the employees under the New Pension Scheme would be covered under OPS,” CM quoted.
- The cost to implement the OPS for this year will be about Rs. 800 to Rs. 900 crore, which would be offset with measures like a Rs. 3 hike in Value Added Tax or VAT on diesel.
- CM said the government would also fulfill the promise of providing Rs. 1,500 per month to women. A panel of ministers has been formed “to prepare a roadmap for women empowerment scheme within 30 days”.
- A committee has also been formed to execute the promise of creating one lakh jobs.
- CM attacked the opposition (BJP), saying that the state is under a debt of Rs. 75,000 crore because of the “financial mismanagement and wasteful expenditure” by the previous government.
- “Hard decisions will have to be taken as the government cannot run under huge debt,” CM said.
- The Old Pension Scheme had been a key demand of many employees who joined government service from January 1, 2004, and were covered by a reformed programme that came to be known as the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
- Before Himachal Pradesh, a reversal to the Old Pension Scheme had been announced by Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Punjab. While celebrations broke out in several areas after Mr Sukhu’s announcement, state BJP chief Suresh Kashyap accused the government of misleading government employees.
- The new scheme was a long due change because the OPS, designed after independence, had no funding plan – there was no corpus for the scheme and the liability was set to grow continuously. Under NPS, government staff had to contribute a part of their salary for retirement benefits.
- While under the old system employees with 20 years of service used to get 50 per cent of their last drawn salary as pension, under the NPS, the government and employees had to contribute 10 and 14 per cent of the salary respectively towards a pension fund.
Source / Reference link: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-big-move-himachal-restores-old-pension-scheme-10-points-3690246