New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh government, headed by chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, on Friday, January 13, restored the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) – one of the major poll promises of the Congress party in the run-up to the Assembly elections.
Describing it as a “historic decision”, Sukhu told the media in Shimla that the decision would benefit over 1.36 lakh government employees currently under New Pension Scheme (NPS)
Sukhu said the decision to reinstate OPS is to ensure that NPS employees live a respectable life after retirement, and the decision was made “based on social security and humanity”.
He said the affordability of OPS expenditure will be achieved through financial discipline and cutting down on government expenses.
Sukhu said that a Cabinet sub-committee had already been constituted to finalise the roadmap for implementation of the promises made by the Congress Party during the elections for creating one lakh employment opportunities in the state.
Another cabinet sub-committee had also been constituted for finalising the roadmap for the implementation of the promises made by the Congress Party during the election campaign for granting Rs 1,500 monthly to women in the age group of 18 to 60 years, he said.
He accused the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of leaving behind a heavy debt trap of over Rs 75,000 crore. The “financial mismanagement and wasteful expenditure” by the previous BJP government had resulted in the state inheriting liabilities to the tune of Rs 4,430 crore, and the government yet to clear the arrears to the tune of Rs 5,226 crore to its employees, he added.
“In this way, the previous BJP government had left behind a total financial burden of about Rs 11,000 crore on the state,” he added.
The OPS was a major poll issue in Himachal Pradesh. The Congress had promised to restore it if the party wins the Assembly polls. The OPS, under which the entire pension amount was given by the government, was discontinued in the country on April 1, 2004.