New Delhi: An application has been filed in the Bombay high court seeking immediate withdrawal of the ongoing strike of the Maharashtra state government employees over the restoration of the old pension scheme.
The state government employees, including sanitation workers, teachers, and hospital staff, declared an indefinite strike from March 14, seeking restoration of the old pension scheme that was scrapped in 2005.
According to news agency PTI, the application, filed by advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, said the strike has affected health services at government-run hospitals and education in schools and colleges.
“Not getting the treatment well in time and postponement of surgeries due to the strike is against Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.
It claimed that the strike overlapped with the Class 10 and 12 board examinations.
It said that the strike is illegal and against the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act, 2023 (MESMA), LiveLaw reported.
The case is likely to be heard on Friday, March 17.
On March 13, the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government decided to set up a committee to study the implications of reintroducing the old pension scheme.
Shinde and his deputy, Devendra Fadnavis, had also urged the government employees to call of their strike.
The Print reported that around 17 lakh government employees in Maharashtra went on an indefinite strike on March 14, demanding a return to the old pension scheme.
OPS vs NPS
Under the old pension scheme, the amount of monthly pension is equal to half of the last salary drawn by an individual.
However, NPS is a contributory pension scheme under which employees contribute 10% of their salary (basic + dearness allowance). The government contributes 14% towards the employees’ NPS accounts.
In the OPS, it’s predetermined how much pension an employee will get linked to her last drawn salary and length of service. Basically, the liability is put on the government.
NPS, on the other hand, is a market-linked savings product that has a defined contribution.
NPS allows an individual to invest in three types of funds – safe, or conservative (allowing up to 10% investment in equity), balanced, or moderate (up to 30% in equity), and growth, aggressive (up to 50% in equity). The balance would be invested in corporate bonds or government securities. The volatility of NPS is usually compensated by the debt segment of the National Pension System.
For example, in the case of OPS, if a government employee’s basic monthly salary at the time of retirement was Rs 10,000, she would be assured of a pension of Rs 5,000. Additionally, the monthly pension increases with hikes in dearness allowance announced by the government for serving employees.
However, in the case of the NPS, the pension benefit is determined by factors such as the amount of contribution made, the age of joining, the type of investment, and the income drawn from that investment.
Private employees can also choose to contribute to NPS.