Last Updated: September 14, 2022, 23:42 IST
The Congress on Wednesday said it will implement the old pension scheme in Himachal Pradesh within 10 days if voted to power after the upcoming assembly elections. All India Congress Committee (AICC) member Sohan Lal Thakur said that the implementation of the old pension scheme was on top priority among 10 pre-poll guarantees recently announced by the party.
It will benefit three lakh employees and their families, he added. Also a senior vice president of Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Thakur further stated that National Pension Scheme (NPS) had been implemented in the state in 2004 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister.
Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government in the state then had to implement the NPS under pressure as at that time none of the employees demanded to remain in the old pension scheme, the Congress leader claimed. Now, the employees have felt that NPS is not to their benefit so they are demanding to restore the old scheme, he added. Interestingly, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said last month that his government had taken up the matter of restoring the old pension scheme with the Centre. The CM had also stated that it was the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government that implemented the NPS after withdrawing the old scheme in 2004.
He said he believed Singh had withdrawn the old scheme after due consideration and that some of the incumbent Congress MLAs were in his council of ministers at the time. Had Congress been serious in restoring the old pension scheme, it would have done so when the Singh-led government came back to power in 2012, the BJP leader had added. The government employees under the banner of the New Pension Scheme Karamchari Mahasangh (NPSKM) have been holding agitation for months for the restoration of the old scheme in Himachal Pradesh.
The old pension scheme, under which the entire pension amount was given by the government, was discontinued in the country on April 1, 2004. According to the new scheme, employees contribute 10 per cent of their salary towards pension while the state government contributes 14 per cent.