Belgaum: Scores of government employees on Wednesday took to streets in Karnataka’s Belgaum city to protest against the New Pension Scheme (NPS) and demanded that it should be scrapped.
Thousands of agitating employees also pressed for the earliest renewal of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
The protest was held in Kondaskoppa area of the city, opposite the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (State Assembly) where the winter session of the Karnataka Assembly is in session.
The protesters believe that under the new scheme they are receiving less benefits as compared to the old scheme.
Speaking to ANI, Roopa, state organising secretary said that there is dire need to roll back the new scheme as the other states have had also taken up this issue into consideration and implemented the old scheme. “The state government should correct this disparity as other states have already opted to OPS.
NPS, a government-sponsored pension scheme, was launched in the year 2004 for government employees. It was opened to all sections in 2009.
The NPS was introduced, primarily for Central Government employees.
This protest was launched just two days after the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced that the central government’s contribution to the National Pension System will be enhanced to 14 per cent from the current 10 per cent. The minimum employee contribution stands at 10 per cent.
While speaking to media in New Delhi on Monday, Jaitley asserted that this “new move will increase the eventual accumulated corpus of all central government employees covered under NPS. It will also provide greater pension payouts after retirement without any additional burden on the employee.”
The Union Minister also added that the 7th pay commission had recommended the constitution of a committee of secretaries to examine NPS rules for government employees and subsequently the government had held an inter-ministerial consultation after the panel of secretaries gave their recommendations for the changes.
At present, the new entrants to the central government service on or after January 1, 2004 are covered under the NPS. Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority regulates and implements the NPS.
“Tax exemption limit for lump sum withdrawal on exit has been enhanced to 60 per cent,” said Jaitley and added “the entire withdrawal will now be exempt from income tax.”
In his concluding the Union Finance minister had also stated, “out of 60 per cent of the accumulated corpus withdrawn by the NPS subscriber at the time of retirement, 40 per cent is tax exempt and balance 20 per cent is taxable.