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Government Employee Unions Rally for Pension Rights in Delhi

Government employee unions have organized a massive rally in Delhi, named the “Pension Rights Maharally,” to voice their demand for the reinstatement of the Old Pension Scheme. The rally was orchestrated by the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS)/National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), representing central and state departments’ employees. The event took place at Ramlila Maidan on August 10.

Wide Participation

The rally garnered participation from a diverse range of employees, including those from central and state departments, railways, public sector undertakings (PSUs), teaching professionals, defense personnel, and ex-paramilitary personnel from across the nation. This significant turnout highlighted the widespread concern regarding the pension scheme issue.

Critique of New Pension Scheme (NPS)

Shiv Gopal Mishra, the NJCA’s national convener and the general secretary of All India Railway Men’s Federation (AIRF), addressed the media during the rally. He emphasized the dissatisfaction among employees who entered government service after January 1, 2004, due to their strong opposition to the New Pension Scheme (NPS). The primary contention lies in the uncertainty faced by employees under the NPS upon retirement, contrasting with the more secure Old Pension Scheme.

Jeopardized Future and Old Age Support

Mishra underscored that the introduction of the New Pension Scheme has put the future and old age support of millions of employees at risk. This concern prompted the establishment of the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS)/NJCA. The group’s efforts have encompassed various forms of protests, from demonstrations at the state level to torch processions at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

Appeals and Memorandums

In their pursuit of reclaiming the Old Pension Scheme, the unions have presented memorandums to district officials, governors, cabinet secretaries, and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These appeals aim to draw attention to the gravity of the matter and the potential ramifications on employees’ lives.

Demands and Warnings

Mishra expressed the unions’ viewpoint, asserting that employees who dedicate their careers to the service of their organization and country should not be denied adequate support in their old age. He characterized this as a fundamental right and urged the government to promptly reinstate the Old Pension Scheme. Mishra also cautioned that if the government fails to respond to their demand, the unions could resort to a “Bharat Bandh” (nationwide strike), which would bring the entire nation to a halt. In such a scenario, he emphasized that the government would bear sole responsibility for the consequences.

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