Parliament Budget Session: Amid the ongoing second leg of the Parliament Budget Session, the government, on Friday, announced that a committee under the finance secretary will be set up to improve the New Pension System (NPS). According to the information the step is being taken with a view to take care of the concerns of employees while maintaining fiscal prudence.
While moving the Finance Bill 2023 for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the new approach to the NPS will be designed for adoption by both central and state governments.
The committee will be tasked to address employees’ needs
“I propose to set up a committee under the finance secretary to look into the issue of pensions and evolve an approach which addresses the needs of employees while maintaining fiscal prudence to protect common citizens. The approach will be designed for adoption by both the central government and state governments,” she said.
The decision comes in the backdrop of several non-BJP states deciding to revert to the DA-linked Old Pension Scheme (OPS) and also employee organisations in some other states raising demand for the same.
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Several states reintroduce Old Pension Scheme
The state governments of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have informed the Centre about their decision to revert to the Old Pension Scheme and have requested a refund of the corpus accumulated under the NPS.
Earlier this month, the central government informed Parliament that it is not considering any proposal to restore the OPS in respect of the central government employees recruited after January 1, 2004.
Under the OPS, retired government employees received 50 per cent of their last drawn salary as monthly pensions. The amount keeps increasing with hike in the DA rates.
OPS is not fiscally sustainable as it is not contributory in nature and the burden on the exchequer keeps on mounting.
The total assets under management under the National Pension System and Atal Pension Yojana stood at Rs 8.81 lakh crore as on March 4, 2023.
NPS implemented with effect from January 2004
It is worth mentioning here that NPS has been implemented for all government employees except those in the armed forces joining the central government on or after the 1st of January 2004. Most of the state/ Union Territory governments have also notified the NPS for their new employees. NPS has been made available to every Indian citizen from May 1, 2009, on a voluntary basis.
(With inputs from PTI)