Thousands of Class 2 and Class 3 State and Central Government officers from Thane District staged a cycle rally to protest against the new pension scheme and demanded the government to reinstate the old pension scheme retirement.
Employees, both men and women, attended the busy Jambli Naka market in large numbers on Wednesday under the aegis of the Central Employees Association of Maharashtra, Thane branch.
Employees claimed that the governments of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan reinstated the old pension after massive protests from government employees.
The rally started around noon from Zilla Parishad’s office in the market and ended at the Thane Collector’s office after an hour.
The old pension scheme was replaced in December 2003 by the BJP-led central government when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister. Its replacement, the National Pension Scheme (NPS), came into effect on April 1, 2004. The NPS allows state employees to decide where they want to invest their money by making regular contributions to a retirement account throughout their career. After retirement, they can withdraw part of the pension amount in a lump sum and use the rest to purchase an annuity for regular income.
One rally participant, Ratan Lokhande, said: “With the old pension scheme, we knew how much we would get after retirement, which was half of our current salary. But, in the new pension plan, after investing part of our salary in the market, the assurance of returns is different. Recently, a class 3 government agent was only assigned to ₹500 annuities. How will he manage his expenses? There is no assurance of a pension amount after spending so much time in a government job. If other state governments can reinstate the old pension scheme, then why not the government of Maharashtra? »
An officer from the collector’s office said their requests will be forwarded to the state government.