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No Proposal To Restore Old Pension For Central Govt Employees: MoS Finance Pankaj Chaudhary

There are 67.95 lakh central government pensioners, and defence constitutes the highest share, with around 33.87 lakh.

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PTI
December 12, 2023
Retirement Plan At 30

Retirement Plan At 30

There are over 67.95 lakh central government pensioners, including defence pensioners, as of March 31, 2023, the finance ministry said on Monday. A lot of buzz was created on the restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), to which MoS Finance Pankaj Chaudhary confirmed that there were no considerations and No Proposal To Restore Old Pension Scheme. Let’s understand this in detail. 

As per the data compiled and furnished by Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare on the basis of database maintained by Central Pension Accounting Office, Controller General of Defence Accounts, Ministry of Railways, Department of Telecommunication and Department of Posts, the total number of central government pensioners as on March 31, 2023, is 67,95,449, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said in the Lok Sabha. 

The number of civil and defence pensioners stood at close to 11.42 lakh and over 33.87 lakh, respectively. The number of telecom and postal pensioners stood at over 4.38 lakh and 3.01 lakh, respectively. 

Railway pensioners stood at over 15.25 lakh as of March 2023. 

In regards to No Proposal To Restore Old Pension For Central Govt Employees, a question was asked to which, Chaudhary said, “No such proposal is under consideration”. 

A committee has been set up under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary to look into the issue of pensions under the National Pension System (NPS) in respect of government employees and to, inter alia, examine whether in the light of the existing framework and structure of the National Pension System, as applicable to government employees, any changes therein are warranted. 

He further said the state governments of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh had informed the central government/ Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) about their decision to revert to the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) for their state government employees.  

“These State Governments have requested withdrawal/ refund of contribution along with return thereon. However, the Government of Punjab has also informed the Government of India that it continues to pay staff and Government contributions to the NPS,” Chaudhary said. 

There is no provision under the PFRDA Act, 2013, and other relevant regulations, vide which the accumulated corpus of the subscribers viz. government contribution, employees’ contribution towards NPS, along with accruals, can be refunded and deposited back to the state governments, he added. 

Under the OPS, retired government employees received 50 per cent of their last drawn salary as monthly pensions. The amount keeps increasing with the hike in the DA rates. OPS is not fiscally sustainable as it is not contributory, and the burden on the exchequer keeps on mounting. 

NPS has been implemented for all government employees except those in the armed forces joining the central government on or after January 1, 2004. Most of the state/ Union Territory governments have also notified the NPS of their new employees. 

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