Ajit Pawar says will reconsider his stand against old pension scheme

Under the OPS, a government employee gets a monthly pension equivalent to 50 per cent his/her last drawn salary.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said his earlier stand against the old pension scheme has changed and he would reconsider it positively and added that the state government wants to strike a balance between salaries, pension amount and its burden on the state’s finances.

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Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Pawar said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and he have already held a primary discussion over the issue of the old pension scheme (OPS).

Notably, several government and semi-government employees in Maharashtra have been demanding restoration of the OPS, which was discontinued in the state in 2005.

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Under the OPS, a government employee gets a monthly pension equivalent to 50 per cent his/her last drawn salary. There was no need for contribution by employees.

Under the New Pension Scheme, a state government employee contributes 10 per cent of his/her basic salary plus dearness allowance with the state making a matching contribution. The money is then invested in one of the several pension funds approved by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and the returns are market-linked.

Pawar said, “Devendra Fadnavis had expressed his opposition to the OPS, I had also said similar things during a session when I was the finance minister of the state in the past. However as per my information, the Centre is thinking of addressing this pending issue which will benefit the people financially.”

The (central) government is working seriously on this issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls (due next year). The eligible people will get financial benefits from the year 2021, he said.

Asked if the change in stand came after the BJP suffered a jolt in the MLC polls in the state (held earlier this year in which opposition MVA won 3 out of 5 seats), Pawar said, “Of course, it is one of the key reasons. If a decision is hurting people, then we as politicians don’t do it.”

“Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and I have already held a primary discussion over the issue of the OPS. We want to strike a balance between the salaries, pension amount and its burden on the state’s coffers,” he said.

Nowadays, people from the young generation do not take care of their parents, Pawar said.

Parents need to make financial arrangements for their post-retirement life because children go abroad, settle their and enjoy life. They do not take care of their parents, he said.

Asked why he was not taking care of his 83-year-old uncle (NCP president Sharad Pawar), Ajit Pawar said, “This is exactly my point. I am asking him to take rest but he is not listening to me.”

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