Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Friday decided to restore the old pension scheme for its employees, with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann terming it a Diwali gift for the state staff.
In another decision, the state Cabinet decided to give six per cent dearness allowance (DA) to employees and pensioners, with effect from October 1 this year, a statement said.
The statement said the employees will be given the option of adopting the old pension scheme or the current one.
“We have taken an in-principle decision to this effect in a cabinet meeting. This will benefit lakhs of employees,” he said while adding that modalities of the old pension scheme for the employees will be worked out.
The restoration of the old pension scheme, which was discontinued in 2004, has been a major demand of state government employees.
The state government’s decision has come ahead of the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly polls, where AAP is trying its luck and promised to restore the old pension scheme for state government employees if voted to power.
Mann said the employee’s demand has been met now and it’s a Diwali gift for them.
“Arvind Kejriwal has told that what we say, we will have to deliver,” said Mann. “We are fulfilling the promises we are making,” he added.
Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said employees will be given the option to join the old pension scheme.
State’s Housing and Urban Development Minister said “historic decisions” have been taken by the government for benefit of its employees.
The official statement said the pension decision will benefit lakhs of employees and pensioners.
The Council of Ministers opined that the employees are a critical segment of the state administration and safeguarding their interests was the government’s top priority, it added.