Guwahati, November 27: Lakhs of Assam government employees on Monday resolved to intensify their agitation demanding the restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
Leaders of opposition political parties and prominent personalities of the state have also lent their support to the demand of the government employees, claiming that adequate pension is a right of the workers.
The decision was taken at a meeting organised by the All Assam Government NPS Employees Association (AAGNPSEA) and supported by the Joint Coordination Committee for OPS Assam and the Joint Forum for Restoration of OPS Assam here, a release said.
The AAGNPSEA, along with other workers’ bodies and unions, have been carrying out phased agitations for the restoration of OPS in the state.
Among the resolutions adopted at the meeting was the demand to cancel the National Pension System (NPS) and to provide pensions to all workers, employees and teachers of the state government under the OPS.
The meeting also demanded the repeal of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act (PFRDA) Act, 2013, immediately.
The Act seeks the establishment of an authority to promote old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds to protect the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds.
The agitators said that clauses of NPS are included in the PFRDA Act, 2013, and without the repeal of this legislation, employees will face problems even if any state government reverts to OPS.
The release said the conference also decided to intensify the struggle for the benefit of the working class if the state and central governments do not take a positive stance to their demands.
Speaking at the meeting, author and professor of Gauhati University Akhil Ranjan Dutta said that the economic and social reins of a country should never be handed to those at the top of the income bracket.
He maintained that the socio-economic discourse of the country is currently determined by 1 per cent of the populace, who top the list of the richest people.
Dutta claimed that the interest of the workers is not safeguarded when the power centres only with those who have financial power of their own.
Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, in his speech, said the conglomerate of 15 opposition political parties of the state, including the Congress, has lent its support to the demand for restoration of OPS.
He added that the movement demanding the OPS should reach every nook and corner of the country as it has a bearing on the lives of every worker.
CPI(M) leader Isfaqur Rahman pledged the support of his party, which is a part of the conglomerate, for restoring OPS and said those demanding NPS should be publicly condemned.
Most of the people who have retired under the NPS are getting pensions of Rs 500, Rs 600 or Rs 1,000 or a maximum of Rs 3,000 a month, AAGNPSEA president Achyutananda Hazarika had earlier claimed.
He also claimed that Assam has around five lakh government employees, of whom around 3.5 lakh are under the NPS. (PTI)