The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the labour arm associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), orchestrated a compelling protest at Jantar Mantar today, rallying for the restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) while vehemently advocating the abolishment of the current New Pension Scheme (NPS).
In a massive show of solidarity spurred by the Government Employees National Confederation (GENC), a constituent unit of the BMS, a multitude of employees representing diverse sectors including railways, defense, postal services, central government agencies, and local bodies converged at the venue to voice their dissent.
The rallying cry of the protestors encompassed three crucial demands directed at the government: firstly, the reinstatement of a guaranteed pension, pegged at a minimum of 50% of the last basic pay; secondly, the provision of dearness relief to offset the impact of rising prices; and lastly, an assurance of revising pensions in alignment with the recommendations from subsequent Central Pay Commissions (CPC).
Leading the charge were prominent figures including Vipan Kumar Dogra, Vice President of GENC; Hiranmay Pandya, All-India President of BMS; and Ravindra Himte, General Secretary of BMS, who presided over the demonstration.
In impassioned speeches addressing the assembled crowd, the speakers highlighted their concerns, underscoring the government's decision to discontinue the Old Pension Scheme starting from January 1, 2004, replacing it with the defined contributory pension scheme, NPS.
This transformation, initially set in motion through an ordinance on December 22, 2003, attained legal legitimacy with the enactment of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill in September 2013. Since its inception, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and its affiliated federations and unions have vehemently opposed the NPS, denouncing it as an uncertain, market-dependent contributory pension scheme.
Before its cessation on January 1, 2004, the Old Pension Scheme ensured a guaranteed non-contributory pension, guaranteeing that 50% of the last salary would constitute the pension upon retirement. Moreover, the scheme was intricately tied to the price index, resulting in the disbursal of dearness allowance twice a year, in January and July.
Employees, feeling dispossessed of their rightful pensions under the guise of social security, now implore the Government of India (GoI) to abolish the New Pension Scheme and reinstate the Old Pension Scheme, ensuring a secured financial future for retirees across various sectors.