Shimla: Presided over the Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu the cabinet at its first meeting earlier today approved the contentious Old Pension Scheme (OPS) for a the about 1.36 Lakh employees who were covered under the contributory pension scheme also referred to as the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
Employee pensions was a hot issue in the recently concluded Himachal assembly election and the Congress party had flagged it as top priority in its election manifesto.
The cabinet also decided to adopt Congress Party Election Manifesto as the policy document of the Government that would be implemented in letter and spirit.
Fulfilled the promise made in Election Manifesto : Sukhu
Speaking to the media the chief minister Sukhu termed the OPS cabinet decision as historic as it would ensure “NPS employees to live a respectable life after retirement.”
“Aim of the government is to provide social security to all,” he said. Affordability of OPS expenditure will be achieved through financial discipline and cutting down on expenses and the Government believes that there is no such thing that cannot be done, he added.
Himachal In A Debt Trap
Accusing the previous BJP Government of pushing the state into a heavy debt trap of over Rs. 75000 crore, the Chief Minister said that due to the financial mismanagement and wasteful expenditure by the previous BJP Government, the state has inherited financial liabilities of Rs. 4430 crore as salary arrears to its employees and Rs. 5226 crore as liabilities of pensioners as pension arrears.
In addition to this, liabilities of about Rs. 1000 crore as DA of employees and pensioners are due that have left behind by the previous Government. The BJP Government before demitting office has left behind a total financial burden of about Rs. 11,000 crore on the state exchequer. he added.
Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the Centre Government has over Rs. 8000 crore as share of NPS employees. Despite all odds, the state Government has decided to provide old pension scheme to NPS employees so as to secure their retired life.
BJP Opened – Upgraded 900 Institutions With An Eye On Winning The Elections – Sukhu
The Chief Minister said that the previous BJP Government in the fag-end of its tenure announced opening and upgradation of about 900 institutions in the State with an eye on the general elections. He said that all these institutions were opened and upgraded with a sole motive to woo voters without any budget provision and irrational thinking.
He said that the State Government has decided to wind up such institutions and all these would be reviewed and if found to be viable and required would be opened after making proper budgetary provisions. He said that it would require another Rs. 5000 crore if all these institutions were to be made functional.
Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, Health Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil, Industries Minister Harshwardhan Chauhan, Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi, Education Minister Rohit Thakur, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sanjay Awasthy, Principal Advisor Media to the Chief Minister Naresh Chauhan, Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Bharat Khera, Secretary Finance Dr. Akshay Sood, Director Information and Public Relations Kiran Bhadana were also present on the occasion.