Published By: Poorva Joshi
Last Updated: March 15, 2023, 10:08 IST
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (File Photo: PTI)
Lakhs of state government employees went on an indefinite strike from Tuesday seeking restoration of the OPS
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday urged state government staffers, who have gone on an indefinite strike seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), to call off their agitation, stressing that the government was positive and sympathetic about their demand.
Speaking in the Assembly, Shinde said one can take an extreme step when there is no scope for a discussion, but in the present case the government is ready for talks with agitating employees as any decision on the pension scheme will have financial implications.
“I request them (government employees) to hold a discussion and withdraw the strike. They have to think and discuss the issue with the government and withdraw the strike in view of problems being faced by people,” he said.
Lakhs of state government employees went on an indefinite strike from Tuesday seeking restoration of the OPS, a defined pension scheme offering 50 per cent of the last drawn salary, hampering functioning of various services and facilities at hospitals.
He said there was a lot of time for employees who have joined service after 2005, when the National Pension System (NPS) was introduced in place of the OPS, to retire.
“You can decide to go on a strike whenever you want. But it is not necessary to go on a strike today. We also told them (employee associations) that those who will retire before a decision is taken (by the government on OPS) will get full benefits,” the CM said.
The new pension scheme was implemented in the state on November 1, 2005.
Shinde said his government is committed to ensure employees get a dignified and secured life post-retirement.
“But it is necessary to think about all available options before implementing the Old Pension Scheme and this has been brought to the notice of all employees,” he said.
The CM said after a meeting with employee associations on Monday a decision was taken to form a committee to study the new and old pension schemes. The panel will submit its report in the next three months.
“The government will take a sympathetic view (of employees demand for OPS). There are financial implications of whatever decisions we take and it has to be well thought about. The government has not taken any negative view (of the demand) and a solution will only come through dialogue,” he said.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)