By: ML Verma
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government, facing a burden of Rs 1298.70 crore on account of releasing pensionary benefits and related liability of its employee on state exchequer, now would contemplating on adopting a more pragmatic view to give this benefits to entitled employees. State Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was replying to a query raised by Yog Raj(Cong. Pragpur) during question hours in assembly said this, adding that the state government would take pragmatic steps instead of being populist in order to strike a balance over increasing burden on state exchequer.
Dhumal said that the 13th Finance Commission has recommended Rs 600 crore less for distribution of salaries and giving pensionary benefits to employees as it has fixed Rs 3,800 core slab on account of salary and other benefits for employees of Himachal Pradesh instead of Rs 4,400 crore, the earlier amount. He said the government is following the provisions of new contributory pension scheme implemented on May 5, 2003, in the state, which suggests that 10 per cent of deductions would take place from the employees’ GPF funds for pensionary benefit of employees. The Chief Minister said that the center government has proposed new pensionary schemes to all citizens, in which people between age group of 18 to 55 years are entitled for the schemes known as Citizen Pension Scheme.
He said that a line should be drawn for awarding pensions to beneficiaries and daily wagers who are being regularized in government services during the later stage of their life and require minimum span of job for entitling them for pensionary benefits. He said that about 362 daily wagers employees were retired without getting pensionary benefit due to their insufficient regular service period.
He said the state government would appeal in the Supreme Court if the court’s decisions would go in favour of employees who are seeking pensionary benefits on old pension scheme and opposing new contributory pensions. He said that the burden of pensions are annually increasing on the state exchequer and the state government incurring Rs 126 crore in 1998-99 is now spending Rs 1,300 crore annually.