“Pension Rights Maharally” in Delhi: Government Employees Rally for Old Pension Scheme Reinstatement

In a resounding show of unity and determination, government employee unions converged in Delhi for the “Pension Rights Maharally,” a monumental event orchestrated by the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS)/National Joint Council of Action (NJCA). The rally, held at Ramlila Maidan on August 10, reverberated with the fervent call for the reinstatement of the Old Pension Scheme.

Diverse in representation yet united in purpose, the rally drew participants from various sectors, including central and state departments, railways, public sector undertakings (PSUs), teaching professionals, defense personnel, and ex-paramilitary personnel from all corners of the nation. The sheer scale of participation underscored the collective concern surrounding the pension scheme issue.

Addressing the media amidst the rally, Shiv Gopal Mishra, the NJCA’s national convener and general secretary of the All India Railway Men’s Federation (AIRF), articulated the discontent of employees who entered government service after January 1, 2004. Their discontent stemmed from their steadfast opposition to the New Pension Scheme (NPS). The crux of their dissatisfaction lies in the uncertainty that the NPS introduces into employees’ retirement plans, a stark contrast to the security offered by the Old Pension Scheme.

Mishra highlighted the far-reaching implications of the New Pension Scheme, putting the financial well-being and post-retirement life of millions of employees at stake. This grave concern propelled the establishment of the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS)/NJCA, a coalition that has employed diverse forms of protest, from state-level demonstrations to torch processions at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

With unwavering determination to reclaim the Old Pension Scheme, the unions have pursued their cause by presenting memorandums to district officials, governors, cabinet secretaries, and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These appeals serve as poignant reminders of the weightiness of the issue and its potential ramifications on the lives of employees.

Mishra, as a representative of the unions, emphasized the inherent right of employees who dedicate their professional lives to serve their country and organization. He stressed that denying them adequate support in their retirement years is a violation of this fundamental right. Urging the government to promptly reinstate the Old Pension Scheme, Mishra warned that failure to address this demand could lead to a nationwide strike, a “Bharat Bandh,” bringing the nation to a standstill. He made it clear that the government would bear sole responsibility for the consequences of such an eventuality.