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HomeExclusivePunjab Cabinet to take call on old pension scheme tomorrow

Punjab Cabinet to take call on old pension scheme tomorrow

All eyes on Centre over returning pension corpus

Chandigarh, November 16

The state government is all set to issue a notification for the implementation of the old pension scheme, after getting it approved from the Council of Ministers in their meeting scheduled on Friday. This notification is being issued just in time — before the elections to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha are held.

Wary of “politically motivated” employees trying to create hurdles in the ruling party’s chances of success at the hustings in Gujarat, where AAP is testing political waters, the state government has decided to issue the notification immediately. The party believes that this will help it in getting more votes in the western state.

Though the government had announced that it would go for the old pension scheme last month, the details of how they proposed to implement the scheme are now being worked out by the state Finance Department.

Sources say the real challenge lies in getting the

Rs 17,000 crore corpus deposited with the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority back, to help revert to the old pension scheme. This corpus has been raised with the contribution made by employees (10 per cent of their salary) and the employer — the state government — which contributes 14 per cent of the salary towards pension.

“We will have to urge the Centre to refund the money, but it is their discretion when and how they will do so. The switchover to the old pension scheme is dependent on this,” said a senior functionary in the Finance Department.

Punjab was among the first states to have switched over to the New Pension Scheme in 2004. When the scheme was initially rolled out, it was not mandatory for all states to join.

Official sources say there are no immediate financial implications of the rollout of the scheme as the New Pension Scheme came into force only from April 1, 2004. As a result, those covered under the scheme will retire 2032 onwards.

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