On 1 October 2023, the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi was witness to a huge gathering of employees of the Central government and 20 state governments seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme or OPS. The rally which saw participation from thousands of employees— who were worried about their future after retirement —was organised under the aegis of the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS) and National Joint Council of Action (NJCA).
Employees whose service began post 2004 are not in favour of the New Pension Scheme, as the scheme has been imposed on them making them lose out on the benefits of the OPS.
Many states such as Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have already restored the OPS. In fact, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has posted on social media that Rajasthan restored OPS on compassionate grounds and that even the National Human Rights Commission has raised concerns over the NPS. Gehlot questions how and why the Army, the Navy and the Air Force enjoy benefits of OPS, while the paramilitary forces, such as BSF, CISF, and CRPF do not.
As per the OPS, government employees are eligible for a monthly pension equivalent to 50 per cent of their last-drawn salary. No contribution is required from the employees. Under the NPS, however, state government employees have to put in 10 per cent of their basic salary + dearness allowance (DA), while the state government matches that contribution. This amount is then invested in an approved pension fund.