Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Employees In Punjab On Protest Against AAP Calling ‘Pol Khol’ Rallies

One of the Aam Aadmi Party’s main electoral pledges in Punjab this past February was to bring back the previous pension programme within the first month of taking office. Despite Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s statement in September that the party was “considering” bringing the plan back, it has been seven months and is still in the discussion stage.

37 employee unions have been protesting since October 10 calling for the expediting of the procedure. They intend to take their protest to Himachal Pradesh, which is going to the polls, where the AAP has promised to put it into effect within three months if elected.

Employees and Punjab Education Minister Harjot Bains, who is also in charge of the party’s Himachal Pradesh elections, met on Wednesday, but no agreement was reached. The strike has been prolonged till October 26 from its original date of October 19th.

The AAP administration misled us with similar promises, according to Sukhjeet Singh, president of the Contributory Pension Fund Employees Union (CPFEU), which is organising the walkout. Nothing has occurred to this point. Since October 10, we have been on strike. The government doesn’t care. Beginning on October 29, we want to hold ‘pol khol’ rallies in each of Himachal Pradesh’s electoral districts.

Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister and leader of the AAP, was “believed,” according to Singh, when he said during the campaign that “he had done marvels in Delhi. Now Bhagwant Mann and Kejriwal are making false claims about Punjab as well. We must visit Himachal immediately to inform the locals of the truth.

Punjabi state government employees have made a strong case for the reinstatement of the former pension plan after it was discontinued in 2004. The New Pension Scheme, also known as the NPS, was launched in 2003 by the administration of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“According to the previous pension plan, employees had to pay up to 50% of their salaries into the General Provident Fund (GPF) with the government. The monthly minimum deposit was Rs 2,000. The state government used to hold custody of this money. The Central government was home to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Developmental Authority (PFRDA). According to the Indian government’s regulations, the funds were invested in stocks under it, according to Singh, whose union includes of workers hired after 2004 under the NPS.

Employee Provident Fund, or EPF, deductions are made from an employee’s base salary under the NPS at a rate of 10%. The sum is then invested in the Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) after the government adds 14% of its portion to it.

The union intends to march three kilometres on foot in Shimla on October 29. In addition, teams will be sent “to travel to every constituency in Himachal Pradesh with 5-6 vehicles and communicate the message of non-fulfillment of pledges.”

According to a roster that Singh created, some union members will travel to the Kinnaur district, others to Una, and so forth. The duration of this is November 9. We will also travel to Gujarat, where elections are scheduled and the AAP has made a similar pledge, if necessary.

Sandeep Batra, a CPFEU member and employee of the Muktsar education department, expressed his annoyance at the delay in the program’s implementation.

“It’s fine if the government pays attention to us. We’ll salute them. Since October 10, we have been on strike, but the government has not called us to schedule a meeting as of yet. This demonstrates their concern for us.

The administration “cannot guarantee in Himachal Pradesh what it was not able to deliver in Punjab in their seven months of government,” according to Paramdeep Singh, a worker in the building and highways department. A rally is necessary.

Government offices, including district collectorate offices, are being run by contract workers due to a staff strike.

The state’s administration employs about 3.5 lakh people, 1.95 lakh of whom started working there after 2004. Although they are taking part in the strike in favour of the CPFEU, the employees who began working before 2004 continue to get their old pension benefits.

The employees are demanding, among other things, for their dearness allowance to be equalised with that of the central government. (They receive 28%, while those below the centre receive 38%) They also want the government to reinstate the border area allowance, which it eliminated a few years ago.

Subhash Verma, general secretary of the Punjab BJP, claimed that “falsehoods of AAP are being revealed one after another” and that “Voters of Himachal have already realised that social media is strong and the situation in Punjab has reached Himachal and even Gujarat.” Results of the poll will reveal the truth.

After several defeats in the hill state, including leaders defecting to the BJP, there is a perception inside the AAP that the party has given up on the Himachal Pradesh elections and is instead focusing on Gujarat.

Congresswoman Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also pledged to reinstate the previous government employee pension plan if her party were elected to power in Himachal Pradesh last week at a rally in Solan.

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