Teachers, Govt Employees to Protest Across UP for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme
Lucknow: Teachers of government and grant-in-aid schools and government employees in Uttar Pradesh (UP) are gearing up for a massive protest across all the 75 districts of the state on September 20 over their long-pending demands, including reinstatement of the old pension scheme (OPS).
Sushil Kumar, president of the Primary Teachers Association, who will lead the protest, told Newsclick that the agitation was called after the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government failed to reinstate the OPS despite repeated requests.
Besides reinstatement of the OPS, the teachers want a continuous five-year job tenure for pay upgradation, implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission benefits and permanent status for Shiksha Mitras (contractual teachers) and Anudeshak (instructors).
The Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments, Kumar said, “have already announced the implementation of the OPS. The Uttar Pradesh government should also have no problem in implementing the OPS”.
Employees recruited after 2004 were not entitled to the OPS and are paid under the NPS, which is a form of contributory pension.
“The new pension scheme (NPS) is the classic example of privatising everything. The government is not only privatising public sector units but also passing the buck of social security to the stock market-based system. This will gradually ruin everything and the entire country will be left in a mess,” Kumar alleged.
Last December, teachers and other government employees had staged a massive demonstration at Eco Garden, Lucknow, demanding fulfilment of their long-pending demands. Teachers were hoping for restoration of the OPS in the Budget bur were disappointed and galvanised to launch the protest.
“On September 20, all teachers and government employees will gather at school or district headquarters to protest and hand over a memorandum to the prime minister, the president and the chief minister through their district administrations,” Kumar said adding that “teachers from across the state will also gather in Lucknow on November 15 for a massive protest”.
Shiksha Mitras, under the banner of Uttar Pradesh Shikshamitra Sangh, will also join the protest pressing for better pay and appointment as assistant teachers. Their demands also include appointment as permanent teachers and jobs for candidates who have passed the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).
UP has more than 1.73 lakh Shiksha Mitras employed with primary schools whose jobs were regularised by the state government in 2014. In 2017, the Supreme Court quashed their appointment and ordered that they won’t be regularised unless they clear the TET. Consequently, salary was reduced from Rs 38,000 to Rs 3,500.
“Both the Centre and the state government have been ignoring our demand for regularisation. That’s why we decided to organise a massive protest in every district and later in Lucknow to make them listen,” Surbhi, a Shiksha Mitra, told Newsclick.
Arvind Singh, a retired government employee, alleged that despite being in service for more than three decades, retired employees are “entitled to a pension of just a few thousands rupees, which is not enough in old age. Many retired teachers getting pension under the NPS work as vegetable vendors to make their ends meet”.
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