UP: Protests Against NPS Gain Momentum, Teachers to Reach Lucknow on Nov 15
Lucknow: Protests against the New Pension Scheme or National Pension System (NPS) have started gaining momentum in Uttar Pradesh. For starters, school teachers from across the state, under the banner of Uttar Pradesh Prathmik Shikshak Sangh (UPPSS) , are planning to gather for a one-day protest rally at Eco Garden in Lucknow on November 15.
Revival of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) has been one of the long-standing demands of government teachers in Uttar Pradesh and the protest for it is likely to gather pace ahead of municipal elections scheduled to be held in early December.
Sushil Pandey, president of UPPSS, a state-level teachers’ association, said they had been urging the state government to restore the old pension scheme, but to no avail.
"Our main demand is OPS and the Yogi government is adamant to not resolve the issue despite the fact that we have been demanding this for the last many years. This issue affects each and every employee of the state. Hence, they have decided to join a one-day protest on November 15,” Pandey told NewsClick, adding that around one lakh teaching and non-teaching staff are expected to join the protest in Lucknow.
Under the NPS, tan employee with a basic pay of Rs 30,500 gets Rs 2,417 as monthly pension against the Rs 15,250 pension s/he would have got under the OPS, claimed the union leader.
Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM) told NewsClick: "The BJP government is known for its anti-government employee stand. They are privatising everything. The government is not concerned with our issues as they are coming into power with the help of rich and poor people. They have been hiking taxes on the middle class but waiving these for the rich. The poor are happy with free rations. Only the middle class is left in the lurch but the government has turned a deaf ear to our problems."
Reminding the state government how some other states fulfilled its promises, Mishra said: "Four states -- Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan -- have announced plans to restore the old pension scheme while the political parties in poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have promised to do so if elected. Now, we want the Yogi government to fulfill the demand of the employees in Uttar Pradesh."
The union leaders also threatened to go for mass leave in the coming days if their demands are not met. “We will not sit silently. OPS is our only hope in old age and we can not let it go when other states are implementing it,” Sumit, a teacher in Ballia, told NewsClick.
On November 7, a large number of employees from various departments of the Uttar Pradesh government took out protest rallies in various parts of the state, including Lucknow and Varanasi, demanding the reintroduction of the old pension system, abolition of fixed pay arrangement, cashless medical facility and implementation of 7th pay commission recommendations, among other demands.
Last December, tens of thousands of government school teachers, accompanied by pensioners, shiksha mitras, anganwadi workers, sanitation workers, mid-day meal cooks and several other scheme workers from across Uttar Pradesh joined one-day rally at Eco Garden against the new pension scheme, demanded withdrawal of the New Pension Scheme of the Centre and restoration of the old pension scheme.
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