The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) has thrown its full support behind the two-day strike initiated by employees, demanding the reinstatement of the old pension policy (OPS), said an official statement.
As per the statement, the party's president, Lurinjyoti Gogoi, and acting general secretary, Raju Phukan, assert that the OPS system represents a legitimate demand from the employees.
Introduced by the Vajpayee government back in 2004, the OPS system has, over time, left employees without the financial security they deserve in their retirement years. Gogoi and Phukan argue that employees have a rightful expectation of financial security in their old age after dedicating a lifetime to service. However, the government's persistence with the NPS system is seen as a direct infringement on these rights.
The two Jatiya Parishad leaders point out that the NDA government previously reduced the government's liability towards employees by introducing the NPS system.
''In a welfare state like India, the government holds maximum responsibility towards its citizens. When the NDA government incorporated the NPS as part of its corporate-oriented policy, it caught the nation off guard. However, it has become increasingly evident that this was a calculated strategy to promote the corporate policy of NDA or BJP, which aligns with their later policy of downsizing government employees in BJP-ruled states,'' the statement quoted both Gogoi and Phukan as saying.
The statement also claimed that reports suggest that the state government is planning to cut approximately 50 per cent of the total posts across various departments.
According to the Jatiya Parishad leaders, this policy aligns with the BJP's corporate agenda and represents a significant reduction in the government's commitment to its employees.
"The government claims that the Arunodoi scheme and other beneficiary schemes in Assam have been implemented as part of the welfare policy of the state. But where has the welfare policy of the government gone in paying pensions to government employees? All citizens must be treated equally," Gogoi and Phkan argue.
They go on to assert that the state's economy is robust enough to shoulder the financial burden of beneficiary schemes like the Arunodoi scheme and microloan waiver programs. Thus, they believe that the state treasury can also bear the additional financial responsibility of reintroducing the OPS system. They emphasize that it merely requires the government's sincerity to make this possible.
''Gogoi and Phukan call upon the state government to consider reintroducing the OPS system with a humanitarian approach. They argue that it is time to implement the state's welfare policies to meet the old age needs of millions of retired Assam employees,'' the statement added.
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