Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
In the first week of October 2023, two big rallies were organized by the government employees at Ramleela Maidan, Delhi to demand scrapping of the Non-Guarantee Pension Scheme, called NPS, and restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS). One rally was organized by the Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS) and the other one by the national Movement for Old Pension Scheme (NMOPS). In both the rallies lakhs of Central Government and State Government Employees including Railways, Defence, Postal, and teachers participated.
Ramleela Maidan has not seen such a huge crowd in the recent past. Employees from all over the country came all the way to Delhi with a single point demand of the restoration of the defined and guaranteed old pension scheme. Even pregnant women employees and women employees with babies attended both the rallies. The government claims that the NPS is beneficial for the workers, but workers are refuting the claim.
A leader of the of Front against NPS in Railways said, “The NPS is a big scam. In the name of pension employees are getting sums of Rs. 583, Rs.1200, etc. per month. Old pension was disbursed by the government whereas the new pension is totally at the mercy of the big capitalists. Big capitalists do not work for the country; their aim is only to make profit. The NPS will not benefit the employees, hence we are opposing it.”
A member of All India Track Maintainers Union said, “We serve the nation for 20-30 years of our life and OPS is our right”.
A member of the Teachers’ union remarked, “The elected representatives are drawing old pensions themselves but explaining the benefits of the NPS to the government employees! Government employees are not fools; they are educated. They know that the employees’ money is being gambled in the share market. The OPS is our right and a security for the old age of government employees”.
Many other employees raised their voice against the injustice of the NPS and said that it benefits the capitalist class.
It must be noted that these huge demonstrations where lakhs of workers come on the street are totally blacked out by the mainstream media. At the same time media houses which raise the issues related to the working class are brutally attacked with the use of draconian laws like UAPA.