Reportedly the Eknath Shinde government’s promise to implement the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) is a political gimmick ahead of the maharashtra elections next year, the congress has alleged, amid state government employees planning a strike to demand a return to the scheme. Earlier on Wednesday, Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister ajit pawar, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the government was in favor of implementing the scheme but did not give a timeframe.

When speaking exclusively to News18, state congress leader and member of legislative council Bhai Jagtap said: “The way ajit pawar has made a statement about OPS in the House, I am of the opinion that it’s a political statement. Why to wait till state assembly election when you have the entire data and all things which you need to reinstate it?” He pointed out that a few sessions ago, Pawar was the one who had said it was not possible to implement OPS. Jagtap also said it’s the responsibility of a government to implement OPS as “government employees are giving their 30-35 years of service to us”. He said: “When the MVA government was in power, I had asked why the employees were being kept away from the benefits of OPS when we talk about social responsibility.”

Furthermore the maharashtra government has formed a three-member team of senior bureaucrats to study the issue. While the team has submitted its report, the government said it needs more time to learn from the challenges faced by other states who have reinstated the scheme. “When we are in government, we have a responsibility towards society, farmers and staff who work for us. If they give the government more than 30 years, they are liable for these benefits.”

Recently, the reserve bank of india (RBI) said in a report that states bringing back OPS would face more financial burden which, in turn, will impact GDP. Reminding of the maratha reservation issue, Jagtap said: “What have they done on it? This government talks too much but doesn’t do anything. If this time they don’t reinstate OPS, people will force them to do it.”

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