“Burden for future taxpayers”: NITI Aayog VC expresses concern over revival of old pension scheme

Concerned over revival of Old Pension Scheme, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery said on Sunday that such a move could burden future taxpayers at a time when India needs to focus on fiscal prudence and promoting sustained growth.

Bery said he is “worried” about the decision of some states to return to the Old Pension Scheme. “I think that is more of a concern because the cost will be borne by future taxpayers and citizens, not the present,” he said.

Under the Old Pension Scheme, the entire pension amount of a government employee used to be paid by the government. This scheme was discontinued by the NDA government in 2003 from April 1, 2004.

In the new pension scheme that replaced OPS, employees now contribute 10 percent of their basic salary toward pension, while the state government contributes 14 percent.

Also Read: DECODED: Will the burning issue of old pension scheme impact the high-octane Himachal poll battle result? How is OPS different from NPS?

Two Congress-ruled states — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — have already decided to implement OPS, while the BJP has promised to restore the scheme in Himachal Pradesh if voted to power in the state assembly polls. Jharkhand too has decided to revert to OPS, while Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Punjab recently approved the reimplementation of OPS.

Bery said he feels political parties must display caution over the issue. “I think political parties have to exercise discipline, since we are all working for a common cause of growth of the Indian economy, and for India to become a developed economy, you know the long-term (objectives) needs to be balanced against the short-term (objectives),” he told PTI.

He noted that the government pension issue is significant because the announcement benefits the government of today, but the costs are imposed on future governments (and citizens). “This is why political parties need to enter the picture, to safeguard the interest of future governments against the temptations faced by the incumbent,” he opined.

(With PTI inputs)

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