The Punjab Pensioners Association on Saturday came down heavily on the state government for its decision to halve the commutable pensions of all retiring employees from existing 40% to 20% of the total pension amount lying with the exchequer.
Addressing a rally of pensioners at Jandiala, association's Amritsar district president Germanjit Singh said that it would prove a very harsh decision on families of pensioners, particularly those who had no other source of income. He said that despite levy of heavy doses of taxes, the state government seemed to be bankrupt.
Singh pointed out that after this decision, the commuted pension for a period of 15 years, which was between Rs. 4 lakh and Rs. 6 lakh, would be reduced to between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 4 lakh.
The association leader regretted that the state budget for the current fiscal year did not earmark any money for pensioners, and they were rather put at the mercy of the exchequer, the coffers of which were already empty.
Germanjit Singh demanded revocation of the decision and immediate release of all pending amounts to pensioners.
He also demanded that pensioners should also be paid the remaining 30% of their arrears following an increase in monthly salaries of state government employees after implementation of the recommendations of the 5th Punjab Pay Commission.
He also demanded that the medical allowance of pensioners be doubled from the existing Rs. 500 per month.
The association also took strong exception to state finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa's reported statement that there would be no sixth Pay Commission for the serving or retired employees of the state government.