No change in 2-yr extension to staff as Punjab govt has no money for retirement dues
The proposal to end the extension to 60 and 62 was discussed at several levels, as the Congress, before and after forming the government four months ago, promised employment to the youth. “But there’s huge cost involved,” said a senior officer.punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2017 09:09 IST
After much talk of discontinuing the two-year extension to retired government staff, the Punjab government is sticking to it. For, it requires Rs. 4,500 crore to fund the retirement benefits of 15,000 employees who will superannuate if the extension policy is scrapped. Most employees retire at 58, though there are some who age of superannuation is 60.
The proposal to end the extension to 60 and 62 was discussed at several levels, as the Congress, before and after forming the government four months ago, promised employment to the youth. “But there’s huge cost involved. We need to have funds ready to immediately give retirement benefits and also pension to all who lose extension,” said a senior officer involved with the process, on the condition of anonymity.
Debt waiver first
The matter was to be discussed by the cabinet on July 25, but the meeting was cancelled when chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s mother passed away on July 24. The meeting is now on Friday, August 4.
However, sources said the first priority for the government now is to raise Rs 10,000 crore for crop loan waiver promised to small and marginal farmers. Having already crossed its borrowing limit of Rs 12,819 crore, the government doesn’t want to commit for any other big expenditure, and has approached the Union government for upping the limit. “The government does want to do away with the system of service extension, but that will take a shape once it’s easy on funds,” added the officer.
What it costs
On an average, each employee or civil servant gets Rs 30 lakh as gratuity and other benefits upon retirement. There are at least 30 Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers and the rest on different levels — clerical staff, superintendents and mid-level officers — on extension. For the extension, they had to opt for it voluntarily and should have no case or chargesheet pending.
The system of extension was in practice for many years, but the previous SAD-BJP regime took a policy decision in case of PCS officers in 2010 and for general cadres and officers in 2013. The aim then was to delay payments of retirement benefits, and not much has changed.