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Left picks holes in benefit blueprint

The Left-ruled states of Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal again rejected the government?s New Pension Scheme, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.
None | By Sutirtho Patranobis, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2007 03:40 AM IST

The Left-ruled states of Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal again rejected the government’s New Pension Scheme (NPS) on Monday largely on two grounds — the cut in salary and pension of employees and the absence of government guarantee in retirement benefits.

The Left also sought a “sustainable pension system with defined post-retirement benefits” where the government would stand guarantor.

West Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta said, “We are not in a position to accept the new scheme and there is a need for a more factual and analytical discussion.”

Dasgupta also circulated a note, with points on why the Left does not want the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill.

Other than the three Left-ruled states, 19 states adopted the NPS. After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s conference with state chief ministers and finance ministers, the Centre announced that it would soon notify an interim investment pattern for funds collected under the NPS that will allow putting in a part of the amount in stock markets.

The Left has been steadfast in its objection to the Bill. Earlier, they had disagreed with the government’s suggestion that pension funds for group C and D employees — who comprise 92 per cent government workers — would be parked with public sector financial institutes, SBI, LIC and UTI for three years.

After three years, the employees would have a choice to invest the money in stocks. Under the new plan, Grade A and B employees would have the option as soon as the scheme is implemented.

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