Old Pension Scheme: Select government employees given one-time option to join OPS
OPS, Old Pension Scheme: The government has given a one-time option to a select group of central government employees to opt for the old pension scheme. According to an order of the Ministry of Personnel on Friday, employees who joined the Central Government services before December 22, 2003 are eligible to join the old pension scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972. This option can be exercised by concerned. Government employees not later than August 31, 2023.
This decision has been taken following representations and court decisions on the matter. As per the order, it was stated that representation was obtained from the Government servants appointed on or after 01.01.2004. These government employees had requested that the benefit of the pension scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021) be extended to them. The reason for their request was that they were appointed against posts/vacancies which were advertised/notified for recruitment prior to the notification for the National Pension System. The order also referred to court decisions of various Hon’ble High Courts and Hon’ble Central Administrative Tribunals which provided such benefits to the applicants.
In the light of various representations and court decisions, the matter was examined in consultation with the Departments of Financial Services, Personnel and Training, Expenditure and Legal Affairs.
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Government employees who are eligible to exercise this option “but who do not exercise this option by the specified date” will continue to be covered under the National Pension System, the order added. The option, once exercised, shall be final, and on the basis of the option exercised by the Government servant, the matter regarding coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, shall be placed before the appointing authority.
The National Movement for Old Pension Scheme (NMOPS), an umbrella body representing over 14 lakh central and state government employees, hailed the decision. NMOPS Delhi Unit Head Manjit Singh Patel said that this is good news for the central government employees. Further, Patel said the central government should amend the existing NPS to ensure that the benefits of the old pension scheme are extended to all central government employees.
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The NPS account of government employees opting for the old pension scheme will be closed from December 31, 2023. If the Government servant fulfills the conditions for coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021), the necessary order will be issued in this regard up to October 31, 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question 1: Who is eligible to opt for Old Pension Scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021)?
Government servants who joined the Central Government Services before December 22, 2003 are eligible to opt for the Old Pension Scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021).
Question 2: What if the eligible Government servant does not exercise the option to join the old pension scheme by August 31, 2023?
Eligible government employees who do not exercise the option to join the old pension scheme by August 31, 2023 will continue to be covered under the National Pension System.
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