Finance Minister K M Mani told the state assembly on Monday that the government was considering introducing a contributory pension scheme for new government employees and also raising the retirement age to 60.
While replying to the discussion on Kerala Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2012, he said that all the states except Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura had already implemented the participatory pension scheme.
It will be inevitable to increase the pension age along with the participatory pension scheme, he said.
In 2002, the A K Antony Ministry had issued such an order but it was revoked by the V S Achuthanandan Govt in 2008, he pointed out.
Mani said that soon the state will be facing threat of spending more on pensioners than serving employees.
“Even IAS and IPS officials are part of the contributory pension scheme. Our state is on the verge of an explosion. Today we have 5.34 lakh government employees in the state. But the number of pensioners has reached 5.5 lakh. The burden of pension is already very heavy,” he said.
While life expectancy in Kerala is the highest in the country, retirement age is the lowest in the state.
The contributory pension scheme would be applicable only for new employees. However, they would also be given an increased retirement age, he said.
The Finance Minister noted that his was not the final word. “We cannot withdraw from the move like cowards. However, my word is not final on this. Let the Cabinet decide,” he said.
He said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has asked him to take the youth and service organisations into confidence on the issue.
Youth Congress president P C Vishnunath MLA said any decision on the subject should be taken after holding talks with the youth organisation leaders as the issue was involving the life of the coming generations.
Mani had the comfort of presenting his scheme of things as the Opposition had boycotted the House on another issue.