The Opposition LDF members locked horns with the government on the floor of the Assembly on Tuesday in the course of an adjournment motion notice demanding discussion on the move to introduce contributory pension scheme for government employees and also to raise their retirement age from 56 to 60 years.
Later, the Opposition walked out from the House warning that if any decision on raising the pension age was taken, it would be the last day of the UDF Government in power.
In reply to the adjournment motion notice given by P Sreeramakrishnan (CPM) and others, Finance Minister K M Mani clarified that no “in principle decision’’ had been taken on the CPF scheme or raising the pension age.
When Opposition deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that Mani had told the House on Monday that CPF and pension age increase issue were under the consideration of the government, the Finance Minister denied it and maintained that he had only stated that it was being examined.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also said that statistics revealed a grim scenario ahead for the state. “In fact, pension has become a liability for the state. The number of government employees is 5.34 lakh and pensioners accounted for 5.5 lakh. Every year, around 2,000 are added to the list of pensioners. Rs 7,731 cr is needed to pay pension benefits. When salaries are paid for an employee for 25-30 years, the pension liability of the state for a retired employee is 30-35 years,’’ he pointed out.
The Chief Minister also said that when the government rectified the anomaly in the retirement age induced by a policy of the former government and standardised it at 56 years, the number of supernumerary posts created were around 12,000, against 13,278 vacancies.
The PSC had given advice memo to 32,897 job-seekers last year and 48,832 vacancies were reported by various departments last year, he further said.
Unsatisfied with the explanations, the young brigade in the LDF, led by CPM’s T V Rajesh, surged to the front row and created a scene, while Speaker G Karthikeyan denied permission to the motion. Later, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan led the walkout.