Kerala: Hanging up boots at 56 limits effective use of expertise, say staff

Having had about two decades of service under his sleeve, he felt the state government should raise the retirement age to 60.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only(Photo | Express Illustration)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: What’s the right age for retirement? The question has always invited polarising answers. Most youngsters want the status quo maintained, citing the effect a raise in retirement age would have on their job prospects.

The serving and the retired state government employees, however, disagree strongly. They demand the ceiling be raised as the life span has increased.

The employees also argue their job expertise peaks in the 50s and retiring by 56 limits the prospects of serving the government better. The financial implications of raising the retirement age and the extension of tenure on compassionate grounds are the other main factors cited.

Jahfar Khan, who retired as a surveyor from the land revenue commissionerate last year, felt he had retired “too early”. To him, being 56 means living the second phase of youthfulness.

“At 56, I am young. Why should I be asked to stop doing something over which I have accrued a large experience? I had to quit despite being in the pink of health. Work-wise, I was doing well and it’s unfair that I couldn’t stick on for some more time,” he said.

Having had about two decades of service under his sleeve, he felt the state government should raise the retirement age to 60.

“In the judiciary, the retirement age is even higher. If older people can become the Prime Minister and the President of the country, why can’t they raise the retirement age of government employees,” Jahfar asked.

But there are pensioners, who differ with Jahfar’s perspective. Dr L J Lowrance, who retired as an assistant director (veterinary) with the mounted police unit, entered service in 1995. Having had to hang up his boots in 2022, Lowrance said the pension age should be lowered to 55.

According to him, the employee will be at a loss if the pension age is increased.

“For those who did their job passionately, retirement is a boon. Retirement age should not be raised beyond 55 years,” he said.

“After retirement, I am enjoying my personal life. Now I live a tension-free life and have time to take care of my health. I can afford to have a good diet and exercise because I am getting time for myself,” he said.

Lowrance said, in the last 14 years of his service, he could not even find time to watch a movie.

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