The government is against implementing the Old Pension Regime (OPS). Their argument is that doing so will place a heavy financial burden that the government cannot tolerate. On the other hand, government employees are adamant in their demand. With more than 18 lakh employees on indefinite strike, the state government’s tension has increased. Due to this huge strike, work at government offices, hospitals, and schools came to a standstill across the state. Paramedical and sanitary workers also joined the strike. When the talks failed on Monday, the employees decided to go on strike.
The situation is getting very complicated since the administrative work has been blocked by the strike. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with the health department employees union. Shinde assured that the government is positive towards the implementation of the PAHO. In this regard, a study commission of 3 members was set up, which will present its report in 3 months. After this, a decision will be made on the implementation of the old pension scheme. Meanwhile, the government managed to get the Maharashtra Essential Services Act (MESYA) Bill re-passed in both houses of the Legislature in order to strictly address the strike. The validity of this law had expired on February 28, so it was extended for the next 5 years.
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This will put pressure on the striking workers. During this, there was a split in the strike. After the meeting with the Chief Minister, Sambhaji Thorat, leader of the primary teachers’ organization, announced the withdrawal of the strike, but Vishwas Katkar, the teachers’ coordinating committee, said that we have not called off the strike and that most of the people of Thorat are with us. The employees raised slogans: only one mission, to restore the old pension. This strike can go on for a long time, so not only the government, but also the public will face a lot of problems and will be deprived of essential services.
Criticizing the government’s attitude, former Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that Shiv Sena (Thackeray’s faction) supports government employees and their families. Many states of the country have implemented the old pension scheme. Why is the Shinde-Fadnavis government dwelling on this matter? The president of the state Congress, Nana Patole, said the government has money to give up loans to industrialists, but not to give it to employees. If the government can’t restore the old pension plan, then leave the presidency.