Shimla, Aug 3

In a rare bonhomie, CPM MLA Rakesh Singha showered praise on Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur in the state assembly on Tuesday. As the legislator liked his functioning style, equated him to former CM Virbahdra Singh. During Question Hour on 2nd day of monsoon session, Singha stated this while addressing a query regarding benefit of National Pension Scheme (NPS) to state employees, in case of death or disability.

Singha stated that he is impressed with functioning of Jai Ram Thakur, serving as role model, “If Thakur continues to work like this, he will match upto, if he could not surpass to six time chief minister Virbhadra Singh in working style,” he said.

Sharing his experience as a legislator in the house CPI(M) member said that as CM Thakur was working very hard, taking actions on issues that were brought before him and was making efforts to resolve them at the earliest.

Singha said that Chief minister has acted on his suggestion to continue to extend the benefit of old pension scheme for two categories including dependents of deceased employees and those who suffered 40 per cent disability during the service till cut off date of 2009.

Jai Ram Thakur, on the other hand, said he was thankful for the remarks and he will keep them close to his heart.

While replying to the query, Thakur said the state government was examining the issue and keeping in view the grievances, the government had increased its contribution from 10 per cent to 14 per cent for NPS employees.

Besides, budgetary provision of Rs 110 crore had been made for granting gratuity benefits to such employees.

“The Central government’s notification had been adopted by only three states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Assam while Punjab and Gujarat have not implemented it.

As the state government follows Punjab in policy decisions and keeping in mind the poor financial condition amid Covid pandemic, the state government is examining the issue,” he added.

Thakur stated that a total of 2,114 government employees of various departments, who were covered under NPS, had died since 2003 during their service.

“The state was undergoing tough circumstances in terms of financial resources and in addition, the Covid pandemic had adversely affected the resources,” he said, adding the government was assessing as to what impact it will have on the government exchequer.


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