Karnataka BJP Govt left red-faced as party MLCs walk out of Council … – The Indian Express

The BJP government in Karnataka faced an embarrassment Thursday as two of its members were among the three who walked out of the Legislative Council demanding that the New Pension Scheme be replaced with the old one in the state. The three legislators who staged a walkout were the BJP’s Ayanur Manjunath and S V Sankanur and Marithibbegowda from the JD(S).
The three were demanding the government to ensure that NPS was on par with the Old Pension Scheme, saying current pensions were inadequate for many retired government servants. Sankanur highlighted the case of a teacher who was expected to receive Rs 50000 as a pension whereas he was receiving only Rs 9000. “How are they supposed to lead their lives?” he asked, demanding the government to announce OPS.
Manjunath opposed the different standards employed to provide pensions to government employees and elected representatives. Noting NPS was introduced after 2006, he asked why MLAs and MLCs elected after that year were covered under OPS. “When people who have elected us are under NPS, why do we have OPS?.. Introduce NPS for us too,” he demanded.
The discussion was in response to a question by four MLCs about the issue in the wake of ongoing protests at Freedom Park in Bengaluru by several government employees demanding that they be covered under OPS.
Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister J C Madhuswamy said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has assured to consider the plea of government employees “based on the financial situation of the state”. The pension policy was changed by the Central Government in 2004, following which NPS was introduced in Karnataka post-2006, Madhuswamy said.
The minister added that was a huge financial burden on the state due to payment of salaries and pensions, noting that the outgo for salaries exceeded Rs 90,000 crore, while it was Rs 20-24,000 crore for pensions. Those who were selected for government jobs knew about NPS when they joined and “they cannot demand it now,” Madhuswamy said, irking several members of the upper house of the state legislature.
Some MLCs pointed out the Karnataka government had formed a committee to look into the pension issue and alleged that it had not met even once. Madhuswamy disputed the claim, saying the committee formed to suggest improvements to NPS has met thrice and had made several recommendations.
Unhappy with the answer, the three MLCs then staged a walkout.
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