The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the formation of a new committee that will review the National Pension System (NPS) for government employees. This announcement came amid debates over certain opposition-ruled states adopting the Old Pension Scheme (OPS). Sitharaman stated that the committee will be headed by the Finance Secretary and will address the needs of employees while maintaining fiscal prudence.
During the consideration and passage of the Finance Bill 2023, Sitharaman proposed 11 new provisions to the bill to better represent the needs of society. The Finance Bill was eventually passed by a voice vote in the Parliament, with Opposition MPs demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani issue. The JPC probe was not granted, and the Finance Bill was passed.
The Old Pension Scheme, which entitled a government employee to a monthly pension after retirement, was discontinued in December 2003. The New Pension Scheme, which requires employees to contribute a portion of their salaries to the pension fund, came into effect on April 1, 2004. However, five states, namely Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh, have informed the Centre about their decision to revert to the old system.
Earlier on Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed demands for grants authorising expenditure of about Rs 45 lakh crore for the financial year 2023-24. The proposal moved by the Finance Minister was passed by voice vote amid protests by opposition members over their demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue.
The two Houses of Parliament have been witnessing adjournments over the repeated logjam. The BJP has been demanding an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the United Kingdom, while the opposition has been demanding a JPC probe into the Hindenburg-Adani row. The second half of the budget session began on March 13 and will commence on April 6.
Overall, the announcements made by the Finance Minister aim to address the needs of employees and maintain fiscal prudence. The passing of the Finance Bill and the grant of expenditure show that the government is taking steps to support the economy and society in the upcoming financial year.