STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: In a landmark decision, Pre-2004 recruited employees in the Government of India have been given pension option to either continue with the National Pension System (NPS) pattern or switch over to the earlier arrangement under Central Civil Services (CCS) (Pension) Rules, 1972 and subscribe to General Provident Fund (GPF). Announcing this here today, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of Northeast, Personnel/ DoPT, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh disclosed that the decision had been taken by the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare to address the long-standing demand of Central Government employees whose recruitment was finalized before January 1, 2004 but who had, for various reasons, joined the services on or after that date. However, he noted that the last date to exercise this option would be May 31, 2020 and those who fail to exercise the option by this stipulated date would continue to be covered by the National Pension System. As per an order issued by the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare, all Central Government employees whose selection for appointment was finalized before January 1, 2004 but who joined service on or after January 1, 2004, can now opt to be covered under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 instead of the NPS (National Pension System). The order effectively gives those employees of the Government of India who were recruited before 2004 the option of either switch over to the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 or continue to be covered under the National Pension System. Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Modi Government has, through this order, rectified a long standing grievance of a huge number of employees whose recruitment (including written examination, interview and declaration of result) had been finalized on or before January 1, 2004 (which was the cut-off date for employees to be covered under the old Pension scheme) but whose joining was delayed on account of administrative reasons and such delay was beyond the control of such Government servants. This order of the Government of India is expected to give relief to several Central Government employees, some of whom were knocking the doors of the Courts in order to get covered under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 and will also substantially bring down the litigation on this subject matter. The matter was examined in consultation with the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) and Department of Expenditure and Department of Legal Affairs in the light of the various representations/references and decisions of the Courts in this regard. It was then decided that in all cases where the results for recruitment were declared before January 1, 2004 against vacancies occurring on or before December 31, 2003, the candidates declared successful for recruitment shall be eligible for coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. Those Government servants who are eligible to exercise option, but who do not exercise this option by the stipulated date, shall however continue to be covered by the National Pension System and the option once exercised shall be final. The matter regarding coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 based on the option exercised by the Government servant shall be placed before the appointing authority for consideration in accordance with these instructions. In case the Government servant fulfils the conditions for coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, in accordance with these instructions, necessary order in this regard shall be issued latest by September 30, 2020. The NPS account of such Government servants shall, consequently, be closed from November 1, 2020. The Government servants who exercise option to switch over to the pension scheme under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, shall be required to subscribe to the General Provident Fund (GPF).
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