Chandigarh, October 21

The Punjab government on Friday decided to bring back the old pension scheme for its employees, with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann calling it a Diwali gift to state staff.

In another decision, the state cabinet has decided to grant six per cent grace allowance (DA) to employees and pensioners, with effect from October 1 this year, the statement said.

The statement said that employees will be given the option to adopt the old or current pension scheme.

“We made a principled decision for this purpose at a government meeting. This will benefit lakhs of employees,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the modalities of the old pension scheme for employees would be worked out.

Revival of the old pension scheme, which was discontinued in 2004, was a major demand of the state government employees.

The state government’s decision comes ahead of assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, where the AAP is trying its luck and has promised to bring back the old pension scheme for state government employees if voted to power.

Mann said the employee’s request has been fulfilled now and it is a Diwali gift for them.

“Arvind Kejriwal has said that what we say, we will have to deliver,” Mann said. “We keep the promises we make,” he added.

Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that employees will be given an opportunity to join the old pension scheme.

The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development said the government had taken “historic decisions” in favor of its employees.

An official statement said the pension decision will benefit millions of employees and retirees.

The Council of Ministers assessed that employees are a critical segment of the state administration and that the protection of their interests is the top priority of the Government, it added.

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