After Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab on Friday announced that it has reverted to the old pension scheme (OPS) for state government employees.

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“This scheme will be implemented from today. It was a long-standing demand of the employees as they were denied OPS in 2004. This is a historic decision and the best Diwali gift ever for state employees,” Mann said in a video message after the cabinet meeting. On Monday, the government gave in-principle approval for the implementation of OPS.

Mann said AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked him to fulfill the promises made.

The government’s move is seen as an attempt to score political points in the assembly election campaign in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, where the AAP is making a desperate bid to expand its base.

In Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has also vowed to return to the OPS if voted to power.

Once implemented, the move is likely to benefit around 1.6 lakh government personnel in Punjab who joined the service after 2004, according to civil servant union leaders.

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