A month after announcing in the Legislative Assembly that his government had absolutely no intention to revive the old pension scheme (OPS), Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Devendra Fadnavis Wednesday said the state government is “not negative” about it.
Let me be clear that we are not negative about it (OPS). We will discuss it with Finance and other departments. But whatever be the solution, it has to be long term and not short term,” said Fadnavis. Referring to the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), he said, “These people only talk (about OPS). But if there is going to be a change in the present pension scheme to old, then only we have the courage to do so. Not these people.”Fadnavis spoke about the pension scheme in his address at a rally organised for BJP candidate Kiran Patil who is contesting the Legislative Council elections scheduled on January 30 from the Aurangabad division teachers’ constituency. Patil is pitted against NCP’s sitting MLC Vikram Kale who has demanded a shift back to OPS.His comment comes days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde assured state employees that his government was positive on this issue. “The government is positive about the old pension scheme for teachers and government employees, non-aided schools, and also for 25 per cent reservation in English medium schools. The education department is studying the old pension scheme,” Shinde had said on January 14 in Thane during an election rally in support of BJP candidate Dyaneshwar Mhatre for the Konkan division teachers’ constituency.If Maharashtra does revert to the old pension scheme, it will be the first BJP-ruled (in alliance with Shinde’s Sena) state in the country to do so. The party, led by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had been warning all states against reverting to OPS, given its adverse impact on state finances.