OPS, Old Pension Scheme: The government has given a one-time option to a select group of central government employees to opt for the old pension scheme. According to an order from the Personnel Ministry on Friday, employees who joined central government services before December 22, 2003, are eligible to join the old pension scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972. This option may be exercised by concerned government employees no later than August 31, 2023.
The decision was made following representations and court decisions on the matter. According to the order, it was stated that representations had been received from government servants who were appointed on or after 01.01.2004. These government servants had requested that the benefit of the pension scheme under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021) be extended to them. The reason cited for their request was that their appointment had been made against the posts/vacancies that were advertised/notified for recruitment prior to the notification for the National Pension System. The order also cited court decisions from various Hon'ble High Courts and Hon'ble Central Administrative Tribunals that granted such benefits to applicants.
In light of various representations and court decisions, the matter was examined in consultation with the Departments of Financial Services, Personnel & Training, Expenditure, and Legal Affairs.
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The order further said that government servants who are eligible to exercise this option "but who do not exercise this option by the stipulated date" will continue to be covered by the National Pension System. The option, once exercised, shall be final, and 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.
The National Movement for Old Pension Scheme (NMOPS), an umbrella organisation representing over 14 lakh central and state government employees, applauded the decision. Manjeet Singh Patel, the NMOPS Delhi unit head, said it is good news for the central government employees. Additionally, Patel stated that the central government should amend the existing NPS to ensure that the benefits of the old pension scheme could be extended to all central government staff.
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The NPS account of government servants who opt for the old pension scheme shall be closed with effect from December 31, 2023. If the government servant fulfils the conditions for coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021), necessary orders in this regard shall be issued latest by October 31, 2023
Q1: Who is eligible to opt for the old pension scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021)?
The government employees who joined the central government services before December 22, 2003, are eligible to opt for the old pension scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021).
Q2: What happens if the eligible government servant does not exercise the option to join the old pension scheme by August 31, 2023?
The eligible government servants who do not exercise the option to join the old pension scheme by August 31, 2023, will continue to be covered by the National Pension System