M A I N   N E W S

Haryana’s decision to lower retirement age comes under fire
Naveen S Garewal & Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Haryana Government’s decision to lower the retirement age of its staff to 58 years within months of the previous Hooda government enhancing it to 60 years has come as a shock to three lakh employees, who have termed it nothing short of a political vendetta.

The decision will immediately impact around 5,000 of the three lakh employees, besides putting an additional burden of Rs 200 crore on the government. Without giving any logical reasoning, the Haryana Government has taken the decision which is being opposed by bureaucrats and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s Cabinet colleagues, besides the employees. The action is being viewed a reversal of “Hooda’s action” The manner in which the employees have been asked to go home in less than a week (November 30) has evoked a lot of criticism. There are 16 states in the country where the retirement age is 60 years. The logic of the government that retirement at 58 years will provide more job avenues to the young has not gone down well with the state employees. Even those in the Central service and those under the Class IV category in Haryana retire at 60. Political parties and employees’ unions are up in arms against the “anti-people” decision of the government which is set to adversely affect over 40,000 employees in the next two years.

“Instead of taking decisions on the promises made in the BJP manifesto such as Punjab pay scales to the Haryana staff and regularisation of the contractual staff, the Khattar government has started taking anti-employees’ decisions which portend ill for the government-employees relations,” said Subhash Lamba, general secretary of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh.

The largest group among government employees that will be affected by the decision is government college teachers. The teachers of the government-aided and private colleges retire at 60 years in Haryana. “Even the state government employees in the state ruled by the BJP, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, retire at the age of 60,” said Lamba.

The decision to lower the retirement age would also take a toll on the state’s precarious financial health. It is estimated that the state government would have to shell out around Rs 1,500 crore by way of retirement benefits to over 40,000 state government employees in the next two years. The government’s liability towards the benefits for the government staff retiring on November 30 alone would be between Rs 150 and Rs 200 crore. The state government had decided that the employees on “extension” after completing 58 years would retire on November 30.

Khattar yesterday justified the reduction in the retirement age on a plea that it would provide more job opportunities to the youth. However, with the state government disbanding the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) and the Haryana School Teachers’ Selection Board (HSTSB), the recruitment process for various government jobs would take a year to complete.

The implications

  • Government will have to shell out Rs 1,500 crore as benefits to the staff retiring in the next two years
  • More than 4,000 employees on “extension” will retire on November 30; state to pay Rs 200 crore as retirement benefits
  • As the government has disbanded the HSSC and HSTSB, it will take a year to fill 1.5 lakh vacant posts
  • Central government employees retire at 60 years, even some BJP-ruled states have fixed 60 years as the retirement age





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