Government employees in Andhra Prades’s Vizianagaram district on Sunday staged a novel protest by tonsuring their heads and beating themselves with ‘chappals’ to press their demand for scrapping Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
Andhra Pradesh Contributory Pension Scheme Employees Association (APCPSEA) staged the novel protest near Vizianagaram collectorate.
The protestors called a barber at the protest site to shave their heads. Some of the protestors were seen wearing garlands of footwear and also beating their cheeks with footwear.
The protest was organised with the slogan “betrayal”. They alleged that the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government betrayed them by going back on its promise to scrap CPS.
Refusing to accept the Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS) being contemplated by the state government to replace CPS, they said: “We don’t want CPS or GPS. Restore the old pension scheme,” read a placard held by the protestors.
During his padyatra before 2019 elections, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had promised to abolish CPS and to restore the old pension scheme after coming to power. However, after coming to power the government led by Jagan Mohan Reddy found it not feasible due to the state.
Employees’ unions and associations have been staging protests demanding that the YSRCP government fulfill its poll promise.
During his state-wide walkathon, Jagan met numerous leaders, unions and associations who complained of severe injustice to employees due to CPS and sought implementation of the old pension scheme. Though Jagan Mohan Reddy made the promise, he could not deliver on it due to financial crisis in the state.
As YSRCP has embarked on evolving a roadmap for victory in 2024 elections, it has mooted the idea of Guaranteed Pension Scheme (GPS) in place of CPS.
Under the proposed scheme, the employee receives a guaranteed pension of 33 per cent of the last drawn basic pay and the GPS enables an employee to assess the amount of pension in advance, so that he can plan his future financially.
Market conditions will have no influence on the pension under GPS, leaving no chance for reduction of pension in future. According to the government, the GPS is nearly 70 per cent higher than the present pension under CPS received in line with present interest rates.
However, the government employees have ruled out any compromise on their demand to abolish CPS and restore the old pension scheme.