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NGSEF asks govt to review state Retirement Act 2009

By EMN Updated: Sep 23, 2014 12:45 am

The Nagaland Government Senior Employees’ Forum (NGSEF) has made a clarion call to the state government to review and amend the Retirement from Public Service Act 2009 citing that the Act has flaws which are affecting the smooth functioning of various departments as well as good governance. Addressing a press conference today at KPC Conference Hall, Kohima, NGSEF vice chairman Pausiu Zeliang pointed out that Nagaland is the only state in India which is using both 35 years Length of Service and 60 years Superannuation age under the Act. He said it is immaterial whether an amendment benefits the forum members, however, they feel that the system should be in line with the rest of the country by doing away with the length of service or partially amending it. He remarked that in the state’s current scenario, applying the length of service is creating a vacuum in governance in various departments, particularly during change of guard, as many senior officials are retiring on a mass scale before attaining the prescribed superannuation age.
NGSEF chairman T Lipok Jamir said the forum, consisting of a group of likeminded senior government employees, does not intend to challenge or counter the government or anyone but that it has felt the need for the government to reassess the Retirement Act 2009 in the interest of the people and good governance. He said the Act has several disadvantages such as costing the state exchequer by having to make maximum pension payment, appointing fresh employees and appointing retired officials as consultants in various departments, at a time when the state is facing tight financial standing. He also pointed out that many departments are facing gaps with senior officers retiring together before being able to provide ample guidance and training of office experiences for junior officers.
Forum advisor R Angami, who was also present at the press conference said the 60 years of age for superannuation is a false hope for government employees as most of them are retiring in their early to mid-fifties due to the length of service under the Act. While acknowledging that technology and modern gadgets are a necessity in today’s world, yet human values and wisdom from experience are irreplaceable, he stated.
He said the 2009 Act was done under pressure from NGOs and compelling circumstances prevailing at that time and ultimately about 12,000 state government employees have retired since the Act came into being. Reiterating that it is not challenging any authority, he said that the NGSEF is only opening the grounds for public debate.
He informed that the NGSEF has met and issued a representation to both the Chief Minister, TR Zeliang and the Chief Secretary, Banuo Z Jamir in the month of August regarding review/amendment of the Retirement Act 2009. A copy of the same was also handed out to the media persons during the conference.
NGSEF observes that the prescribed 35 years of service and 60 years of age (whichever is earlier) is not practically proportionate and the government is losing the valuable services of the senior employees who could contribute to the government with their matured experience and knowledge in public service.
“Unless the present retirement age is reviewed and amended with wisdom, those who enter government service at the age of 18 years as undergraduate shall retire at the age of 53 (18+35) and a graduate shall retire at the age of 56 (21+35) and at the prime of their lives, he/she will not get an opportunity to contribute his/her service at the best stage of life to public service,” the forum stated in the representation.
NGSEF is of the view that while the Act may have filtered out those employees who have tampered their date of birth/joining of service, many innocent and genuine ones who could have remained in service for at least 3-5 more years were also affected. The representation stated that the functioning of many directorate establishments are being severely affected as many senior officers are retiring together in the same month/year due to the length of service and junior officers are heading the departments without requisite experience/knowledge of government system and office procedures. It cited the instances of Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, NPWD (works & housing), School Education, Legal Metrology & Consumer Protection, and Police departments.
The NGSEF proposed that the State government review the Act and remove the 35 years Length of Service and only the age for superannuation be fixed at 60 years or, to proportionately increase the length of service for retirement to 38 years and keep superannuation as it is, for the benefit of both employer and employees.

By EMN Updated: Sep 23, 2014 12:45:37 am