Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday told the state Assembly that he has no plans to increase the retirement age of state government employees.
He made the remarks while replying to a leave for an adjournment motion moved by Congress legislator V.T. Balaram, who expressed fears that the Vijayan government was trying to first increase the retirement age of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employees from 56 to 60 years with all other government departments following suit gradually.
"We have not started any discussions or even considered to raise the age of state government employees... It won't happen at all," said Vijayan.
Till the beginning of the 2013 fiscal, the general norm in Kerala for retirement was 55 years and in all state-run educational institutions anyone turning 55 years after July 1 was allowed to continue till the end of that academic year.
To even out the disparity, the former Oommen Chandy government made the retirement age for all government and state-run educational institutions as 56-years-old from April 1, 2013.
Vijayan clarified that the confusion arose after a one-man committee appointed by Sushil Khanna (IIM-Calcutta faculty) had submitted a report on various schemes on the way the KSRTC could be revived and taken forward.
"The report states that if the retirement age of KSRTC is raised from 56 to 60, there will be a savings of Rs 450 crore and this money could be utilised to create a corpus fund which would be able to pay the pension on time," Vijayan added but kept mum if the retirement age of KSRTC employees would be raised.
The KSRTC is going through tough times financially and has an accumulated loss of Rs 7,966 crore. Around 49,000 pensioners got their pension after a gap of six months.
Over the years, successive governments have infused funds into KSRTC for payment of salaries to the 39,000 employees and the 40,000 pensioners.
State Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran also assured that there has been no decision made to increase the retirement age of KSRTC employees.
Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala staged a walkout from the House protesting against the state government's attitude in trying to push through raising of the retirement age of all government employees.
"You are masters at saying one thing and doing the opposite... If you dare raise the retirement age, you should prepare to face the worst ever agitation that the state has seen," Chennithala warned.