Raising of retirement age of Government employees to 61 is a political masterstroke by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
KCR released the TRS party’s final manifesto on Sunday evening at a mammoth public meeting on the sprawling Parade Grounds in Secunderabad.
The employees, who have been waiting for Interim Relief and pay revision, have been pleasantly surprised with the promise of upward revision of the age of superannuation to 61.
In fact, KCR recently indicated at a public meeting at Armoor in Nizamabad district that the TRS was mulling over the idea of enhancing the retirement age of the State Government employees. However, a decision had yet to be taken on whether it could be 60 or 61. Finally, the Sunday’s manifesto put an end to the speculation.
KCR has always proved that his government has been an employee-friendly one. He has been liberal with the employees in his first stint and enhanced their pay-scales as desired by them.
In fact, Andhra Pradesh Government raised the retirement age to 60 in 2014, soon after the bifurcation of the State. Reason for this raise is a paucity of funds and the AP Government had factored in the retirement benefits of a large number of employees would retire in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and took a decision to enhance the retirement age to postpone the burden by which time it could pool resources to meet these needs. Whether the AP Government could do it or not is not relevant here.
The TRS supremo has, for sure, offered this as a facility and not as a measure that would offset or postpone the burden of the State Government. The employees have been asking for fitment and IR which KCR was considering for long. However, as the dissolution of the Assembly was advanced, this aspect could not be studied threadbare, even though the CR Biswal Pay Revision Commission, constituted by the KCR Government, is actively considering all representations and is eliciting the views of all sections of employees.
In AP, the APSRTC employees were not given the benefit of enhanced retirement, thus they would retire two years before their counterparts in the other government departments would retire.
Similarly, there has been no uniformity in the retirement age among government departments themselves. The State Government of Andhra Pradesh has faced numerous court cases since 1960s over the retirement age. The Government revised through some GOs the age of superannuation to 58 and then to 60 for teachers. In some cases, it was unilaterally reduced to 55.
The AP Government reduced the age of retirement from 58 to 55 during N T Rama Rao regime between 1983-84. This caused huge disturbance among employees and those who were retired went to courts and secured pay up to their retirement upon attaining the age of 58 years, without actually working, leaving a huge burden on the exchequer.
Nadendla Bhaskar Rao, who usurped power from NTR with the help of a breakaway faction of the TDP and also the support of the Congress and ruled the State for a month, had restored the retirement age from 55 to 58. NTR, after regaining power, however, did not touch this.
The retirement age of University teachers and professors is pegged at 62 and 65 respectively under the University Grants Commission orders. However, those drawing UGC scales in State colleges were not eligible for the same, but have to retire as per the State laws.
The retirement age of High Court judges was raised to 62 from 60 through the Constitutional Amendment 15. The age of superannuation of a Supreme Court Judge is fixed at 65. Recently retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurien Joseph said that the retirement age of a judge of the Apex court could be raised to 70.
While these disparities between various government departments within the States do exist, the age of retirement is something to do with physical fitness and mental agility Telangana will surely talk about fitness and the human development, once the TRS comes back to justify the decision to enhance the retirement age of the employees to 61. After all, retirement age is directly proportional to the quality of life.