Central Government Employee National Pension System (NPS) to OPS transfer: The Union government has accepted a long-pending demand of scores of central government employees by giving them an option to switch over to the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, or continue to be covered under the National Pension System (NPS). This option can be exercised by those employees of the Government of India whose recruitment was finalised before 01/01/2004 but who had joined service on or after 01/01/2004.
Last Date For NPS to OPS switch: To exercise the new option, eligible central government employees need to apply by 31/05/2020. If an employee fails to exercise this option before the last date, they would continue to be covered by the National Pension System.
The decision to provide the new option to Central Government Employees comes months after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) ruled in a case that the benefit of the Old Pension Scheme cannot be denied to a central government employee if the delay in joining the service before 01/01/2004 was not because of a reason attributable to him. FE Online had reported the order in November.
O1/01/2004 was the cut-off date for employees to be covered under the Old Pension Scheme. The NPS to OPS switch option has rectified a long-standing grievance of a large number of employees whose recruitment (including written examination, interview and declaration of result) was finalized but whose joining was delayed on account of administrative reasons and such delay was beyond the control of such candidates.
Who will benefit from new option
The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has shared some of the instances in which eligible employees will benefit from the new option:
- The recruitment result was declared before 01.01.2004 but the offer of appointment and actual joining of the Government servant was delayed because of police verification, medical examination etc.;
- Some candidates selected through a common selection process were issued offers of appointments and were also appointed before 01.01.2004 whereas the offers of appointments to other selected candidates were issued on or after 1.1.2004 due to administrative reasons/constraints including pending Court/CAT cases.
- Candidates selected before 01.01.2004 through a common competitive examination were allocated to different Departments/organization. While recruitment process was completed by some Department(s)/organizations on or before 31.12.2003 in respect of one or more candidates, the offers of appointment to the candidates allocated to the other Departments /Organization were issued on or after 01.01.2004.
- Offers of appointment to selected candidates were made before 01.01.2004 with a direction to join on or after 01.01.2004.
- Offers of appointment were issued to selected candidates before 01.01.2004, and many/most candidates joined service before 01.01.2004. However, some candidate(s) were allowed extension of joining time and they joined service on or after 01.01.2004. However, their seniority was either unaffected or was depressed in the same batch or to a subsequent batch, the result for which subsequent batch was declared before 01.01.2004.
- The result for recruitment was declared before 01.01.2004 but one or more candidates were declared disqualified on the grounds of medical fitness or verification of character and antecedents, caste or income certificates. Subsequently, on review, they were found fit for appointment and were issued offers of appointment on or after 01.01.2004.
The ministry said in a statement that since the result for recruitment was declared before 01.01.2004 in all the above cases, “the denial of the benefit of pension under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 to the affected Government servants is not considered justified.”
“It has been decided that in all cases where the results for recruitment were declared before 01.01.2004 against vacancies occurring on or before 31.12.2003, the candidates declared successful for recruitment shall be eligible for coverage under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972,” the ministry said.
Some more important points to know
For those applying to switch from NPS to OPS, the government will issue the necessary order latest by 30th September 2020 for those found eligible. The NPS account of such Government servants will consequently be closed w.e.f. 01st November 2020.