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Chandigarh, February 28, 2020: In a bid to free up vacancies for the youth, the Punjab Government has decided to pull the plug on giving a 2-year service extension to employees seeking to extend service beyond 58 years which is the official age for retirement.
This move comes just 2 years before the Punjab election which is to be held in the year 2022. According to Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, this move to scupper the extension of service will result in freeing up 5-6% of vacancies in the state government.
Currently, the total strength of state employees is around 3.5 lakh out of which 5-6% puts the number of retiring employees — number of vacancies being created — at around 17,500. Mr. Badal, while announcing this initiative during his budget speech stressed on how it will create thousands of opportunities for the unemployed youth of Punjab.
Also in his speech, he mentioned that the current scheme of service extension will be off-limits to employees retiring after March 31, 2020. And that employees who have already sought the extension will be retired in two phases: the cluster of employees aged 59 years and above will be retired by March 31, and the second batch by October 1, 2020.
It’s not as if the previous regime didn’t try to do away with this scheme in the past. Conceived in 2012 under the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government, the service extension scheme was only limited to 1 year but was later changed to 2 years. Also, all eligible employees could seek to apply for this scheme and employees would continue on the last salary drawn, while forgoing pension and retirement benefits until the end of the extension period.