Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday urged the Centre to refund over Rs 17,000 crore of state government employees enrolled under the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Baghel said the state government has restored the old pension scheme in Chhattisgarh to secure the future of government employees and their families.
He said Rs 17,240 crore deposited with National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) till March 31 should be returned so that it can be put in the General Provident Fund of the employees.
He also demanded the state’s GST compensation and transferring of amounts collected as “additional levy” from coal block companies, according to a statement issued by the Chhattisgarh government.
Baghel made the demands during a pre-budget meeting chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held at the Manekshaw Centre where finance ministers from various states gave several proposals and suggestions regarding the general budget 2023-24.
Baghel also told Sitharaman that the state government’s share will be deposited in a separate pension fund, which will be used to meet pensionary obligations in the future. Along with this, it will be invested in Government of India and state government securities, according to the statement.
At a press conference during the Himachal Pradesh polls, Finance Minister Sitharaman had said the money in the NPS belongs to individual contributors and as per law, state governments cannot get it back.
Responding to queries on restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS), Sitharaman had clarified that Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments that are asking the Centre to return the money, cannot get it back as per law.
During the meeting, Baghel also said Chhattisgarh had requested to continue the system of GST compensation grant for the next five years after June 2022, but it was not increased. He demanded an amount of Rs.1,875 crore as GST compensation.
Baghal also called for the transfer the coal royalty amount of Rs 4,140 crore to the state at the earliest.
He also requested the release of Rs 1,288 crore spent by the state government on central security forces and Rs 313 crore spent on four special and Indian defense forces deployed in the state.
Referring that the year 2023 has also been declared by the United Nations as the ‘International Year of Millet’, the chief minister said that “Kodo, Kutki and Ragi (Millets)” are mainly cultivated in Chhattisgarh and urged the Centre to declare minimum support price for “Kodo and Kutki” crops to promote millets.
He also demanded setting up of marketing centres so that agriculture, handicrafts and minor forest produce products could be promoted.
Baghel also gave suggestions in the meeting regarding revision of royalty rates of major minerals, incentive grants to states with better financial management, continuation of special assistance scheme, starting of International Cargo Terminal in Raipur, among others.
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