Retirement Age Issue In AP Puts Naidu Government In Tight Spot
Amaravati: Telugu Desam Government in Andhra Pradesh is caught in a fresh controversy over its alleged move to link the employees’ retirement age to their performance and fix it at 30 years of service.
It was Opposition YSR Congress that exposed this move and even came out with copies of GOs to substantiate its claim. However, government has denied any such GOs have been prepared. While Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said he has not signed any such GO and accused the Opposition and media of spreading false news, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu clarified on the issue late on Sunday night. He too asserted there was no proposal to reduce the government employees’ retirement age or linking it to their performance or caste.
It is alleged that Minister for IT, Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, Nara Lokesh, had reportedly asked his departments to give him a list of employees and their castes. This had triggered fears among employees, particularly those from weaker sections, who fear they will be targeted for not being loyal to the government. They allege the government is targeting them for not toeing the TDP line in administration.
Opposition has also alleged that the government had proposed changes to service rules fixing a service period of 30 years. Employees feel this would impact their pension too.
Opposition had pointed out that Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar had signed a file, GAD 56023/3/2017, on July 14 and sent it to Finance, Law and General Administration departments for approval on July 18. Finance Department cleared the file on July 20, while GAD did so on July 20 and Law Department on July 24. The three departments have returned the file with their comments to the Chief Secretary on July 26, the Opposition maintains.
However, government has denied there is any such GO. Employees unions too are ignorant of it. The AP Health Administration Medical Services Association President K Yogeswara Reddy was the only union leader to have spoken vociferously against the government’s move. He has warned the government of severe protests if the alleged draft GOs reducing the retirement age are released.
Amidst this controversy, it is to be seen how the government overcomes the issue and wins the confidence of its employees.