Several youth in Telangana, including representatives from the Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OU-JAC) have taken up a campaign against a reported decision of the state government to raise the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 60 years.
The activists from OU-JAC led by Convenor Musham Srinivas have reached out to several government officials seeking their support in opposing the government's proposed move. They allege that increasing the retirement age of government employees may decrease employment opportunities for those in the state who are unemployed.
The state government may be considering the move as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected its revenues. Raising the retirement age is expected to save around Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore per annum.
Speaking to TNM, OU-JAC Convenor Musham Srinivas said, "There are over 3 lakh vacancies in different departments of the Telangana government. No notifications have been issued except for a few recruitments in the police department. If they extend the retirement age, it will further reduce the chances of job notifications."
"Many government employees actually want to retire at the age of 58, but a few employees have lobbied with the government to raise the age to 60 for their own interests," he alleged.
Srinivas further added that the decision will not benefit the government as retired employees have to be given allowances and gratuity, even after working for another two years.
According to sources, over 19.20 lakh government job aspirants have registered for receiving notifications on the latest openings that they can apply for, on the Telangana Public Service Commission (TSPSC) website.This is besides nearly 2.80 lakh new graduates who join the workforce in the state each year, activists said.
Some also claim that the idea to increase retirement age was a move to placate employees who have been upset that their salaries were not revised for the last three years.
Pavan Krishna, a graduate from Rangapur in Karimnagar district’s Huzurabad mandal said, “Already, there are only a handful of new notifications. We are worried that this move of raising the retirement age would further delay job notifications, given the availability of staff and financial constraints."
Pavan further said, "Like me, there are over 80 to 100 graduates and postgraduates in my village. Most of us are awaiting job notifications. We are forced to go for MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee) work as we don't have a job. The government should withdraw its proposal to raise the retirement age."
29-year-old Tekula Sravan, a postgraduate from Huzurabad, who was part of the campaign, told TNM, "We have met several officials to stand up for our cause and urge the government not to go ahead with its plans."
Prashanth, a graduate and farmer from Kamareddy district said that it is unfair to raise the retirement age without releasing the pending notifications, as thousands like him were waiting for employment.