Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday refused to give the money kept aside for the New Pension Scheme (NPS) to the state governments for the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
"If any state takes a decision for some reason that the funds of NPS can be collected from the Centre, then it will not be available," the Finance Minister said.
It needs to be mentioned here that Rajasthan recently announced the OPS for its state employees. In fact, the Congress government has also announced OPS in Himachal Pradesh.
This Old Pension Scheme will receive a setback due to the fresh announcement by the Finance Minister.
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Sitharaman said that it is the employee's money and that money will come into the hands of the employee at the time of retirement or whenever it is required by the employee.
"The collected money will not come into the hands of the state government. When the right time comes, only then will this money be given to the employee," said Sitharaman while interacting with the media after the budget discussion at a hotel here on Monday.
On the free schemes run by the Rajasthan government, Sitharaman said: "When the financial condition of the government is good, (you) run such schemes. Make provision for them in your budget. If the financial condition of your state is not good, you are not making provision in the budget, you are taking a loan for that. It is not right. Who will give this money? That is why the Finance Secretary said that there is no free lunch."
The Finance Minister further said: "To bring such schemes, the states should raise funds from their own resources and earn from taxes. For free schemes, the states are putting their burden on someone else... it is wrong."
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On the question of stopping the work of Barmer Petro Chemicals Hub on political grounds, Sitharaman said: "Congress leaders having a heart like stone have no right to accuse the Narendra Modi-led government. The Congress has no right to blame the Modi government as it stopped the water of Narmada to reach the people of Gujarat."
Taking a dig at Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Sitharaman said: "The Congress CM's dictionary is the same and he politicises everything... I respect the CM."