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Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann referred to the Punjab government's decision to reinstate the old pension plan for its employees on Friday as a Diwali gift for the state employees. Announcing the restoration of old scheme, he said, "We have taken an in-principle decision to this effect in a cabinet meeting. This will benefit lakhs of employees."

Mann claimed that the state cabinet had also approved the government employees' 6% dearness allowance.

One of the primary demands of state government employees is the reinstatement of the previous pension plan, which was discontinued in 2004.

The state government's decision was made in advance of the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where AAP is running for office and has pledged to reinstate the previous pension plan for state employees if elected.

The employee's request has now been satisfied, according to Mann, and it is a Diwali gift for them.

"Arvind Kejriwal has told that we say (promise) we have to deliver and not say something what we cannot deliver," said Mann. "The promises we are making, we are fulfilling," he added.

Employees will have the option to enrol in the previous pension plan, according to Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema.

The housing and urban development minister for the state, Aman Arora, claimed that "historic decisions" had been made by the government in favour of its workers.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday congratulated government employees in Punjab after the state cabinet gave its nod to the restoration of the old pension scheme and promised that the AAP would do so in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, if it is voted to power in the upcoming polls.

The old pension scheme should be restored and implemented all over the country, he said, terming the new pension scheme “unfair"

(With inputs from PTI)

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