The Madhya Pradesh government on Friday raised the retirement age of state government employees to 62 years from 60 years. There are about five lakh government employees in the state, PTI reported.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made the announcement while speaking to reporters in Bhopal. He said a number of state government employees were unable to get promotion because of a case on reservation in promotions pending in the Supreme Court. “We will not allow any employee to retire without getting their due promotion,” he said. “This is why we have decided to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 years.”

In May 2016, the Madhya Pradesh government had challenged a Jabalpur High Court order that had declared as unconstitutional the state government’s provision for reservation in promotions for employees from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. The Supreme Court had ordered a status quo in the matter in October 2017.

The Congress, which is in the Opposition in the state, accused the government of “deceiving” unemployed youth with its decision on retirement age. It has demanded a “berozgari bhatta”, or unemployment allowance, of Rs 2,000 per month for such youth, emphasising that the decision will “deprive younger officials and employees from getting a promotion”, PTI reported.

The Berojgar Sena, a group of educated unemployed people, has also opposed the move. “Chouhan has deceived 1.5 crore educated unemployed youth of Madhya Pradesh by increasing the retirement age of state government employees,” said Akshay Hunka, the outfit’s chief. “This decision will harm the BJP. We will tour the entire state to apprise the youth about this. We will also take legal recourse.”