There are 8.5 crore PF subscribers all over the country, says board member

The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is steadfast in its demand for payment of Rs.3,000 a month as ‘minimum pension’ and linking it to D.A., according to member of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) M. Jagadeeswara Rao.

Mr. Rao, who is also all-India secretary of BMS, is the only member representing north coastal Andhra on the CBT. The present board, which has a term of five years and was constituted in May 2008, has 10 representatives from various trade unions as trustees to oversee the implementation of the PF scheme and protect the interests of PF subscribers. Mr. Rao was nominated in place of M.P. Patwardhan, who died in September 2009.

There are 8.5 crore PF subscribers all over the country. They include those working government, private and public sector organisations besides contract labour. The Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) of 1995 does not guarantee a minimum pension for the pensioner after retirement, but when the pensioner dies his wife would be get a minimum pension of Rs.450 a month. The eligibility for pension is a minimum continuous service of 10 years.

“It’s ridiculous that subscribers who had put in 10 years or more of service were sometimes getting a meagre pension of Rs.9 a month. Acting on pressure from Parliament and from the CBT, a committee was formed which, in 2011, had recommended payment of Rs.1,000 as minimum pension. BMS had rejected the recommendation and sought it should be fixed at Rs.3,000 besides linking it to D.A. to cover the inflation,” Mr. Rao told The Hindu on Monday.

When the government was paying a minimum pension of Rs.25,000 a month to elected representatives like MLAs, MLCs and MPs throughout their life without collecting any contributions from them, there was no reason why an employee who had put in 10 years or more of service and had contributed a considerable amount during his service couldn’t be paid Rs.3,000 a month.

It’s a different matter that even the Rs.1,000 recommended by the committee was also not implemented to this day.

Free health cards

Pension and medical aid are the prerequisites for any person in their old age. Unfortunately, most organisations do not provide medical benefits to their employees after retirement. “An amount of Rs.10,000 crore is available as reserve under the Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLIS). It was calculated that provision of health cards to pensioners will require not more than Rs.900 crore. The funds available under EDLIS could be used to provide health cards to pensioners.” Mr. Rao said.

He said that a resolution was passed at the Indian Labour conference to this effect and based on it the CBT had also discussed the issue. The Labour Minister was in favour of the health scheme for EPF pensioners.

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