The draft agreement worked out for converting the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) into a company promises to retain its nearly 20,000 employees and protect their service and status.
The tripartite agreement says the company, Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd., will be wholly owned by the State government and incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956. Its highlights include a master trust to manage the money in the Provident Fund and pay retirement benefits and pension. The State government, the company and the officers and employees of the Board will sign the agreement. It is for re-vesting the functions, properties, interests, rights, obligations and liabilities of the Board with the government under sections 131 and 133 of the Electricity Act, 2003, and the Kerala Electricity Second Transfer (Re-vesting) Scheme, 2012.
Official sources told The Hindu that suggestions were pouring in from the employees’ unions to be included in the agreement. The draft had been circulated among them to elicit their opinion. Based on the feedback and suggestions, discussions would be held to modify the agreement, if needed.
The agreement spells out the terms and conditions of service of the employees related to promotions, transfers, wages, compensations and leave. The present system of bipartite negotiations will continue.
The State and the KSEB Ltd. will take steps to safeguard payment of pension, including dearness allowance, and other retirement benefits as on the date of re-vesting, along with periodic revisions.
The welfare measures as on that date, such as compassionate appointment, medical reimbursement, family pension, commutation of pension and voluntary retirement, will continue. This will apply for retired employees also. The employees will be paid gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
All accumulations in the Provident Fund account of the employees and liabilities in respect of gratuity and superannuation benefits will be transferred to the master trust. The company will issue 20-year and 10-year bonds to the trust to the unfunded liability of Rs. 7,584 crore and transfer the Rs. 688.3-crore balance in the General Provident Fund as on March 31, 2011. Another Rs. 524 crore will be funded through budgetary provision over the next 10 years in equal instalments. The government orders for it have been issued.
The KSEB Employees’ Welfare Fund will be managed in the same manner as at present. All agreements, settlements and liabilities will be honoured by KSEB Ltd. The Kerala Public Service Commission will continue making appointments, and the State shall ensure that the company fulfilled its commitments.