Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has accused the Centre of trying to sabotage the statutory pension system and impose the contributory pension system in its place. The Centre should revise the pension at the earliest, he has said.

Inaugurating a scheme launched by the Cooperative Department for distributing pension to employees of cooperative societies in the industries, dairy development, coir, fisheries, handloom and Khadi and Village Industries sectors here on Monday, the Chief Minister said that after collecting substantial sums as employees' contribution, only meagre amounts were being given as pension. The Rs.100 and Rs.150 given as Provident Fund pension was much less than the welfare pensions being disbursed by the State government. The welfare pensions have been hiked from Rs.110 to Rs.300.

About 10 lakh workers in shops and commercial establishments, two lakh labourers in small plantations and document writers have been included in the welfare pension scheme. The State government has the rare distinction of giving pension to farm workers. In this context, it can be construed that the Centre is exploiting workers in the name of the Provident Fund pension scheme. Though the scheme came into force 15 years ago, no steps have been taken so far to revise the pension. A strong people's movement is imperative for compelling the government to revise it, he said.

Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran, in his presidential address, said that 25,000 persons would be benefited by the scheme. The cooperative sector has proved its significance through creative intervention in various realms. On getting more support from the government, it would be able to fare much better, he said.

Industries Minister Elamaram Karim and Fisheries Minister S. Sarma distributed the pensions. Thiruvananthapuram District Cooperative Bank president S. Sundaresan, Cooperative Registrar Rani George and Cooperative Pension Board chairman P.P. Vasudevan were there among those who addressed the function.

Keywords: pension schemes

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