Staff Reporter

Many do not take the meagre amount under the scheme

Many receive pension amounts ranging from

Rs.4 to Rs.20 a month

Minimum pension of Rs.500 was promised to all

KASARAGOD: Seetha, a retired beedi worker who resides at Kallakkatta in the district, was shocked when she received the first cheque of her pension under the Employees’ Provident Fund scheme. A mere Rs.18. Similarly, many retired beedi and weaving workers in the district under the EPF pension scheme receive pension amounts ranging from Rs.4 to Rs.20 a month.

Provident Fund Pensioners’ Association State president K. Pavithran and general secretary T.P. Unnikkutty told a press conference here on Wednesday that the plight of EPF pensioners was so pathetic that many refused to accept pensions as the amount was paltry.

When the EPF scheme was implemented 13 years ago a minimum pension of Rs.500 was promised to all. But it had been cut down to Rs.265 later and now it was Rs.51 as per records.

Mr. Pavithran pointed out that the EPF pension was a contributory one, as part of the employer’s contribution to the Provident Fund went to the pension scheme. The government also contributed to the pension scheme. He pointed out that the association was at a loss to understand the reasons for lowering the EPF pension while all other non-contributory pensions had been increased. He demanded that the minimum pension under the EPF scheme be fixed at Rs.2,500 and dearness allowance be included in the pension scheme.

They said the yardsticks for fixing the pension were not reasonable. The Union government needed to hike its contribution to the EPF pension scheme.

Mr. Pavithran said the State conference of the association would be held at Municipal Conference Hall, Kasaragod, at 9.30 a.m. on March 29. Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes would inaugurate the conference. MLAs from the district and leaders of various trade unions would speak at the inaugural function.

The association leaders said they would organise strong agitations if the government failed to accede to their demands.