Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government proposes to increase various welfare pensions for workers from next year, Minister for Labour and Excise P.K. Gurudasan has said. The quantum of increase in pensions will be announced by the Finance Minister in the budget for the coming financial year.

The Minister was speaking to the media here on Wednesday after receiving the report of the committee appointed to submit recommendations on improving the functioning of the workers’ welfare fund boards and merger of boards facing financial difficulties.

Mr. Gurudasan said the budget would also have proposals regarding hike in other benefits to the workers from welfare funds. The government would assist the fund boards which were unable to meet the expense for higher pensions and other benefits. Currently, the minimum pension was Rs.250 a month.

He said that the State government would continue to press the Centre to exempt the boards from income tax. The recommendation of the committee for merger of boards to improve their financial position would be considered for implementation.

The government would also consider reduction of the pension age for beedi workers to 50 years, considering their health problems.