Ministry declares Amnesty schemes for ESIC, EPF

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma


Opportunity for defaulting firms to declare correct employment figures and ensure social security to more employees

HYDERABAD: Union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya announced two amnesty schemes from his department, one for the ESIC – Employees State Insurance Corporation and another for the EPF – Employees Provident Fund, to clean up the existing records of litigations.

Addressing a press conference at the State party office here on Sunday, the Minister said in that in both instances there were scores of court cases pending for years and in several others demurrages have also been filed for wrong or under reporting of number of employees working or contributions made.

Fresh registrations of the firms and the employees working under it can be made from December 20 till March 31, 2017 and once done all the existing old records would cease to exist with the Labour Ministry dropping all the legal proceedings and demurrages hitherto in the records, he explained.

Fresh start

“We want to give another opportunity for the employees and employers to start on a clean slate as this is a matter of social security and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us the necessary instructions,” he said and pointed out that the Ministry had already increased the eligibility for ESIC from Rs.15,000 a month ceiling to Rs.21,000 a month to benefit more labour.

The amount paid to Insured Persons (IPs) was enhanced to Rs.3000 a month from Rs. 2150 plus grants to ESIC hospitals was hiked to Rs. 3500 crore from Rs. 2500 crore for improved healthcare. With the strengthening of the ESIC and EPF Acts, the Government was confident of getting good results after the amnesty schemes.

Under the EPF there were about 8.80 lakh organisations registered and there were many cases stuck in various courts for years, hence the amnesty scheme to ensure more working class persons come under its ambit.

The EPF Central Board of Trustees which is slated to meet in Bangalore on Monday would also be deciding on the interest rate to be paid after a tripartite meeting between the employers, trade unions and Central and Government representatives. Last year the Board had put the interest rate at 8.8 per cent per annum.

Maternity Benefit Act

The Minister also regretted that the Maternity Benefit Act which has been passed with “much difficulty” in the Rajya Sabha has been stalled due to the Lok Sabha not transacting any business this season. “Every political party has supported it as women workers get 26 weeks paid leave as against 12 weeks when pregnant. Unfortunately, despite having a majority we could not push the Bill through though it was first on the table,” he said.

Mr. Dattatreya squarely blamed the Opposition, especially the Congress party, TMC and Left parties for disrupting Parliamentary proceedings and said running the House was “not the responsibility of Government alone”.

He also appreciated the TS and AP Governments their “positive atmosphere” in handling the aftermath of demonetisation of high currency notes and promoting cashless transactions. The department had also helped open 18 lakh bank accounts for workers across the country.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 3:18:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Ministry-declares-Amnesty-schemes-for-ESIC-EPF/article16900652.ece

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