The government has paid Rs. 2,000 crore to the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS), to enable it to pay a minimum Pension of Rs. 1,000 to all those covered by the Scheme. About 50% of the existing pensioners under EPS were getting below Rs. 500 only as monthly pension.After the continuous demand of the Central Trade Unions, it was assured last year that at least a minimum pension of Rs.1,000 will be paid to all covered under the EPS. It is towards this that the amount has been released by the government.
The strong protest from the Central Trade Unions has compelled the government to take immediate action for the restoration of Rs. 1,000 as Minimum Pension to those in the EPS Scheme. Many of these EPS subscribers were getting much less than Rs.1,000 as pension. After sustained efforts of the trade unions, the government increased the minimum pension to Rs. 1,000 but for one year only, which is over by March 2015. The protest from the CTUs has some result. A cabinet note is being prepared for issue of orders for Rs. 1,000 as Minimum Pension in perpetuity. The orders should be issued before 30th April so that the existing pension is not reduced.
The government decision to suspend the earlier decision of Rs. 1,000 minimum pension to EPS holders is anti-worker, anti-pensioner and is strongly protested.
We demand the government to immediately restore the Rs. 1,000 Minimum Pension.
New Delhi, Apr 10 The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) today registered a protest against Employees Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) move to suspend the minimum pension of Rs 1000 and asked the NDA government to continue with the scheme proposed during the previous dispensation.
The UPA government had taken the decision to increase the minimum pension to Rs 1,000 for pensioners and widow pensioners under the Employees Pension Scheme 1995.
But, the retirement fund body’s has decided to suspended the minimum monthly pension scheme from this month, which will hit about 32 lakh pensioners.
“EPFO has issued circulars putting on hold the minimum pension. The CITU registers its strongest protest against this action of EPFO and Government of India,” CITU President A K Padmanabhan said in a statement.
Padmanabhan said the NDA government had in September 2014 decided to go ahead with implementation of the UPA dispensation’s scheme, but only uptil March 2015. The scheme sought to hike the pension amount to a flat Rs 1,000 per month for those who were getting lower amount earlier.
“Trade unions had at that time itself objected to this, pointing out that this limited order will be used against workers by stopping it at the will of the government. But, Government had assured it will not be stopped.
“The circular issued now by EPFO has raised serious concern among workers and pensioners on the intentions of the government, as it comes in the background of various retrograde changes proposed in EPF Schemes by it,” Padmanabhan alleged.
He asked the Centre to immediately issue orders for continuing with the minimum pension scheme.
The CITU also urged trade unions, workers and pensioners organisations to raise their voice of protest against this “unwanted” delay in the issuance of orders for continuation of the minimum pension.
New Delhi, Sept 25 In order to remove uncertainty over the payment of minimum Rs 1,000 monthly pension under the Employees’ Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS-95) beyond March 31, the government will amend the scheme to make it a permanent feature.
“When we have planned that (Rs 1,000 minimum monthly) pension will be given, then it would not be for one year. That would be done,” Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said when asked if there is a move to amend EPS-95 to make the entitlement perpetual.
The government order currently provides that the pension under the EPS-95 scheme, run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), will be implemented from September 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
In the present scenario, for paying minimum pension of Rs 1,000 under EPS-95, either the government would re-notify the decision again and again for a specified period or bring an order to make it a permanent feature of the EPS-95.
Tomar said: “We still have time to do that. The minimum pension will be an entitlement for a time-frame. You can ask about it if we don’t do it within the set time-frame (till March 31).”
The minister said that under the scheme around 32 lakh pensioner under the scheme who get less than Rs 1000 every month as pension would be immediately benefited. There are 49 lakh pensioners under the scheme at present.
According to him there are about 13 lakh pensioners under the scheme who get even less than Rs 500 every month as pension.
Marking the launch of a guaranteed minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month, the central government has decided to organise functions in every office of the EPFO across the country on September. EPFO has over 120 offices in India.
The minister said: “It has also been decided that in 37 locations, the Union Ministers will preside over the functions and felicitate the pensioners whose pension is getting increased.”
Among the union ministers who would be present at 37 different locations include Home Minister Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Kolkata), Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda (Manglore), Water Resource Minister Uma Bharti (Allahabad).
Labour Minister will attend the similar function at Gwalior. The list provides names of two union ministers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to preside over the function at Delhi in view of medical treatment of the former.
During this simultaneous launch of the entitlement, the EPFO’s field offices would have a separate time slot for redressing grievances of pensioners and pension claim applicants during the event.(PTI)
It is a victory for the Central Trade Unions and the Pensioners. The Minimum Pension for the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS-95) holders has been decided as Rs.1,000, as stated by Minister of State for Steels, Mines,Labour and Employment Shri Vishnu Deo Sai in a written reply in the Parliament on 7th July.
The Government has to issue the orders urgently. This will benefit about half of the 28 lakh pensioners, who are getting less than Rs.1,000 pension.
Along with that the assurance of the Labour Minister that the eligibility will be raised to Rs. 15,000 have also to be implemented by issuing necessary orders.
The Labour Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar assured the central trade union leaders who met him on 24th June that on the issue of increase in minimum pension and also raising the ceiling on Provident Fund Scheme to Rs 15000/-, decision will be taken by the Govt within two weeks time. Labour Minister also stated that his ministry’s priority will be to protect the interests of workers and he sought cooperation and help from all the central trade unions.
So far so good. The UPA government also assured the same earlier, but did not implement. Hope the new Minister will implement the same as assured. This decision will benefit lakhs of workers. At present many pensioners are getting below Rs. 100.
While the Central Government has issued orders after orders just before the general elections were announced and even has gone to the President for issue of ordinances for the corporates and the big business, it did not find time to issue orders on the Rs. 1,000 Minimum Pension for the EPF Pensioners. The CITU has denounced this discrimination and complete neglect of the working class by the UPA government. The full text of the Press Statement is given below:
New Delhi, March 15: The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces the anti-worker bias of the UPA Government which has not yet notified the increase in minimum pension of Rs1000/- under EPF-Pension scheme and enhancement of the ceiling of contribution and coverage which has been unanimously recommended by Central Board of Trustees of Employees Provident Fund Organisation on 5th February 2014 and sent to Government for immediate action on the same.
Demanding enhancement of the minimum-guaranteed pension under EPF scheme, the trade union movement has been agitating since last five years or so. This demand was one of the ten-point demands on which all the Central Trade Unions and National Federations have been conducting countrywide agitations and strikes from 2009. The Government committed to the Central Trade Unions for an early decision on the same in May 2013. Sometimes in third week of January 2014, the Govt came out in public to announce its decision in making a minimum pension under EPF-Pension scheme Rs 1000/- and raising the eligibility wage ceiling to Rs 15000/-. On 5th February 2014, in an urgently called meeting of Central Board of Trustees, the matter was discussed and the CBT made an unanimous recommendation on the same including its date of effect from 1st April 2014. And well before the election was announced on 5th March 2014, the Union Cabinet has reportedly cleared the recommendation for augmenting the minimum pension amount to Rs1000/- and the eligibility wage ceiling to Rs 15000/- by the end of February itself and again announced the same in the media. But unfortunately, no official notification has yet been made and neither the EPF office nor the Labour Ministry could yet throw any light on the fate of that decision.
It is being noticed that the Congress leaders have been making election campaign taking credit on the augmentation of minimum pension. But at the same time it is noted the UPA Ministers are pursuing overtime the Election Commission on behalf of their corporate and Business House partners for allowing them to announce FDI in multi-brand retail trade or increasing the price of natural gas and other decisions of corporate-interests. But any initiative to issue notification on increase in minimum pension amount under EPF-Pension scheme which is going to benefit 27 lakh workers in the lowest strata in particular, is not yet visible exposing the brazen pro-rich bias of the UPA Government.
CITU denounces such an anti-worker bias of the UPA Government and demands upon them to immediately issue notification in that regard on which the decision has already been taken and announced well before the election was announced. CITU calls upon the workers to launch united protest against such anti-worker attitude of the Government.
The meeting of the Cabinet held today, 28 February, has approved the proposal of the EPFO to fix the Minimum Pension as Rs. 1,000. This will benefit 28 lakh pensioners, who are at present getting less than Rs. 1,000 as pension. In certain cases, the pension is as low as Rs.10.These pensioners are part of the Employees Pension Scheme whose total number will be about 44 lakhs.
It is reported that the government will have to provide an additional grant of Rs. 1,217 crores to EPFO for implementation of the new decision.
It is reported that the government has decided to increase the minimum pension to Rs.1,000 for the pensioners under Employees Pension Scheme.This was a demand of the Central Trade Unions. At present many are getting pension less than Rs.500; even some are getting Rs.10 or Rs.20 per month.
It is also reported that the government had decided to increase the eligibility wage ceiling under EPF scheme from Rs. 6,500 to Rs. 15,000/-
We welcome the above decisions which have been the longstanding demands of the trade unions on which many struggles have been organised by the CTUs.