The Labour Standing Committee of Parliament, headed by veteran Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, has decided to examine pension schemes for unorganised sector workers. This is in addition to subjects such as functioning of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), with special reference to operation of the EPF pension scheme, which are already selected by the panel. The panel has also decided to review various employment generation programmes run by the Centre.

A member in the panel said the decision to include additional subjects was taken after representations from trade unions and the general public.

"The panel will study the welfare pensions run by the Centre and the States. Several such pensions are not provided properly. For example, there are complaints that the welfare fund of construction workers is being misused. Workers are unable to withdraw their money when they are in need. Pensions are delayed in several States," a member in the panel said.

He said the panel will do an assessment of all such pensions.

"There are complaints even against government pension. If delayed for moths, pension for unorganised workers has no meaning. We will also look into the demand for universal pension for all workers," he added.

Minimum EPF pension

The panel had recently urged the Union Labour Ministry to sit with the Union Finance Ministry on the issue of not increasing the minimum EPF pension to ₹2,000 from ₹1,000.

"We had decided to consult various stakeholders in increasing the minimum pension. Discussions on this issue will begin now although we had a preliminary discussion on the matter when we discussed the demands for grants," the member added.

The panel had discussed various employment generation programmes during the discussion on demands for grants. The panel will study each and every scheme and it's efficacy, another member said.

"The committee has desired that measures for economic reactivation follow a job-rich approach, backed by stronger employment policies and better resourced and comprehensive social protection system. International co-ordination on stimulus packages and debt relief measures, especially for MSMEs, will prove to be very critical to the multi-pronged approach towards effective and sustainable recovery," the panel said in a recent report on unemployment.