Panel studying plan to hike minimum pension under EPF

R. Yegya Narayanan Coimbatore | Updated on November 15, 2013 Published on November 15, 2013

Encouraging words: Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Kodikunnil Suresh (left) having a word with president of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, R.R. Balasundaram at a function, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, in Coimbatore. — M. Periasamy   -  The Hindu

The Union Cabinet has appointed a sub-committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to go into the issue of enhancing minimum pension to Provident Fund subscribers to Rs 1,000 following opposition from the Finance Ministry to the proposal, according to Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment Kodikunnil Suresh.

Speaking to presspersons on the sidelines of a meeting organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, here on Thursday evening, he said the Employees' Provident Fund Trust Board had decided to enhance the minimum monthly pension to Rs 1,000, which subsequently was referred to the Union Cabinet for approval.

But the Finance Ministry objected to this proposal on the ground that raising the minimum pension to Rs 1,000 would lead to an additional burden of Rs 1,100 crore a year which the ministry was “not ready to take”.

The Union Cabinet has appointed a sub-committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, and including secretaries of a few other departments like Finance and Labour, which is finding a “way out”.

NPS, PF pension scheme merger

Asked when the committee was likely to submit its recommendations, Suresh said: “We need a political decision” since the Finance Ministry “was totally objecting to PF pension” and was in favour of a new pension scheme.

He said the labour ministry was not for merger of the PF-linked pension scheme with the National Pension Scheme. This view is shared by the trade unions also.

Pointed out that there has scarcely been any revision in the pension paid under the scheme since launch in 1995 and many of the PF pensioners were getting less than what the Government was paying as old age pension, the Minister said he agreed with this view. He said “everywhere we are getting representations” to enhance the PF-linked pension amount.

Wage board

On the issue of implementation of Majithia Journalists Wage Board Committee's recommendation against which newspaper owners have gone to the Supreme Court, the Union minister said “we are pursuing the Supreme Court to expedite” the case and the Labour Ministry has also appointed an advocate to appear in the case. He said “we are very much for journalists, we want to implement the Majithia Committee Report” but the employers are objecting to the implementation.

ESI medical colleges

With regard to opening of the medical college of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation of India (ESIC) in the city that is nearing completion, Suresh said that the approval of Medical Council of India would be sought in January. Plans are to start admission from the next academic year after the approval. The college is coming up at Coimbatore at an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and the existing 300-bed ESIC hospital is also being renovated and would be upgraded to a 500-bed hospital to meet MCI’s norms.

ESIC’s medical college at KK Nagar in Chennai has begun admission from the current academic year. Already more than 7 ESIC medical colleges have come up in the country and another five would open in the next academic year. Besides, in the Ayanavaram ESIC hospital in Chennai, construction work to provide for facilities for PG courses was under way, he said.

Published on November 15, 2013
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