The Labour Ministry has sent a proposal to the Finance Ministry to fix minimum pension of EPFO subscribers at Rs1,000 per month, irrespective of their contribution towards the scheme
New Delhi: Subscribers of the retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) may soon get a minimum monthly pension of Rs1,000 after superannuation, if a proposal in this regard is cleared by the Finance Ministry, reports PTI.
"Labour Ministry has recently sent a proposal to the Finance Ministry to fix minimum pension to the EPFO subscribers at Rs1,000, no matter what their contribution is towards the scheme," a source privy to the development said.
On the recommendations of the EPFO, the Labour Ministry has proposed to the Finance Ministry to either withdraw the two year bonus given to subscribers on completion of 20 years of service or bear additional burden of Rs539 crore every year for fixing minimum pension of Rs1,000.
At present every subscribers who completes 20 years of service is given benefit of additional two year bonus while tabulating his or her pension.
According the the EPFO, if this two year bonus is withdrawn, the exercise of fixing minimum pension at Rs1,000 would be a revenue neutral exercise besides pensioners getting about 5% relief.
However, if the Finance Ministry does not go for this alternative, the government would have to shell out Rs539 crore every year in addition to its existing payout of Rs994 crore annually for contributing 1.16% of basic pay and DA to the pension fund.
According to data, as on March 2010, there were 35 lakh EPFO pensioners of which 14 lakh get a monthly pension of less than Rs500.
The number of EPFO pensioners getting a monthly pension of Rs1,000 is seven lakh. The data reveals there are cases where pensioners are getting a monthly pension as low as Rs12 and Rs38.
Employees from around 47 banks are planning to go on a two-day strike on 22nd-23rd August to protest the proposed reforms in the banking sector and outsourcing of jobs
Several social groups have been asking the Prime Minister to take responsibility of the coal gate and other financial scams as the head of the UPA government
Apart from the main opposition party, social group and others are also reacting to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal. While some members of erstwhile Team Anna has threatened to file public interest litigation (PIL), Medha Patkar-led National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has demanded resignation of the Prime Minister as it feels that the United Progressive Alliance has lost its mandate. Lok Satta Party, on the other hand has suggested imposition of windfall profits tax on private players which profit enormously from the allocation of public natural resources such as coal.
NAPM, in a statement said, "In the Coal scam too the government is trying to convince the nation, that the coal sale should not be treated as a commercial proposition. The government’s version is that cheap coal to corporates will boost power generation which is necessary for growth. As the 2G scam has proved it is impossible to fool people this time. It's time UPA government and its leadership faced to the reality and put its house in order. Prime Minister must explain and own responsibility for the same."
Instead of indulging in allegations and counter-allegations over the CAG report on allocation of coal blocks, Lok Satta president N Jayaprakash Narayan appealed to political parties, Parliament and the Government to consider imposing a windfall profit tax on private players. Narayan said allocation of coal blocks to private parties for captive mining could not be faulted, as the public sector Coal India has failed to meet the demand for coal and forced the country to spend precious foreign exchange on import of the fuel. The shortfall was as much as 100 million tonnes a year, he said.
According to CAG, the difference between cost of production and market price in 2010-11 worked out to Rs295 per tonne. As the difference fetched undue returns to private parties, the Government could legitimately levy a tax on such windfall profits. Britain had imposed such a tax when it allocated natural gas blocks in the North Sea, he said.
A windfall profits tax is a higher tax rate on profits that ensue from a sudden windfall gain to a particular company or industry.
Meanwhile, some members of erstwhile Team Anna threatened to file a PIL in court and carry out a referendum to "expose" the UPA on coal block allocations if the government does not constitute a special team to probe allegations.
"We demand cancellation of allotments of coal blocks. Lodge FIR, constitute an SIT, failing which we will file PIL in court and carry out referendum on the issue to expose the government," Kejriwal told reporters after a meeting of India Against Corruption (IAC). Prashant Bhushan was also present in the meeting.
According to NAPM, the CAG estimate of loss of Rs3,700 crore in the Delhi Airport issue looks like pittance before the mega scams of coal gate and ultra mega power plants. "But what the report exposes is the massive favouritism and bending of rules to benefit the corporations through models like public-private partnership (PPP). It is a matter of extreme concern for the nation since there is a massive attempt at pushing PPP as the favoured model of work in every sector now. It is no wonder that government is openly pushing for land acquisition for PPP projects under the new Land Acquisition Bill. We completely oppose any such move and demand that there is a need for now to audit all the major projects implemented under the PPP scheme," the NAPM said.
The CAG, in its report submitted in the Parliament has estimated "undue benefits" of over Rs3.8 lakh crore to private parties in coal blocks allotment without bidding, Delhi airport development and diversion of coal to a power project.
The CAG, however, brought down the estimated loss in the allocation of 142 coal blocks since July 2004 from Rs10.7 lakh crore in the draft report to over Rs1.85 lakh crore being the benefit to private allottees.
The beneficiaries of coal block allocation included Essar Group, Jindal, Adani, ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel.
The CAG has estimated a potential earning capacity of Rs1.63 lakh crore to Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) when it was given Delhi airport land on a concessional lease. The CAG was also critical of allowing Reliance Power to divert coal meant for Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh to its other plant, thereby giving it a benefit of Rs29,033 crore.
The CAG was also critical of allowing Reliance Power to divert coal meant for Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh to its other plant, thereby giving it a benefit of Rs29,033 crore.