EPFO considering minimum pension of Rs1,000 per month

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According the the EPFO, if this two year bonus is withdrawn, the exercise of fixing minimum pension at Rs1,000 would be a revenue neutral exercise besides pensioners getting about 5% relief.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.


About 10 lakh bank employees to go on strike on 22-23 August

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

Around 10 lakh bank employees and officers working in 27 public sector banks including State Bank of India (SBI) and 12 old generation private sector banks and eight foreign banks will resort to two days nationwide strike on 22nd and 23rd August, says United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). UFBU is the umbrella organisation of five employee unions and four officer unions of state-run banks in the country.
The Chief Labour Commissioner has called the bank union on 21st August for a conciliation meeting on strike notice, the statement added.
The UFBU said it is against the proposed banking sector reforms, unilateral imposition of the Khandelwal committee report and want appointment on compassionate ground. 
"The banking reform measures are retrograde but the government is still pursing the same and hence our protest," the statement said.
The Banking Laws Amendment Bill, 2011, which is before Parliament, contains provisions such as raising of shareholders' voting rights from 10% to 26% in private banks and suppression of bank boards.
There are about 87,000 branches of public sector banks across the country. The state-owned lenders control about 75% banking business.
UFBU is opposed to recommendations of the Khandelwal Committee which was appointed by Central Government to suggest changes in Human Resource policies in the banks. Here are the points raised by the UFBU...
1. From 1950s, we have common wages and service conditions.  Now, this committee has recommended Bank specific wage structure based on profitability, productivity etc.
2. All these years we have uniform wage and service conditions.  Now, the committee wants introduction of fixed and variable pay concept.  A portion of wage will be fixed and balance will vary according to performance.  This is impracticable in the banking sector and will result in division of employees and promote sycophancy.
3. The committee has also recommended that settlements with unions on transfer of employees to be reviewed and to give free hand to the managements to transfer employees from place to place.
4. The Committee has suggested 50% of officer vacancies should be filled directly from the market instead of promoting clerks.  This will seriously affect the career of employees.
5. The report says that minimum qualification for appointing a clerk should be graduation.  All these years, matriculates are eligible to join the Banks.  Now, lakhs and lakhs of such unemployed youth will be deprived the opportunity.
6. Similarly, so far, the qualification to join the banks as peon / class IV employee is 8th Standard failed.  The committee says that it should be matriculation.  This is also absurd.
7. The Report says that Banks should not make any appointments in the urban areas but workload in the banks warrants the same.
8. The committee has suggested outsourcing of all the regular bank jobs which is unfair labour practice.  
"All these measures are anti-employee and anti-trade union and they are targeted to attack collective bargaining. Further overlooking the settlement the Government is giving unilateral guidelines on various service conditions. UFBU is opposed to such unilateralism," the bank unions have said.
UFBU would held massive rallies in all district places and cities across the country. "In Mumbai there will be rally at the Azad Maidan on 22nd and 23rd August, said Vishwas Utagi, general secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). 

Nine unions, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation Of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation Of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation Of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation Of Bank Officers (NOBO) have given the call for strike under the UBFU umbrella.


Economy & Nation Exclusive
Social groups, others also targeting UPA over CAG report on coal

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.




4 years ago

Mr.Chidambaram, the then and Presant Finance Manager in his Press Conferance to enlighten Indians Directly as Parliament is not functioning,stated that out of 57 allotments Coal is Lifted in only one Block and Hence Where is the LOSS ?.It is shocking for Audit / Finance Professionals, as Loss is Estimated based on Coal Blocks alloted and their Capacities.Mr.Chidambaram is misleading Indians by NOT Cancelling those Allotments and then telling about Loss but estimating loss on Coal lifted till now eventhough Coal Can be Lifted for Entire Lease Period till Cancelled.(2)FM also shows 5 Letters of 2005 and says BJP opposed Acutioning and hence alloted by nominations.7 years passed since then.FM did not say subsequent developments for swiching to auctioning.Political 1st reaction by 5 out of 30 states can not be convinvincing Reason.(3)FM did agree that Govt.Wheels are Dead Slow in its Movememt. PM is telling Administrative Reforms from 2 Deacades.No Progress at all.(4) SC's Cancellation of 122 Allotments of 2G Spectrum can be taken as Guideance and Coal Allotments Cancelled(5)Coal Minister Jaiswal's statement that 3 Different Legal Opinions are received is not an Excuse for 8 years Delay.(6)PM's Defence may not be a Political Slippery.(7)JPC & PAC are no use ,as our Politics do not aloow them with correct Reports,as Proved in 2GM scam case ,As SC gave its Interim Orders of Cancellation long back but JPC enquiry is yet Out.(8)Our Politicans are making a mockery of our Democracy.


4 years ago

I doubt whether PM will take any direct responsibility. If it was any other country , PM would have resigned.


4 years ago

The initial response from government spokespersons to the latest revelations in reports of CAG has been on expected lines. First, CAG has exceeded his brief. Then, all his presumptions are not right. Third, even if some findings have some basis, losses are not as huge as are made out. Fourth, and that is the icing, in the given circumstances, there were not many options as several departments/ministries were slow in decision-taking. To the total discomfort of the government, this time around, it looks media is not buying the government story (Remember the zero-loss 2G Spectrum story of Kapil Sibal which was initially swallowed by a section of the media!).
What Vinod Rai has done is just to sharpen the tools of audit by infusing expertise into his team and by training and educating cadres down below making it possible to set priorities and ensure perfection bringing professionalism in the performance of audit function. If similar initiatives had come from heads of departments in government and CEOs of public sector and statutory organizations, the agony the present UPA II government is now going through would have been much less.
Vinod Rai’s approach to audit is consistent with the changes that have happened in the law and practice of accounting and audit and the reforms in the CAG’s office brought about by him and his predecessor, who understood the post-LPG (Liberalisation-Privatisation- Globalisation) scenario better have started paying dividend.
The present political leadership is the ‘who’s who’ of the rich and influential class which has its own constituency interests to protect. We are heavily dependent on government’s other arms like CAG, judiciary and regulators like RBI to come to rescue when extraneous compulsions force government departments and public sector organizations to misappropriate or divert public funds to the advantage of their masters or greedy corporates and individuals. Beyond fighting corruption and black money, ensuring ethical practices in managing nation’s resources and public funds should become a national priority.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


4 years ago

some more shocking info here


4 years ago

Greenpeace is one such social organizational working on this issue. #CoalScam

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