Retirees demand EPS reform
After the recommendations of the Koshiyari Committee have gone unheard by the government since 2014, such as minimum pension of Rs 3000, Dearness Allowance (DA), an increment in pension every year, and medical facilities to the pensioners, in a wake-up call for all the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS) 1995 members of the private sector and semi-government pensioners, the Nivrut Karmachari Sangh in collaboration with Sarva Shramik Sanghatana will sit on an agitation to revamp the EPS for the benefit of the pensioners.
The purpose for the protest is to fulfill the demands which include — the implementation of Koshiyar Committee recommendations, raise the minimum pension to Rs 9,000, full pension to the spouse, provide medical facilities through ESIS, and make a provision for the pension in the annual finance budget. The agitation by Nivrut Karmachari Sangh and Sarva Shramik Sanghatana against the government to be held on July 5, 2018, at Shaskiya Vishram Grah in Thane to request the Prime Minister to look after the above concerns.
EPS 1995 Coordination Committee National President Prakash Yende stated, “Apart from agitating in front of collectors office in Thane, we will also protest at the Vidhya Bhavan in Nagpur and other parts of Maharashtra as well on the same day. We haven’t received any increment in pension scheme for last 23 years. Future Fund Organisation says that they have sufficient fund to allot for the pensioners but the Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangvar claims that they are facing financial issues so it is not possible to pay. Fund estimated should be about Rs 6 lakh crore but it is Rs 3 lakh crore.”
EPS 1995 is one of the social security schemes run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Initially, the Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995, was a family pension scheme but, later, it was converted into a regular pension scheme for employees who drew salary less than Rs 6,500 per month. Presently, around 5.5 crore employees are enrolled under the scheme and their contribution is 8.33 per cent.
However, the government is contributing only 1.16 per cent. As on date, approximately 36 lakhs retired employees are getting pension under this scheme. Out of them, more than 30 lakhs get less than Rs 1,000 per month and more than 25 lakhs pensioners get less than Rs 500 per month. This is too meager amount particularly when some states are giving pension at higher rates than this to the elderly under their old age pension schemes.