Business Bureau :
Pension is the differed wage. It has nothing to do with the contribution. Moreover, Central Government has decided the norms under Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. The employees prior to retirement were contributing as per the norms. It is the Central Government who changed the norms on its own. The pensioners are the sufferers ultimately.
ABOUT 20 lakh pensioners are getting minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month which is not sufficient enough to maintain even two persons family i.e. old husband and wife. The prices of most essential commodities are very high and increasing day by day. Whereas the amount of minimum pension has not been increased from the year 2014. The members of EPS 95 Scheme are constantly demanding to increase minimum pension up to Rs 5,000 plus Dearness Allowance (DA) at the rate of 17% being paid to other pensioners.
The DA has now been increased to 28% for pensioners of Central Government. The Central Government is keeping quiet on this issue for no genuine reasons excepting that the pensioners contribution under EPS 95 Scheme is less. The Central Government has to share Rs 6,401.90 crore in order to pay minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month. The Central Government can not bear more than that financial burden. The Government of India has introduced so many pension schemes in the recent past. There is no uniformity. Some are getting per month pension even more than Rs 50,000. They demand total exemption from Income Tax. As already mentioned above lakhs of pensioners are not getting need based pension. Pension is the differed wage. It has nothing to do with the contribution. Moreover, the Central Government has decided the norms under Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. The employees prior to retirement were contributing as per the norms.
It is the Central Government who changed the norms on its own. The pensioners are the sufferers ultimately. The Government has brought the ceiling. The maximum pensionable salary was restricted to Rs 5,000 which was subsequently enhanced to Rs 6,500 per month w.e.f. 2001 which is presently Rs 15,000. The pay i.e. Basic + DA is increased because of implementation of 7th Pay Commission but the pay ceiling is neither removed nor enhanced. The matter is now at present in Supreme Court. About 42 applications on this subject are clubbed and kept for hearing. Earlier the learned single Judge of Himachal Pradesh had directed that the appellant employees are entitled to the benefit of deposit of 8.33% of their actual salary in the Pension Fund irrespective of the ceiling limit.
This has been challenged by EPFO. The matter is pending in court since long time. Meanwhile, thousands of senior citizens have expired especially during second wave of COVID-19. At present Central Government is capable to resolve the problem on humanity grounds. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), single largest worker’s organisation in ‘Bharat’ has demanded 50% of last pay drawn salary towards pension or Rs 5,000 plus DA which ever is bigger. “I hope, Central Government without waiting for Court’s decision will take immediate action and give relief to needy senior citizens, so that they can enjoy peaceful life at the fag end,” said Vasant Pimplapure, All India General Secretary, Varishta Nagrik Parisang, BMS.