New Delhi: Government has approved minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000 under Employees Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS-95) run by the retirement body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Parliament was informed today.
The decision of the government would immediately benefit 28 lakh pensioners including 5 lakh widows getting less than Rs 1000 as pension every month. In all, there are 44 lakh pensioners under the EPS-95 scheme.
“Yes, Government has approved minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month to the pensioners under the EPS-95,” Minister of state for Steel, Mines, Labour and Employment Vishnu Deo Sai said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
According to the Minister, several representations have been received for enhancement of pension under EPS-95 and based on those, “government has approved minimum pension of Rs 1,000 to pensioners under the EPS-95.”
Earlier, Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had discussed the proposal with trade unions on June 24 and assured the government will take a decision within two weeks.
As per the proposal, pensioners were to get the benefit with effect from April 1 this year. The government would have to provide an additional amount of around Rs 1,217 crore to ensure a minimum pension of Rs 1,000 for 2014-15.
A senior official said the new government did not want to provide this entitlement merely for one financial year and wanted this to be implemented for all times to come. That is why the proposal was reviewed.
The proposal was already approved by the UPA government for the current financial year but could not be implemented as it was not notified.
However a senior EPFO official, when contacted, said that the body has not yet received any notification or official order in this regard from the Labour Ministry.
According to him, the government could formally announce this entitlement in the forthcoming budget on Thursday.
Besides, the EPFO is also awaiting government’s approval for enhancing the wage ceiling for organised sector workers under EPFO ambit to Rs 15,000 per month from the existing Rs 6,500. This was also approved by the previous government but could not be notified due to coming into force of the model code of conduct during that time.
The decision to increase basic wage ceiling to Rs 15,000 per month is expected to bring in 50 lakh more workers under the EPFO’s ambit.
The notification regarding the decision of the EPFO trustees to reduce administrative charges paid by employers to EPFO is also awaited. It was proposed to reduce administrative charges from 1.10 per cent of basic wage to 0.85 per cent.