Monday, May 20, 2013
Petitions’ Committee of the Rajya Sabha,
Sub: Suggestions to improve the pension benefits to the EPS 95 existing pensioners
(retirees) - Reg.
I humbly submit the following suggestions to the committee for positive consideration and favourable recommendation.
At present, 41 lakh retired employees (pensioners) get pension under EPS 95 scheme. Of this, 28 lakh get less than Rs.1000/- per month and 25 lakh get less than Rs.500/- per month. Some are getting even less than this. Most of these pensioners are employees worked in small establishments and companies not having their own comprehensive pension scheme. They are not organized as powerful pensioners’ organizations like L.I.C etc., to have a dialogue with the government or wage a legal battle for their just demands, hence they are suffering with token pension not sufficient to support their lives in the evening years of life. It is appropriate to make a mention here the observation of the Supreme Court in the case of D.S. Nakara Vs Union of India, in 1982, that (1) pension is neither a bounty nor a matter of grace depending upon the sweet will of the employer and it creates a vested right …….. (2) that the pension is not an ex-gratia payment but it is a payment for the past service rendered. (3) it is a social welfare measure rendering socio-economic justice to those who in the hey day of their life ceaselessly, toiled for the employer on an assurance that in their old age they would not be left in lurch. Further many state governments have launched a different social welfare schemes like old age pension, kisan pension etc., and giving Rs.1200 – 1500 per month as a social security cover. These are the section of the people who are non-contributors to any pension fund, whereas the EPS 95 retirees have contributed to EPF not only by giving their service life but monetarily too and unfortunately getting less than those mentioned above. In the case of EPS 95 existing retirees such social security cover is not adequate and pension sum is illogically low and causing disgusting to these retirees to receive such meager sums as pension. Substantial number of these pensioners are receiving pension amount less than destitute and old age pensioners. Further the pension once fixed is not updated periodically like state government pensioners or central government pensioners as and when the wages are revised for their employees. Hence the pension is stagnated for ever. Moreover there is no provision for these pensioners to get Dearness relief (DR) like other pensioners which is linked to consumer price index (CPI), and DR is provided @12 to 13% pa for the state government pensioners and 14 to 16% to the central government pensioners, as such in the absence of any Annual Relief, the real purchasing capacity is touching to the zero level with the vagaries and ever increasing inflation in the market. State should be duty bound to ensure that the retirees at super old age should live Healthy and in a decent way not otherwise like orphans just to live. Adequate provisions are made in various articles of the constitution of India in this respect.
Hence AISCCON& its ally Bharat Pensioners Samaj propose the following :
1. Minimum pension to be paid to the existing pensioners/future retirees should be Rs.3000/- per month. Or 50% of minimum wage of the Central Govt.which ever is more
2. Annual relief by way of DR to be allowed linked to CPI (Market inflation) as in the case of central/state government pensioners.
3. Ceiling limit of wages to be revised from Rs. 6500 to Rs.20000/-. This should be applied for the existing pensioners also.
4. Any improvement made in the pension sum for the existing employees should be made applicable automatically to all the past pensioners, since pensioners are homogeneous group and they cannot be divided on the name of cut-off date. All the past pensioners are to be brought in par with current pensioners. This had been upheld by many Supreme Court judgments whether it is in D.S. Nakara case or recent SC Civil Appeal Nos. 8848 – 8849 of 2012 between Kallakkurchi Taluk Retired Officials Association, Tamil Nadu and state of Tamilnadu.
Finally, I suggest the personal hearing may be allowed by the representatives of AISCCON &its Alyy Bharat Pensioners Samaj, to explain the case further.