The Petition Committee of Rajya Sabha, headed by Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommended for increasing the contribution of Government from existed 1.16 to at least 8.33 per cent so that the minimum pension for contributors of Employees Pension Scheme, 1995 can be ensured Rs 3,000 per month. The Committee also noted that keeping wage ceiling of Rs 6500 for more than 10 years hurts the pensioners. Hence the Committee strongly recommended that wage ceiling should be enhanced immediately in such a manner without any adverse effect on the scheme like taking a five year or three year wage average. By this the pension amount will significantly improve and grievances on the quantum can be reduced.
The Committee’s recommendations came on a petition filed by BJP MP Prakash Javadekar who said in the petition that presently, about 36 lakh retired employees get pension under the Employees Pension Scheme, 1995 but more than 30 lakh of them get less than Rs 1000 per month. Not only this, more than 25 lakh of the employees get even less than Rs 500 per month. As of now, more than 55 million employees contribute 8.33% of their wages but Government contributes only 1.16% thus making a mockery of the whole pension scheme. The result of such a negligible Government contribution is disastrous and injustice for the workers who contribute.
Unabated price rise have made the lives of general public even more wretched. The industrial workers after superannuation are quite unable to maintain the same standard of living. Usually, the money received through PF or Gratuity by a retired worker is dried up to meet the expenses towards education and marriage of children or for constructing a small house. The money with which he has now to pull on is the pension, the amount of which is so meager that a family cannot survive with it.
The Committee noted that the EPS is the only financial assurance to retired workers and their families, especially to low and medium level wage earners and failure to strengthen the scheme has undone the very reason for instituting it.
The Committee during the course of its deliberations interacted with the petitioners, representatives of Ministry of Labour and Employment and some organisations/individuals who have submitted their memorandum to the Committee.
The Committee is of the view that the Government being the scheme sponsor has to play its role instead of passing the blame on Central Board of Trustees (CBT), Employees Provident Fund Organisations (EPFO) for lack of consensus. The Committee felt that while it is necessary to urgently intervene in the matter of EPS-95, problems cannot be solved in isolation unless comprehensive review of EPS and Employee Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) Schemes are also done. The Committee found the current EDLI programme to be overfunded.