THE CITU denounces government’s inaction in addressing the problems of Employees Pension Scheme (EPS) - 1995 and the pensioners despite the continuous persuasion by the pensioners’ organisations, and trade unions.
At the time of introduction of EPS 1995, the CITU opposed the scheme almost single-handedly since it offered much less benefits compared to contribution made by the workers throughout their service life. The matter went up to Supreme Court and the then government could get the approval of Supreme Court for the scheme by showcasing number of benefits being offered like commutation of pension and return of capital etc.
But soon, all those benefits viz., commutation and return of capital have been unilaterally withdrawn by the government ignoring the opposition of the trade unions including CITU. Those pensioners who could avail the commutation of a part of their pension plan as per the then prevalent rules are still facing deduction in their pension amount even after the entire commutation amount is fully realised. Such illegitimate deduction from the concerned pensioners, even after they have paid back the full commutation amount is happening despite repeated pointers by the trade unions and pensioners.
Even after prolonged persuasion by the trade unions, minimum pension under EPS was made Rs 1,000 and the same was notified in 2014. But even this was not implemented properly and lakhs of pensioners are still getting much less than Rs 1,000.
Even the clear direction of the Supreme Court over pension calculated on the actual pay at the time of superannuation, provided they agree to contribute to pension fund as per their actual pay, is being violated by the government. Through EPFO, it is denying such benefits to the workers under exempted establishments despite resistance from the working people.
Recently, the Kerala High Court has delivered a judgment on October 12, 2018 which has struck down most of the anti-worker amendments in EPS 1995 unilaterally imposed by the government aiming at substantial reduction in pensioner benefits. This judgment has been given in response to a set of petitions by pensioners and their organisations.
The Modi government, as usual is moving to deny the benefits of the Kerala High Court award by pushing the entire matter to further litigation which is condemnable.
The CITU demands that the government and EPFO should accept the Kerala High Court Judgement and also implement fully the earlier Supreme Court judgement on higher pension to all without any exception including those in exempted establishment’s category. The government should also restore the unilaterally withdrawn benefits and also implement pending decisions of the CBT, which are beneficial to pensioners.