RAIPUR: The National Confederation of Ex-Employees Association (NCEEA) of Central government public sector enterprises (PSEs) has expressed strong resentment over the U-turn by the central provident fund commissioner to defer action on extending the the Supreme Court's decision on enhancement of monthly pension of retired employees.
The NCEEA has called the directive of the commissioner of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) “unfair” and against the apex court's October 2016 order.
Aswatha Narayan, convener of the NCEEA, has sought the intervention of minister of state for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya and said the retired employees under EPS 95 scheme should not be forced to go for litigation and face contempt of court for not honouring the judgment.
The Supreme Court has ordered that the benefit of higher pensions be extended to pensioners, after seeking return of the amount the employees may have withdrawn from their PF account. “The ex-employees are willing to do it," said Narayan.
Lakhs of ex-employees (EPS-95 pensioners), who had retired from PSEs (including Navratna and Maharatna companies), felt they were deprived of their due after they had devoted their lives to build PSUs and actually given 8.33 per cent
of their salary to the Employers’ Contribution. “Why are retired employees deprived of dignified life by denying them suitable pension?” they asked.
“In March, the CEO of the EPFO issued a circular to regional commissioners towards execution of the SC order. But on May 31, he abruptly decided to put his own order in a state of uncertainty on the pretext of seeking clarification from the EPFO’s central board of trustees. We are unable to understand the reason for denying the fair decision granted by the SC," said L M Siddiqui, general secretary, retired NMDC welfare association, Chhattisgarh chapter.
Siddiqui claimed that under the EPS-95 scheme there are around 55 lakh pensioners, of whom about 40 lakh are getting below Rs 1,500 per month and others a maximum of Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 per month.
J S Duggal, general secretary of Bhartiya Khadya Nigam Karamchari Sangh (ex-FCI employees organisation), termed the EPCO circular “contradictory and unjustified” and said it ignored the apex court's order. N K Premachandran, MP from Kollam, cited the order of the chief provident fund commissioner and said it was against the pensioners’ interests and a blatant violation of the SC verdict. Six-time Lok Sabha BJP MP Ramesh Bais in Raipur has assured the pensioners that he would take up the issue with the Centre and if needed will raise it in Parliament.