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WAITING FOR PANEL REPORT IN OCTOBER FOR MINIMUM PENSION HIKE: GOVT - The Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

New Delhi (PTI): The Labour Ministry will take a call on the demand for increasing the minimum monthly pension of Rs. 1000 under the Employees' Pension Scheme 1995 after receiving report of the high-powered committee in October and settlement of writs related to it in the apex court. Central trade unions have been demanding an enhancement of the minimum monthly pension under the scheme to Rs. 3000 and also to index it (linked with inflation). "We are expecting a report of the high-powered monitoring committee in October. There are 21 writ petitions in the Supreme Court on the issue. We will consider it after receiving the report and orders on writs," said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal on behalf of Labour Minister Santhosh Kumar Gangwar in the Rajya Sabha while replying to an oral question. He informed the House that the committee has already held three meeting and the proceeding on the matter is also on in the Supreme Court. The minister also informed that the pension calculated under the scheme (at present wage ceiling) may be more or less than Rs. 2,500 per month depending upon the pensionable salary and years of service.

The pension entitlement was implemented from September 1, 2014. The government has been shelling out additional funds to providing this entitlement which gave relief to over 40 per cent pensioners under the scheme. The minister informed the House that there were as many as 62,42,807 pensioners under the scheme as on July 20, 2018. Replying to demand of increasing government subsidy contribution of 1.16 per cent of basic wages to 4 or 5 per cent, the minister said all these aspects would be considered after receiving the report of the committee. The high-powered committee was constituted under the chairperson-ship of Additional Labour Secretary with Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) Central Provident Fund Commissioner and employees' and employees' representatives among others.  ' The EPFO runs this pension scheme along with provident fund and insurance for its over 6 crore subscribers. The EPFO has invested Rs. 6,11,354.42 crore in debt and Rs. 32,127.41 crore in equity and related investments at cost value. On increasing investments in stock market, the minister informed the House that investments are reviewed time and at present the body invests 85 per cent in debt and 15 per cent in equity linked scheme (mutual funds). TOI, 1.8.2018

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