New Delhi: Nearly 1 lakh members of a pensioners' body are set to stage a protest march to Parliament on Thursday, pressing for a set of demands, including Rs 7,500 minimum monthly pension.
The EPS-95 National Agitation Committee is pushing for a minimum pension of Rs 7,500 under the Employees Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS-95) for the retired staff throughout India. Currently, EPS-95 provides for a minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000, a statement issued by the committee said.
"We, the members of EPS-95, are on 3-day hunger strike at the head office of the Central Provident Fund Commissioner and after that, if our demands are not fulfilled, then we will start an agitation march on December 7 at the Ramleela ground to Parliament," said Virendra Singh, Chief Co-ordinator EPS-95 National Agitation Committee, in the statement. Of nearly 60 lakh pensioners under EPS-95, close to 40 lakh receive a sum of below Rs 1,500 per month and others a maximum of Rs 2,000-2,500.
EPS-95 is one of the social security schemes run by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). According to the pensioners' body, the issue has been raised in Parliament and discussed over two years. After prolonged discussions in Parliament, the labour minister announced the setting up of another expert committee on the subject, but the delay in taking a decision is hampering the livelihood of the 60 lakh old-age families, the body contended.
All-India EPS-95 Pensioners Sangharsh Samiti National Convener Commander Ashok Raut said, "Pensioners should get Rs 5,000 plus dearness allowance as minimum monthly pension till the demand of Rs 7,500 as basic pension plus DA is fulfilled." One of the other demands is to provide Rs 5,000 plus DA as an interim relief, considering inflation, given the Koshiyari Committee's recommendation of Rs 3,000 as a minimum monthly pension. Provision of free medical facilities to the pensioners and their spouses also formed part of the wish-list.