The plight of the pensioners regarding determination of pensionable salary exceeding the statutory wage ceiling limit was brought into focus during a meeting of the retired employees of BHEL and its schools who are getting pension from Employee Provident Fund Office in EPS-95 Scheme under the banner of EPS-95 Pensioners Group. The meeting was held at the Community Centre at Shivalik Nagar.
The Haridwar MP and former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ chaired the meeting which was attended among others by MLA Ranipur Adesh Chauhan, president of Senior Citizen Forum, Uttarakhand Sarvesh Gupta and general secretary, Varisht Nagrik Kalyan Parishad, Shivalik Nagar, L S Rawat.
Explaining the issues involving the EPS-95 Pension Scheme, Alok Sinha, convener of EPS-95 Pensioners Group, Haridwar, said that all the pensioners of EPS-95 Pension schemes are entitled to enhanced pension on their actual salary drawn at the time of retirement and not on a ceiling of Rs 6500/- as being paid at present.
Notably, EPFO, after taking approval from the Union Ministry of labour and employment, had issued a circular dated March 23 2017 to all its regional offices to implement the same.
However, it is alleged that on May 31 2017, Mahesh Kumar, the regional provident fund commissioner, Circle-1, without any approval to alter the approval granted by Central Board of Trustees and decision of the Ministry of labour and employment, issued an erroneous, inequitable and discriminatory interim advisory to all the field officers to restrict the benefit to the pensioners of only “Un-exempted establishments” and to deny the same to the pensioners of exempted establishments” just on the wrong plea that in ‘R C. Gupta and others’ case, petitioners happened to be from the “un-exempted establishments”.
The allegation runs that he ignored and suppressed the facts that the apex courts orders dated Mach 31, 2016 were related to two special writ petitions and the petitioners were from an exempted establishment.
Besides, it is said that some benefits had been allowed by the EPFO to the pensioners of at least nine exempted establishments.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha on different occasions, said Alok Sinha. Speaking to The Pioneer, Sinha said, “A memorandum has been submitted on behalf of the group to MP Haridwar, requesting him to take up the matter with the Union Minister and further request him to ensure the compliance of assurance given by his predecessor on the floor of House. We seek justice from the Government and save the senior citizens from running from pillar to post and engaging themselves in litigations in their old age. The EPFO must withdraw the advisory issued on May 31 2017,” he said.
‘Nishank’ while replying to the request of the group assured all help and cooperation in this matter. He further assured that the matter would be taken up with the Minister concerned in no time.