Labour welfare schemes put on hold

Despite the UPA government announcement of schemes aimed at workers’ welfare, apparently to woo them ahead of the general elections, none of them have been operationalised.

Racing against the March 5 announcement of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls, the government had announced three major schemes — a minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000, higher salary ceilings for mandatory provident fund and health insurance benefits.

“Either the government issued notifications to implement any of them or it sought the Election Commission permission to go head with its execution till today,” sources in the government told Deccan Herald.

The Centre announced the Rs 1,000 minimum monthly pension under the pension scheme run by retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which would immediately benefit 28 lakh pensioners.

Another proposal was to employers required to make provident fund contributions to workers with a salary of up to Rs 15,000 a month instead of Rs 6,500 at present.

Third one was to increase the salary ceiling for workers eligible to get Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), medical care and unemployment insurance benefits to Rs 25,000 per month from the current threshold of Rs 15,000.

The ESIC currently covers 1.7 crore employees while the EPFO has over 8 crore members. The higher salary ceiling for ESIC, which charges 6.5 per cent of an employees’ salary as a statutory contribution, is expected to bring 5 million new members into its fold.

Though these proposals were pending before the government over the years, it was hurriedly approved in February apparently to woo voters a head of the polls.

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