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The government will constitute a high-level committee to revamp the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS) and any gaps would be plugged, Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told the Lok Sabha today. He also informed the House that in association with Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), the government is going to formulate a medical benefit scheme for all the pensioners who are members of the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF). This will be a contributory medical benefit scheme, Dattatreya said, adding its details are being worked out. "As a minister, I have directed that a complete valuation of EPS 1995 be done. I will see to it that a high-powered monitoring committee is formed and I will take cooperation from members to have a complete review of the scheme," he said. "We will revamp the scheme.
Whatever gaps are there, will be plugged," the minister added. He was intervening on the resolution moved by RSP leader N K Premchandran on steps to ensure welfare of 59 lakh pensioners under EPS. "The government is very sensitive and pro-worker government and all the aspects of the scheme will be looked at," Dattatreya said. He said EPS ensures minimum pension to the employees besides providing benefits like health and housing. On demand of restoration of pension commutation, the labour minister said the issue would also be looked at by his ministry. Premchandran also demanded increase in minimum pension to Rs 3,000 from Rs 1,000 per month under the EPS scheme. He also pitched for implementation of welfare scheme for pensioners by including housing scheme by utilising the unclaimed provident fund amounting to about Rs 27,000 crore. In his response, the minister said, "Members asked about the health, housing and other benefits. As far as our PF subscribers are concerned, our prime minister has launched a programme called housing-for-all. He has appealed that housing-for-all should be there by 2022. "In that perspective, EPFO is formulating a new credit- linked subsidy scheme for housing for the EPF subscribers." Under this scheme, he said members can form a cooperative society and they will be eligible to avail the scheme. On providing health benefits to the workers, he said the ministry is considering a model benefit scheme for all pensioners who contribute to Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). He also said the ministry has issued instructions to all field officers to ensure that pension is credited into accounts on the first working day of every month. After assurance from the minister, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar requested Premchandram to withdraw his resolution which the RSP member did.