A Parliamentary panel today said the Labour Ministry needs to be more realistic in its demand for additional budgetary allocations and suggested to have a relook at the funds granted towards Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS) and arrears. The Standing Committee on Labour in its observation noted that the Labour Ministry kept a major component of budget allocation for 2016-17 for EPS and little was left for other heads. "Against the proposed allocation of Rs 8,351.69 crore, the ministry has been allocated Rs 7,188.38 crore including a provision of Rs 1,000 crore for Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) and Rs 4,771.18 crore for EPS," it said. It implies that only Rs 1,417.20 crore has been allocated to other heads like industrial relations, working condition and safety, particularly mines safety and accident analysis. The committee headed by parliamentarian Kirit Somaiya was particularly concerned that only Rs 27 crore was allocated for Directorate General Mines Safety, despite its mandate as well as recent incidents of mine accidents. Despite a major allocation towards EPS, the Labour Ministry said the grant is insufficient as there is an arrear of about Rs 6,942 crore payable to the EPFO from the government side, it added. "The committee apprehends that the calculations made for EPS require a relook since they feel calculations must have been done for all EPF subscribers irrespective of operational of dead accounts." Noting there was every possibility of cases where no claims would be filed by few subscribers the committee asked labour ministry to do calculations in a "realistic fashion". The committee asked the Labour Ministry to appear before it with calculations done afresh as a precondition before going to the government for release of fresh funds. With regard to coverage of workers under EPFO, it asked the ministry to bring all legally entitled workers, who still remain uncovered, under EPF scheme within a definite time frame. "The committee would desire to be apprised of the status of the scheme at the action taken stage." In cases of employment schemes PMRPY and Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMPRPY), the committee said though the performance was low in achieving targets due to late start of the schemes, consolidated efforts must be taken to accelerate pace of reimbursements to intended beneficiaries. Allocation under PMRPY was Rs 1,000 crore, however, it was downsized to Rs 200 crore later on.
In October 2016, Rs 124.95 crore and Rs 30 crore were transferred to EPFO on account of PMRPY and PMPRPY, respectively. The Panel noted that till January 3, 2017 only Rs 15,67,024 and Rs 2,30,930 were reimbursed to respective employees. Though the estimation of reimbursement was done for 1,25,000 employees, reimbursement was done only in 1,672 and 556 employees for both PMRPY and PMPRPY, it added.
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