M A I N   N E W S

Govt in bind on EPF interest rate
Left, UPA allies join Oppn protest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Left parties and several UPA allies joined the Opposition in Parliament today in demanding the restoration of 9.5 interest rate to EPF, thus putting the government in a bind.

The cut in interest rate to 8.5 per cent by the EPFO, they said was “anti-people” and resulted in an uproar in both Houses with UPA allies like NCP, RJD, DMK joining the Left parties and the NDA-led Opposition in registering their protest.

As they were planning to stage a walkout, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned the House till two in the afternoon.

Raising the matter after Question Hour, CPI floor leader Gurudas Dasgupta, said the government’s announcement was shocking and anti-people adversely affecting about four crore workers both in the organised and unorganised sectors.

He said the government should immediately roll back its decision as only Rs 700 crore is needed to give the interest rate of 9.5 per cent.

He said the Labour Minister should have made the announcement in Parliament and not outside it. He is not even present in the House to give any clarification.

Voicing serious concern in the Lok Sabha, Gurudas Dasgupta said: "The present government may kindly understand that trade unions and Left parties will no longer be a stamping machine of the government".

Several members on the Opposition benches also supported the demand made by the Left parties and said a suitable legislation should be made to protect the interest of workers.

Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour, CPI(M) member Dipankar Mukerjee said his party was giving a "friendly warning" to the government not to throttle the interests of the workers especially when there was no social safety net in the country.

He was joined by not only Left members but opposition BJP, TDP, AIADMK and Samajwadi Party.

The Left party members also demanded that government bring in a legislation at the earliest to protect the interests of unorganised labourers who are holding a demonstration in Parliament Street.

AIADMK member N Jyoti who said that if the CPI(M) felt strongly on the issue, all it has to do was to march to President A P J Abdul Kalam and withdraw support to the UPA government so that a good government could come to power at the Centre.



PM may hike EPF rate by 0.5 per cent
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
The cut in EPF interest rate is expected to dominate the Indian Labour Conference beginning here tomorrow, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, even as the government agenda has several contentious issues like bringing in amendments to various labour laws to enable labour flexibility and hire and fire policy.

Central trade union leaders, who put the government in the dock in Parliament today over the issue, are expected to raise the matter during the tripartite conference.

Indications are that the Prime Minister could announce half a percentage point hike in the EPF interest rate to 9 per cent. However, this amount would be down from last year’s rate of 9.5 per cent.

However, such an announcement could be sustained only if the government extends budgetary support to the additional requirements.

The 40th session of the ILC will also discuss the plight of agriculture sector workers covering their service conditions, social security, and benefits.

The conference will also discuss amendments in the Minimum Wages Act 1948. The agenda note, circulated to trade unions, said: “The ministry of commerce has suggested that industries in special economic zones, export processing zones and 100 per cent export-oriented undertakings be declared permanent public utility services for improving the investment scenario in the sector.”

It said: “At present any increase or reduction (other than casual) in the number of persons employed or to be employed in any occupation or process or department or shift is treated as a change in service conditions and a notice to the workman is to be served. As a result of this provision, the employer is not able to re-deploy manpower easily to enhance productivity and efficiency of the establishment. It is therefore proposed to delete this provision.” The government’s agenda note said the provision contained in the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 which deals with closure or retrenchment in industrial establishments employing not less than 100 workmen has to obtain prior approval from the appropriate government.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |