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CPM to take up EPF issue with PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
The CPM politburo meeting is in favour of taking up the EPF issue with the Prime Minister as 1 percentage point cut in the rate of interest would drastically affect the four crore subscribers especially the old ones who are about to retire.

The politburo has also expressed its opposition to the privatisation of pension fund or investing it in the stock market.

The party’s highest decision-making body Central Committee would discuss the recommendations of the politburo for the next three days.

Talking to reporters on the daylong deliberations of the politburo, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said the pension fund should not be privatised or invested in the stock market. “The government should have control over this statutory benefit”.

Mr Yechury said legislations like those to grant tribals the rights over forest land, problems of the small scale industry and to set up the pension fund regulatory authority would also be discussed at the three-day meet of the Central Committee beginning tomorrow.

Asked to comment on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that the government would throw open Kolkata and Chennai airports’ modernisation process through the public-private mode, Mr Yechury asked, “Where is the proposal? Let them complete this (modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports) first, then we will see”.

To the same question, West Bengal Chief Minister and politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee just said “I have spoken to the Prime Minister on modernising the Kolkata airport. He did not elaborate on this.”

“While there is no question of allowing FDI in retail, the government will have to review its decision on EPF,” he said.

On the government’s move to allow FDI in the retail sector, veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu said already two meetings with the PM in this connection had taken place. However, he refused to divulge the details while hastening to add that these would be placed before the Central Committee members for discussion.

The party would also deliberate on the strategy on how to protect workers right to strike for those in the IT sector, he said, adding that the services could not be equated with the call centres. “This is of course, a new phenomenon. It needs thorough discussion.”

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