Chandigarh, February 16- 44th Indian Labour Conference held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi constituted a Committee on Social Security under the Chairmanship of Haryana Minister of State for Labour and Employment Pandit Shiv Charan Lal Sharma.
The Committee in its meeting at Vigyan Bhawan today discussed various aspects and on the basis of detailed discussions, the following points emerged:-
1. There was a broad-based consensus that the wage ceiling for the application of EPF Act be increased from the present level of Rs. 6,500 to Rs. 10,000 or Rs. 15,000 as already applicable for the ESI Corporation. Similarly, the ceiling for workers covered under EPF Act be reduced from 20 to 10. However, Laghu Udyog Bharati was not agreeable to this reduction in ceiling of number of workers.
2. Minimum pension under the EPS 95 be increased to some floor level, which should not be less than Rs. 1,000, since a large number of workers receive pension, which is less than that provided by the State Governments for elderly people, which is normally in the range of Rs. 400 to Rs. 1000.
3. The PF Accounts be computerized urgently, so that the workers are able to avail the facility of PF transfer and settlement immediately. Smart Cards like RSBY be issued to PF account holders.
4. Minimum ceiling of 5 years of continuous service be reduced in case of gratuity and gratuity be made transferable in case of change of job by the employee.
5. The maternity leave under the Maternity Benefit Act be increased from the present level of 12 weeks to 24 weeks. This increased maternity benefits be made available only upto two children, while the lower limit be continued for more than two children.
6. Accountability on the part of organisations implementing the social security schemes be fixed in order to ensure that the beneficiaries receive the deliverables in time. Citizen Charters for these organisations be finalised early.
7. Amendment in the definition of wage is required in the EPF Act so as to remove the ambiguity with regard to splitting of minimum wages for the purpose of contribution.
8. It was fel that the fund of Rs. 1000 crore provided in National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is inadequate and it was broadly agreed that funds should be substantially increased either through imposition of cess or by increasing the corpus.
9. It was agreed that on the lines of National Social Security Board, State Social Security Boards must be constituted, as provided under the Act, by the end of the year. Some of the States viz., Karnataka, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have already constituted these Boards to monitor welfare schemes in their respective spheres.
10. Social security benefits be provided to Anaganwadi, Asha, mid day meal workers and other similar type of workers.
11. Unorganised sector must be brought under various social security schemes including health, insurance, education, pension, etc.
12. It was agreed that RSBY should be extended to all the unorganised sector workers to avail the health insurance benefits at the earliest.
13. There was a consensus that steps should be taken to provide OPD facility to beneficiaries under RSBY and generic medicines should be used and provided under this scheme.
14. Interest income of various social security funds created by the Central or State Governments be exempted from taxes.