There was a reason for joy for the Tricity pensioners as the Union Minister of State of Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh, introduced a scheme of minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000 on Tuesday.
On the occasion of a pensioners’ felicitation ceremony held at DAV College, Sector 10, Dr Jitendra distributed the enhanced pension to all those who were earlier getting meagre amounts like Rs 200, Rs 265 and Rs 450. Nearly 20,164 pensioners of Chandigarh, out of a total of 36,553, will now be benefited from the scheme.
The number of beneficiaries all over the country is more than 32 lakh, out of a total of 49 lakh. Dr Jitendra informed that to make this scheme successful, the Union government will have to contribute an additional Rs 1,200 crore per year to the Employees’ Pension Fund. “The interest of employees has always been dear to the Union government. It is because of the same that the wage ceiling of the social security schemes of EPFO has been raised from Rs 6,500 per month to Rs 15,000 per month.” He added that the maximum benefit admissible under Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI) has also been increased from the earlier amount of Rs 1.3 lakh to Rs 3.6 lakh. “The pension increase will not be restricted to the year 2014-15 alone. Steps are being taken to ensure that the pension amount never gets decreased,” he said.
On the occasion, Dr Jitendra mentioned various welfare initiatives taken up by the government, namely the Universal Accounts Number (UAN) project, online filing of pension claim, an online transfer claim portal(OTCP), online registration of establishments and members’ passbook.
The minister informed that through OTCP, transfer of PF accumulation from one account to another while changing jobs has become smooth. “Earlier, there used to be complaints from EPF members on the difficulties faced by them in getting their EPF money transferred from old account to a new one. But this initiative will bring down a large number of grievances,” Dr Jitendra added.
Talking about the plans in regard to senior citizens, Dr Jitendra also said that the government will conduct workshops for them where they could share their problems with the authorities. Second, the government will begin pre-retirement counselling and post-retirement engagement. In pre-retirement counselling, people will be helped to mentally prepare themselves for retirement, while in the post-retirement engagement, arrangements will be made to help adjust people in some job, along with an honorarium.