For most retired government employees, pension is often their only source of income. But it has come to light that the Maharashtra State Khadi and Village Industries Board (MSKVID) has not paid its share towards the pension fund for 60-odd employees. The MSKVID has, however, been regularly deducting the employees’ contribution towards the pension fund from their salaries, an RTI query by The Indian Express shows.
In 2005, the state government had introduced the defined contributory pension scheme for employees. The scheme entails a 10 per cent deduction from the basic pay and Dearness Allowance (DA) of the employees and a matching contribution by the MSKVID, with an interest rate of 8 per cent per annum.
However, the state Accountant General (AG), during an audit, found that the MSKVID had failed to pay its share towards the pension fund while the employees’ share had been deducted from their salaries. In all, the MSKVID has not paid its pension fund share for 61 employees, the audit found. These employees were appointed between December 14, 2007 and October 1, 2016. “The khadi board has deducted Rs 23,12,325 towards the contributory pension fund from the salary of the employees, of which Rs 16,80,000 was invested in fixed deposits,” according to the audit.
The AG noted that the MSKVID’s failure to contribute the employer’s share to the pension fund has not only resulted in non-observance of the state government’s directives but also deprived the employees of pension benefits.
Senior MSKVID officials admitted to the lapse but said they had written to the state government, seeking permission to make its contribution to the fund. “We need to divert some of our funds to make this contribution and that can happen only with the permission of the state government. The state government’s nod is awaited and, as soon as we receive it, we will make our contribution,” an official said.
The MSKVID’s failure to meet its contributory share towards the pension fund was a serious lapse on its part, said Gajanan Shete, secretary of the government employees’ union. “If the board fails to adhere to its commitment, it loses the trust of its employees and the general public at large,” he said.
Shete alleged that like the MSKVID, many other government institutions had failed to contribute their share to the pension fund. “We have brought this to the notice of the government but nothing has happened as of now,” he said.
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