15 Sep 2023  |   03:53am IST


Anil Kerkar

In 1995, when Congress Govt was in power and PV Narsimha Rao was Prime Minister of India, the Govt  was facing an acute financial crunch, when they eyed private sector where crores of people worked in organized and unorganized sector, Co-op Societies, Vidhut Boards, etc.

The then F M Manmohan Singh was sure to extract crores of rupees from these people by giving them some sort of promises and so his govt started a scheme called EPS95.

This EPS 95 (Employees Pension Scheme 95) was given wide publicity in newspapers and circulars were issued to the various concerned private sectors highlighting the benefits of the scheme. It was also said that the private workers/employees in other words members of EPS 95 would draw a huge pension after about 15 years (after retirement) which would surpass their Government counterparts.

In reality the Government at that point of time was playing a game with private sector workers. The Congress Govt wanted to somehow stick to power and this scheme which was supposed to be very beneficial to the workers (on paper only) became much more popular among the private workers which acted as a catalyst and provided ‘sanjivani’ to the Govt both in terms of money and votes.

Years later the corpus fund of EPS 95 was gradually growing in size but a meager amount was being transferred to the retiring employee’s accounts as pension. One side the corpus was increasing in size and on the other side unrest was also increasing among the retired employees. 

Then came the BJP (Modi government) in 2014 which was out to extract further advantage of the situation. In reality both the national parties proved to be the two sides of the same coin and I will say BJP proved to be worse than Congress because they are in power for last ten years and even after raising the genuine issue with the different ministers and after getting assurances from Hon Prime Minister twice, the pensioners are still at the receiving end.

The National and State Governments have started one or two pension schemes for the benefit of the poor elderly nonworking people and the amount the beneficiaries are getting is more than what EPS 95 pensioners are getting even after their contribution to the scheme.

We strongly feel that there should have been at least one person in BJP who is open minded, open hearted and open eyed, who could have explained to the union labour ministers and union Finance minister that we the EPS pensioners are not asking for any favors from the Govt. but we are requesting for our own money which is lying in the form of corpus and today it amounts to Rs 8 lakh crores plus.

Further as per the labour minister’s statement in Parliament he admits that Rs 75,000 crores had come into the fund as last year’s interest on the corpus and another Rs 63,000 crores had come in the form of contribution from the present working labour force.

And further on the question as to how much money government has spent in the last financial year on the pension of the retired employees who are over 75 lakh in number all over India? His answer is Rs 14,000 crores only.

By looking at the figures above, even a layman would say that this is total injustice being met out to the retired employees.

I would like to appeal through this article to the pensioners and the present workforce who are in service and contributing to the pension fund that the time has come for all of us to wake up and show our solidarity and fight for our justified rights as we are not asking anything from the Govt. coffers but from our own fund.


Idhar Udhar