Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SBT Staff Union calls for withdrawal of PFRDA Bill

The three-day national conference of the State Bank of Travancore Staff Union, which ended at Trivandrum on Monday, in a resolution urged the Union government to withdraw the Provident Fund Regulation and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill-2011 for participatory pension scheme to government employees.

It said if the Bill was passed, government employees who joined service after 2004 would not be eligible for the existing Central government employees' pension. This would also deprive the employees of Provident Fund and Gratuity benefits.

Under the new Bill, the government employees would have to join the participatory pension scheme as against the existing pension scheme based on basic salary and Dearness Allowance (DA).

The Bill is also for handing over the pension fund to private financiers that will be disastrous as there is no guarantee that the money would be returned to ensure reasonable pension to the retiring government employees, the resolution said.The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 is being introduced in Parliament to provide for the establishment of a statutory Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) to promote old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds, to protect the interests of subscribers of various pension fund schemes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24 March, 2011 and the same has been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on 29 March, 2011 for examination and report thereon.

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011, inter alia, provides for:
(a) establishing a statutory regulatory body to be called the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority which will undertake promotional, developmental and regulatory functions in respect of pension funds;
(b) empowering the PFRDA to regulate the National Pension System, as amended from time to time;
(c) empowering the PFRDA to perform promotional, developmental and regulatory functions relating to pension funds (including authorising and regulating intermediaries) through regulations or guidelines, prescribing the disclosure standards, protecting the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds;
(d) authorising the PFRDA to levy fees for services rendered, etc., to meet its expenses;
(e) empowering the PFRDA to impose penalties for any violation of the provisions of the legislation, rules, regulations, etc.

Originally, the Bill was prepared by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in 2005. But it was brought by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress in 2007. It could not be presented in Parliament as it was opposed by the Left parties on whose support the UPA government then survived. But now the Bill is brought by the UPA government with the support of the BJP.


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