Nearly 58 lakh Employees Provident Fund pensioners will now get medical benefits, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
“Regarding the pensioners, we are going to give the pensioners benefit under the ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation) to those who are retired pensioners. We will be providing all medical services to the retired pensioners. 58 lakh pensioners will be benefited,” he said.
Dattatreya was replying to a debate on a private member’s resolution moved by RSP member NK Premachandran on ‘Steps To Ensure Welfare of Employees Provident Fund Pensioners’.
A meeting of the EPFO Board on Thursday had on its agenda a proposal to provide health insurance scheme to pensioners of the Employees’ Pension Scheme through Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
Although the board agreed in principle to approve the proposal but a final call would be taken on this in the next meeting of the CBT.
Earlier, back of the envelop calculations done by ESI had estimated Rs 200 monthly premium per person for providing health cover under its scheme to the EPFO pensioners.
The proposal is aimed at providing health cover to EPFO pensioners, who get very little amount as pension and hence healthcare is out of their reach.
Hukum Narayan Yadav (BJP), while participating in the debate, demanded pension for farmers and agricultural labourers.
Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena) said unclaimed pension fund of around Rs 27,000 crore which has been deposited should be utilised for the people.
Ravindra Kumar Rai (BJP) said Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was of view that policies of the country should be according to the country and added the present government under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “we are leading the same direction.”
Contending that the present government wants to spread the ray of hope for those who are suffering from destitute, Rai said “We are not working for the political intent but with social ethos.”
He also suggested that in every district some amount should be kept aside for the needy which should be allocated to them when there is a need.
Pashupati Nath Singh (BJP) said the unclaimed fund of about Rs 27,000 crore lying with EPFO belongs to poor and it should be utilised to provide relief to the poor only.
Poor people due to lack of awareness or information about rules for drawal could not withdraw so it is lying unused with the the EPFO, he said.
The government has taken various steps to make India a pensioned society, he added.
Due to efforts of the government, the shift of PF fund from one organisation to other has become seamless, said Jugal Kishor Sharma (BJP).