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Govt to 'risk' its very existence- Left
New Delhi | January 22, 2007 9:46:52 PM IST
 
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The Left parties today warned the UPA government that if it went ahead with its proposal to privatise the Pension Funds, it would be "risking" its very existence.

The Left parties' remark came in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's seeking states " nod to invest pension funds" in the stock market. Left said categorically that their MPs would vote against the Pension Bill as and when brought in Parliament.

The top leaders of the CPI, CPI(M) and Forward Bloc made it clear that they stood for " a single pension scheme" which would ensure 50 per cent of the last pay of the salary drawn of the government employee.

The Left leaders' assertion came after Dr Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram addressed the state Chief Ministers and Finance ministers on the issue here today at the Vigyan Bhawan.

Dr Singh and Mr Chidambaram made a case there also for allowing a multiplicity of pension products by a variety of agencies, permitting the funds accumulated in the Public Account to be invested on the lines of the non-government Provident Funds, among other things.

Talking to UNI, CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi said," The PM and the FM should realise that future of government employees and their savings can not be risked in the Stock market." " Any move to privatise the Pension Fund and handing over it to the private players will be resisted by the Left parties and the Manmohan Singh government should bother about its very existence before risking the future of the Provident Fund," they said.

The CPI leaders further made it clear that this was an" acid test for the government's relations with the Left." CPI(M) Polit bureau member and senior leader M K Pandhe said the left did not approve of a multiple Pension scheme." Paying pension to the employees, it is the responsibility of the government, which it wants to abdicate now. Where is the need for a separate agency for the purpose?" Mr Pandhe, who is also the CITU President, decried that the Prime Minister did not speak even a single word on the Left demand for a single Pension Scheme which, he said, would ensure 50 per cent of the last pay drawn of the government employee.

He said there was no justification in the contributory Pension Scheme as had been imposed on the employees since January 2004 whereby they have to contribute 10 per cent of their salary towards the funds collected in the Public Account, the CPI(M) leader said, The same should be diverted to the public Private Fund." This way the matter can be settled." CPI(M) Floor leader in the Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia said the Left had submitted a number of suggestions to the government in this regard." But the government seems to be out to privatise the pension Funds, which we will resist in and outside the Parliament." CPI leader D Raja wanted to know who would be held responsible and accountable if the funds invested in the speculative market were lost as had been the case in several foreign countries.

But Mr Raja insisted that the discussions with the government still remained " inconclusive." Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said any social security scheme had to be "defined" and could not be decided by the market forces.

UNI KSA RP GC1732

 

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