People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 18, 2007
National Pension Protection Day On March 7,
Sukomal Sen, secretary general, All India Government Employees Federation, K K N Kutty, secretary general, Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers and Sailo Bhattacharya, general secretary, All India Defence Employees Federation have jointly issued the following statement.
AS you are aware, the UPA government has been trying its best to get the PFRDA bill passed in the parliament. Due to the stand taken by the Left Parties in the parliament against the bill as it seeks to take away the existing social security scheme available to the government employees, they have not succeeded so far.
To by-pass the parliament and in a bid to project that the proposal has the support of all other than the Left parties, the government convened a meeting of the chief ministers and finance ministers of all the states on January 22, 2007. The states other than the three ruled by the Left parties naturally lent support to the proposal of the government. Emboldened by the majority view marshaled in the said meeting and despite the strong opposition recorded by the Left governments especially by Asim Dasgupta, finance minister, government of West Bengal, the government has decided to invest five percent of the funds (collected from the employees who were recruited after January 1, 2004) in stock exchange and the rest in annuities. It is quite evident that the very purpose of the bill is to make available the money of the workers for stock exchange operations. In other words, the government of the country facilitates the flow of hard earned income of workers (as also of the people) into the hands of the foreign and Indian entrepreneurs and speculators to amass profits.
The chairman of the regulatory authority in an interaction with the big capitalists had clearly indicated that the government would discard the parliamentary route for pension fund privatisation despite the opposition of the Left parties and would adopt the executive fiats to carry out the reforms. It is also reported that the regulatory authority has been asked by the government to select the pension fund manages and go ahead with the setting up of the required machinery. Asim Dasgupta, has made it clear as to why the Left parties oppose the bill and has nailed the lie perpetuated by the government that the pension reform had been necessitated due to the increasing outflow on account of pension liability of the government employees. He has also asserted that if new pension scheme is allowed to come into operation, the state governments would find it impossible to meet the additional financial burden.
In the background of these developments, we have decided to mobilise the central and state government employees and teachers against this illegal, arbitrary and atrocious decision of the UPA government to snatch away the pension benefits totally bypassing the parliament and shamelessly resorting to undemocratic methods. The affiliated organisations and units are requested to observe ‘National Pension Protection Day on March 7, 2007. In the state capitals, wherever it is possible, joint processions may be organised to submit memorandum to the governor and in all other stations massive rallies may be held. In Delhi, it is proposed to organise a massive dharna programme between 11.00 am to 3.00 pm at Jantar Mantar in which the employees working not only in Delhi but also of all the adjoining states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh will participate.
We request all concerned to organise campaign programmes throughout the country and ensure that the March 7, 2007 programme is carried out with massive participation of the employees. Reports may please be sent to the respective head quarters. We also appeal to all organisations of the Railway men and other sections of the working class to join this programme. (INN)