In some cheer for over 8 crore formal sector workers, the Union Budget next week is expected to announce the long-pending minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000 for members of the Employees’ Pension Fund.
In addition, an announcement on increasing the monthly wage ceiling from Rs 6,500 to Rs 15,000 for mandatory contributions to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation is also on the cards in the Union Budget on July 10.
According to official sources, the two proposals that were approved in February, will be notified immediately after that. Without a formal notification, the measures can not be implemented.
Though the previous government had approved the proposals, they have been stuck in limbo ever since and have not been notified because of the model code of conduct that was in place for the elections.
Union labour minister Narendra Singh Tomar had earlier this week also said that the two proposals would be implemented within a fortnight.
A higher wage ceiling for the EPFO is expected to help atleast 50 lakh workers who will get access to retirement benefits while the Rs 1,000 monthly pension will immediately benefit 28 lakh pensioners.
Meanwhile, the NDA government’s revival of pending labour law amendments is also expected to find a mention in the Budget, though the Bills to the effect will only be moved later in the year, possibly during the Winter Session.
“The Budget will be keenly watched by investors and it will indicate the government’s interest in liberalising decades old labour laws. But the process has to follow due consultation and the amendments can only be tabled after four to five months,” said a senior government official.
Over the last two weeks, the labour ministry has brought out of cold storage a large number of pending Bills including amendments to the Factories Act, the Minimum Wages Act and the Apprentices Act.
It is also working on a National Employment Policy as well as doing away with visits by physical checks by labour inspectors through an online portal for filing and monitoring compliance to labour laws.