Left no to Pension Bill, says Patents Bill needs more work

New Delhi, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2005, 05:30am hrs
While the Left parties registered their strong opposition to the introduction of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2005 in the Lok Sabha on Monday by staging a walkout, the debate on the Patents Bill too had to be deferred following objections from the Opposition. The Left parties also have come up with a few more objections, which need further discussion.

Speaking to mediapersons, CPI-M leaders Basudeb Acharia and Mohammad Saleem said that the Left parties had been against the new pensions scheme, which was introduced in January 2004, from the beginning.

The Bill, which provides for the establishment of a pension fund (PF) regulatory authority which will undertake promotional, developmental and regulatory functions in respect of PFs, also empowers the authority to regulate the new pension scheme (NPS).

Saying that it would go against the interests of lakhs of employees for whom the pension fund is the only social security available, Mr Acharia said that they were also opposed to the provision that the fund would be used in the stock markets.

Meanwhile, the government was also forced to defer the debate on the Patents (Amendment) Bill, which was expected to take place in the Lok Sabha on Monday for a day.

Although last week the Left parties had said that they were hopeful that the amendments that they had been seeking would be incorporated, and that they were inching towards a consensus, they now feel that more discussions are required.

The Left parties had demanded 12 amendments, of which seven had been accepted by the government, while discussion on the remaining five amendments were going on. These included issues related to non-inclusion of seeds and micro-organisms in the Patent regime, infringement of patent safeguards and pre-patent opposition.

Now, it seems that some of the amendments already agreed to by the government have not been included, leading to opposition from the Left parties. However, Mr Acharia said that discussions were going on and an agreement was expected soon.