Red signal delays pension Bill

New Delhi, March 23 | Updated: Mar 24 2005, 05:30am hrs
Succumbing to pressure of the Left parties, the government on Wednesday referred the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill to the parliamentary standing committee on finance. The Left parties, which are supporting the UPA government from outside, staged a walkout when the PFRDA was introduced in the Lok Sabha earlier.

"The government has decided to refer the Bill to the parliamentary standing committee on finance," minister of state for parliamentary affairs BK Handique informed the House.

Since the standing committee will take time to submit its report to the House, the Ordinance on the PFRDA, which was promulgated by the President on December 29, will lapse. The Ordinance, as per the constitutional requirement, should have been approved by Parliament within six months or within six weeks of convening of the House. The Ordinance lapses on April 8. The House, as per the schedule, will adjourn for recess on Thursday and will reassemble on April 18.

The Ordinance sought to set up an authority to regulate the New Pension Scheme (NPS) for government employees which have come into effect from January 1, 2004. As many as 40,000 government employees are already covered under the NPS.

Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have notified and introduced defined contribution pension schemes and intend to join the NPS. Other state governments have evinced interest in joining NPS when the architecture and mechanism of PFRDA is ready.