Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today assured the RSS-backed trade union BMS that his ministry is pressing upon the Finance Ministry with “all justifications” to uphold 8.8 per cent interest rate decided by the EPFO.
Dattatreya gave his assurance to a delegation of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which was protesting against the decision of the Finance Ministry to fix EPF interest rate at 8.7 per cent for 2015-16 lower than 8.8 per cent decided by retirement fund body EPFO.
“Today BMS held demonstrations at 46 EPFO offices throughout the country. A delegation met Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. He said all justifications are being given (to the Finance Ministry) to uphold the CBT decision (of providing 8.8 per cent rate of interest),” BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay told PTI.
BMS has also strongly protested against the Finance Ministry’s decision to over-rule the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) apex decision making body the Central Board of Trustees’ headed by the Labour Minister.
Earlier in February, the CBT had decided to provide 8.8 per cent rate of interest to its over five crore subscribers for 2015-16 a tad higher than 8.75 provided in previous two fiscals.
Later, the Finance Ministry ratified 8.7 per cent earlier this month which sparked strong reaction from the trade unions who termed it as an encroachment on the CBT.
As many as 10 central trade unions have decided to hold a day-long protest against the Finance Ministry’s decision on Friday. However, the BMS will not be part of that protest.
Earlier, the government had to face strong protests from unions on proposal to tax EPF and tightening of EPF withdrawals. The government had to roll back these two proposals after drawing flake from the formal sector workers.
The Labour Ministry has sought view of the EPFO on the issue before taking it up with the Finance Ministry for reviewing their decision of fixing 8.7 per cent rate of interest on EPF.