Scope and EPFO Advocacy

SCOPE has always cherished a dream of becoming relevant. It’s for the PSUs and their employees to voucher whether it has progressed beyond its tall nose. NewsIP brings to its esteemed readers a report of the proceedings of yet another mundane venture. If it appears to be a bit boring and short of any relevant information regarding actual discussions or suggestions, initially, well it has been taken from the circulated press release. Obviously a news agency cannot transcend the boundaries of the release shared with it.

As part of furthering its capacity-building interventions and creating unique opportunities for dialogue, the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) organized an interactive session between Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) and Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) at SCOPE Complex, New Delhi. Shri Atul Sobti DG, SCOPE; Shri Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay, Vice Chairman, SCOPE and CMD, Goa Shipyard Ltd. and EPFO team led by Shri R.M. Meena, ACC(HQ) addressed the session. The engaging interactive session between PSEs and EPFO officials was also webcasted live, and deliberated upon fostering a transparent, collaborative approach in managing employee welfare schemes with a special focus on EPS 95. The session had a participation of over 1000 participants virtually and 150 Senior officials in person attended.

Well readers are definitely justified if they have a sense of indignation. Why so many seminars on PF under aegis of SCOPE? How many have been conducted in the last 8 to 10 years or even before? What’s the fascination? Or is it to gross over the shortcomings and lack of foresight? Why not many seminars and sharing with the Press on improving Safety, Health( including Mental Health), Employment Opportunities, Inclusiveness, lack of representation of Directors on the Board, SCOPE views on privatization etc ?

The burning topic of enhanced Pension, under the EPFO Act, ordered by the Supreme Court and the delay in implementation has been given a go-by. Last financial year the Labour Minister had said that there was no budgetary support of the same. Pray has such support has been provided for this year. As regards exercising of options by incumbents nothing further than routine enquiries has taken place.

The beneficiaries are a defeated and forlorn lot today! Their plight at the twilight of their life is pathetic. Promises held out for pensions after retirement have not only not been fulfilled but many times it’s a laughable amount which is being doled out. Forget about the pain which the rigmarole of giving a Yearly Live Certificate etc. required to claim it, brings about. And interestingly not many young employees covered under EPFO have opted for enhanced Pension, showing their lack of trust in EPFO.

The digitization of EPFO records has created more problems than solving it. There was a noteworthy suggestion at one point of time that EPFO should work on lines of Banks and give it’s incumbents Pass Books for a transparent, easy-to-relate records. Nothing has been done on such doable suggestions. a body of employers it’s duty is to care of the interests of employees not federations which have been brought by statutes and who may seek publicity on its account. Without relevant information sharing there is a lack of transparency and trust.

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