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Centre releases Rs.2,000 crore for pension scheme

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New Delhi: The union government has released Rs.2,000 crore to the Employees’ Pension Scheme as its contribution for the year 2015-16, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya said on Monday.

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This is in addition to the Rs.250 crore contributed by the central government as grant-in-aid for providing minimum pension of Rs.1,000 to the pensioners of Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995, the minister said in a statement. The minimum pension for the EPS pensioners was increased to Rs.1,000 per month in September last year.

It is necessary to infuse additional amount by the central government to sustain the continuance of the minimum pension, the statement added. The contribution of central government is calculated at the rate of 1.16 percent of the monthly wages of the members contributing to the scheme. This is in addition to the funding by the employers covered under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, contributing 8.33 percent of the monthly wages of the members of the scheme.

(IANS)

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Rohith Vemula suicide: An ugly show of power-political nexus in India

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By Arnab Mitra

New Delhi: A student committed suicide in the wee hours of January 17 sparking a nationwide protest against political interference in the educational institutions. Rohith was a PhD student at the University of Hyderabad and he was expelled on the charges of assaulting an ABVP student in the University Campus.

This incident has its roots to a chain of events that spurted in August last year. Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), along with Ambedkar Reading Group, University of Delhi, Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras, ASA (TISS) in Mumbai and some concerned students from IIT Bombay had issued a joint statement condemning an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) attack on screening of ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hain’ and death sentence awarded to Yakub Menon. Later, ASA’s University of Hyderabad chapter organised a protest demonstration and according to a report they had assaulted ABVP leader Susheel Kumar.

But the University authorities became pro-active only after the involvement of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HRD minister Smriti Irani in this case and which led to a decision against five Dalit students including Rohith Vemula. The authorities asked the students to vacate their accommodation and their living spaces were also blocked.

As the incidence has flared up, questions have been raised regarding the involvement of Union ministers in the internal matter of the University. And it was quite shameful when the BJP spokesperson in a leading TV show said, “As Bandaru Dattatreya is the MP from Hyderabad, so he has every right to interfere in the University matter”. Supporting the statement a RSS leader said, “These students are anti-national and for that reason they were against the death sentence of Yakub Menon”.

Almost all the political parties tried to capitalize on Rohith Vemula’s suicide, including remote regional parties like AAP who have no presence in Hyderabad. They played politics on a young death, making it a Dalit issue. Unfortunately, politics will continue over Vemula and more so in the states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh since assembly elections are due.

Two issue emerge here: One, political interference in campus life. Second, as the  experience from the past tells, incidents of campus violence often become political in nature. “But do we need political interference in the educational institution, and are educational institutions for study or for doing politics?”, asks Dr. Santwam Sarkar, professor of International Relation, Jadavpur University.

Dr. Akansha Ganguly, a columnist of a reputed English daily says, “It is too shameful to understand that a student committed suicide on the force of a democratic union and its ministers and now everyone is doing politics on ‘Vemula’ and it will be a good object for some political parties to win the upcoming assembly election in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh”.

 

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Schemes introduced in three north eastern states by ESIC

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Aizawl: The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) would introduce health service schemes for workers in three north-eastern states, union Minister of state for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya said on Thursday.

The ESIC is a statutory body under the Labour and Employment Ministry to provide medical services to workers in the organised sector.

“The ESIC schemes, including medical services, would be introduced for workers in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Andaman and Nicobar Islands soon, thereby covering the entire country,” Dattatreya said in a meeting here.

He said that a 10-bed dispensary and 30-bed hospital would be set up in Mizoram by the ESIC.

“The union government is keen to resolve the problems of the north-eastern states through visits by central ministers to the region and by not sitting in national capital Delhi,” the minister added.

The ESIC operates its schemes in association with the respective governments of other north-eastern states.

The ESIC is an apex corporate body operating integrated social security schemes to provide protection to workers and their dependents in case of sickness, maternity and death or disablement due to occupational diseases.

Currently, about 186 lakh workers, or 67 percent of the country’s organised sector workforce, are covered by ESIC schemes.

During his two-day stay in Aizawl, the union minister held a series of meetings with Mizoram Governor Lt General Nirbhay Sharma (retd), Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla and the state’s labour minister Lalrinmawia Ralte and senior officials.

(IANS)