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Friday, April 10, 2009

New Pension Scheme - “An Election Gimmick ” criticized by Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)

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The following is the statement issued by the
Centre of Indian Trade Unions on March 30, 2009.
The New Pension Scheme announced by the Pension Regulatory Authority as reported in the media, is essentially meant to benefit Pension Fund Managers and boost the share market by utilising workers’ hard earned money.
The permission, if granted by the Election Commission to release the scheme does not alter its character of an election gimmick to hoodwink the workers and give electoral advantage to the UPA government.
The Pension Regulatory Authority has no statutory backing since the authority has been constituted without even passing the pending pension bill in parliament.
The new pension scheme does not specify what rate of pension will be available to the workers since it would be decided by the share market operation. The government is going ahead with such scheme despite strong opposition of the entire trade union movement. The scheme is supposed to cover all workers but the annual contribution of Rs 6000 makes it limited only to those who can afford to provide Rs 500 contribution per month. The new pension scheme will be in the hands of private sector managers who may swindle workers money.
The CITU therefore calls upon the trade unions and the working class to oppose the scheme that is no more a social security measure and only benefits the unscrupulous pension fund mangers in the country.
CITU also urges upon the Election Commission not to allow a fraudulent scheme to be announced by the government of the day under the cover of PFRDA to mislead the people in violation of the model code of conduct.

CITU QUESTIONS THE AUTHORITY OF THE UPA GOVT
The CITU strongly denounced the decision of the government of the day to impose a high natural gas price regime in the country by giving a clearance to the “Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement” (GSPA) for supply of natural gas from Krishna Godavari (DG D6) basin to fertiliser and power companies including PSUs which would in turn lead to higher price of power and fertiliser, at the cost of public exchequer in terms of tariff and subsidy.
It questioned the authority of the UPA government sans its alliance partners at this stage to take such decision which will have long term implication of bench marking a gas price at double the present rate of administered gas price of public sector companies like ONGC and OIL. The inequitable GSPA, totally loaded in favour of RIL-NIKO Group, the contractor, assigned to produce gas from KG D6 under a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with government of India, is violative of the Article 297 of the constitution of India which mandates the benefit of such natural resource to the people of India and not to production sharing contractor. This mandate can only be ensured after the election.
The CITU therefore demanded that government should not finalise the GSPA till formation of a new Lok Sabha which will scrutinise the GSPA. It also demanded that to meet the present acute shortage of gas, GAIL India Ltd, the nodal PSU for distribution of gas, should be asked to distribute KG D6 gas at the rate arrived through a global tendering in 2005 by M/s NTPC at 2.34 dollar per million BTU (British Thermal Unit) vis-à-vis the rate of 4.20 dollar per million BTU now being imposed through GSPA by RIL-NIKO Group.



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