After violent protests, Govt rolls back PF withdrawal norms
Hyderabad: "The notification issued on 10th February, 2016 is cancelled. Now the old system will continue," Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said at a press conference here.
"I will take ratification from CBT (Central Board of Trustees of EPFO)," he said after violence rocked Bengaluru for the second day when garment industry workers torched several buses and attacked a police station protesting against the tightening of rules.
Giving reasons for the rollback, Dattatreya said, "The reason is the request of trade unions. The earlier decision (to tighten the PF withdrawal norms) was also taken by the opinion of the trade unions. Now, when the trade unions are requesting, then we have rolled back the decision."
Dattatreya said employees and workers need not have any misconceptions in the wake of the cancellation of the notification.
The decision would have barred withdrawal of the employer's contribution from the PF money till the age of 58 years.
Violent Protests in Bengaluru
Protesters pelted stones at Hebbagodi Police Station in Bengaluru and torched seized vehicles parked there, as the spontaneous agitation with no trade union leading it spun out of control.
Police said they had to resort to lathicharge and fire teargas shells to disperse violent protesters.
At least two Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses and one of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation have been set on fire, they said.
Incidents of stone-pelting on buses and other vehicles were reported from different parts of the city such as Bannerghatta and Jalahalli cross, as also near the Electronics City, the hub of IT firms.
Traffic jams were reported at various entry and exit points in the city like Hosur Road, which leads to Electronics City and Tumkur Road, which has a large concentration of garment units.
In a bid to assure the agitating workers, Union Minister Ananth Kumar, an MP from Bengaluru, said the right of unorganised and garment workers would be restored and appealed to them to withdraw their protest.
City Police Commissioner N S Megharikh said the situation was under control, but there "are some issues" on the city's outskirts.
"...we are at work, our officers are at the spot, reinforcement has already gone there. The situation is being brought under control," he said.
Workers opposing amendment to EPF Act have expressed fear that the new rule would take away their right over employer's contribution portion of provident fund till they attain 58 years.
Earlier in February, the EPFO had amended the EPF Scheme 1952 to tighten the various norms for withdrawal of provident fund including increasing age limit for filing such claims by retiring employees to 58 years from 54 years.
Besides, the EPFO had also restricted withdrawal of PF to own contribution of subscribers and interest earned on that, if the claimant has remained unemployed for more than two months. The member would be able to withdraw employer's contribution on maturity.
Earlier norms used to allow subscribers to claim 90% of their accumulations for investing in the scheme after attaining the age of 55 years.
Bengaluru: Two injured in police firing
Two innocent bystanders were shot by the police in Bengaluru, while trying to control the violent protests against the new PF norms.
18-year-old college student Preethi and an employee at a courier company, Manjunth have been injured in the firing and have been admitted in to a city hospital.
The police had resorted to firing when a wild mob tried to attack the Hebbagodi police station.
Preethi, who was returning home from college, was first one to be hit, and a second bullet injured Manjunath, who was waiting for a bus. Both were not part of the group staging the protests or the mob.
The present condition is stable.