Pension as deferred wage

April 8, 2019
Pension as deferred wage
This refers to your editorial “Regressive step” (Business Standard, April 8). In the recent past, courts are being forced to sit on judgment on issues which are not completely amenable to judicial discipline. As the subject matters will have something to do with the law of the land, judiciary faces a dilemma and first delays decisions, expecting the gravity of the issues fade out over time. Where this option is not feasible, listens to ‘both’ sides and pronounces either a strictly legal decision or where this is not possible, applies commonsense. Sabarimala, resolution of stressed assets of banks and now pension issue are examples for the goings on.
Centre need to take responsibility of coming out with comprehensive guidelines on pension system covering the entire workforce. For that, first, pension should be recognized as an essential social security instrument to be made available to all workers, to be funded by the employer. The concept of pension as ‘deferred wage’ should be accepted. The origin of the present chaotic status of the Indian Pension System can be traced to the dismantling of the central pension scheme in December 2003 through an Executive Order, with prospective effect from January 1, 2004 (giving a temporary respite to defence personnel).
It may not be possible to compensate for the losses suffered by the employees between January 1,2004 and today. But to minimize damage, GOI at this stage must cause a comprehensive review of Indian Pension System across government, public and private sectors, covering quantum of pension, funding modalities and responsibilities of various stakeholders in maintaining pension funds and payment of pensions.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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