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Railway unions ready to pledge PF fund to stop FDI

Railway unions ready to pledge PF fund to stop FDI
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Railway unions in the 17 zones across the country including the South Central Railway Mazdoor Union (SCRMU) have offered the government the Rs 10,000 crore Provident Fund (PF) deposits of the employees to tide over the financial crunch.

The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) and the All India Railwaymen's Federation (AIRF) have been opposing FDI in Railways and have proposed to the government to utilise the PF fund instead of going for FDI

Hyderabad: Railway unions in the 17 zones across the country including the South Central Railway Mazdoor Union (SCRMU) have offered the government the Rs 10,000 crore Provident Fund (PF) deposits of the employees to tide over the financial crunch.

Ch Sankara Rao, general secretary, SCRMU asked, “Where is the need for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) when there is enough money in the PF fund. The Indian Railways has a social obligation to society. The welfare concept would be lost once FDI comes in. The common man would not be able to travel.”

He further argued that the Indian Railway Finance Corporation borrows funds at 10 to 15 per cent. At present the interest rate given by the government for PF fund is 8.5 per cent. It would be wise to utilise the PF fund instead.

The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) and the All India Railwaymen's Federation (AIRF) have been opposing FDI in Railways and have proposed to the government to utilise the PF fund and instead of going for FDI. The Indian Railways employs 14 lakh employees who are on regular rolls, including 88,000 employees of South Central Railway (SCR).

The Railways is incurring a loss of 23 paise for every km travelled by a passenger. In 2001, it was 10 paise loss per km travelled. Srinivas, a member of SCR Employees Sangh said, “There are three lakh employees who fall under the new pension scheme who contribute 10 per cent of their monthly salary towards PF. This itself amounts to a huge sum.”

The new pension scheme was introduced on January 1, 2004. The employees recruited before 2004 contribute 8.33 per cent of their monthly pay towards PF.

By:T P Venu
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