Kerala govt panel on contributory pension scheme all for it

Thiruvananthapuram: An expert committee on contributory pension scheme for Kerala government employees noted that withdrawing from it is not feasible. Significantly, it also proposed a mechanism to ensure that the government share and employees' contribution are remitted properly. It also mooted an online system to understand the variations in pension fund.

The panel also called for an increase in government’s 10 per cent share in the contributory pension scheme to 14 per cent on the lines of the Centre.

The withdrawal of contributory pension scheme would not only incur unbearable financial liability but also would be impractical, stated the panel after an evaluation.

The state government too is not keen on withdrawing from the scheme as it is impractical. Moreover, with the assembly elections round the corner, the government has taken a sensible political stand.

The other reasons found by the expert committee for not withdrawing from the scheme are: The state cannot withdraw from a scheme which has been implemented as per central rules. If the government withdraws investment, it will be liable to pay the compensation. Some other states made an attempt to withdraw from the scheme but could not succeed.

The expert committee is likely to place its recommendations to the state government soon. The report will be handed over to the government within a month, source say.

Pension age for plantation workers to be raised

The state government has approved the draft plantation policy which recommends an increase in the retirement age of plantation workers from 58 to 60 years. Also, the wages of plantation workers will be revised and fixed at regular intervals.

Tourism will be promoted in plantations. However, while implementing such tourism schemes the promoters will not be permitted to deviate from the fundamental principles of Land Reforms Act or make changes in the basic structure of the plantations, stated the policy document.

State intervention will be made to ensure fair price for plantation products.

Other highlights of the draft policy include permission for inter-cropping and mixed cropping. Cultivation of vegetable crops and medicinal plants, bee farming and dairy farming will be encouraged.

A coordination committee would be set up consisting representatives of Tea Board, Coffee Board and Spices Board.

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