Big Move: Bihar lawyer’s petition raises hope for 2.75 lakh Odisha workers

Asst. PF Commissioner asks state govt to extend social security benefits to mid-day meal, Anganwadi workers

Bhubaneswar: Acting on a petition filed a Bihar-based lawyer and Right to Information (RTI) activist, the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, (EPFO), Bhubaneswar, Maushumi Lata Padhi, — has asked the state labour and ESI commissioner-cum-secretary to register mid-day meal workers or cook cum helpers, Asha workers (health workers), Anganwadi workers and Angnawadi helpers in EPF and MP Act, 1952.

The Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 provides for statutory benefits payable to employees working in India by their employers.

The direction which came following a petition filed by lawyer and RTI activist Rajnish Ratnkar, has raised a hope for over 2.75 lakh mid-day meal workers or cook cum helpers, Asha workers (health workers), Anganwadi workers and Angnawadi helpers to lead a decent life with social security benefits.

The Odisha government has engaged lakhs of mid-day meal workers or cook cum helpers, Asha or health workers, Anganwadi workers and Anganwadi helpers in school and mass education department, health and family welfare department and women and child development department, respectively.

As per sources, the service conditions of the above personnel are regulated in accordance with the provisions contained under respective schemes being implemented in the state. But, no such social security benefits in the nature of provident fund, pension and insurance benefits are being extended to them.

“In view of the above facts, it is requested that appropriate communication, direction and advisory may kindly be issued to all such departments to register them in EPF and MP Act, 1952 suo moto for the purpose of extension of EPF and allied benefits to such ill-protected workforce,” the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner Ms Padhi wrote on her letter on February 20.

The EPF and. MP Act, 1952 is applicable to all the establishments employing 20 or more employees for the purpose of extension of three different schemes such as, Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1952. Employees Pension Scheme, 1995 and Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme, 1976 for allowing Provident Fund, Pension and Insurance benefits to the eligible employees of a registered establishment.

There are approximately 1.20 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers, one lakh mid-day meal workers and 49 thousand Asha workers working in Odisha.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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