Retired Air India staff await pensions even after 20 years

The pensioners said that they should come under the coverage of the Provident Funds Act, 1952

Hyderabad: Retired employees of Air India are continuing to struggle for their pensions since past two decades. Their efforts in this regard so far have been in vain, said S.G. Raj, a retired employee of Air India’s Hyderabad office.

In a representation that Air India employees presented to Union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy last week, the pensioners said: “We should come under the coverage of the Provident Funds Act, 1952. Only then, the Employees’ Pension Scheme 95 will be made applicable to us… so that we can draw pension as per the provisions of EPS 95.”

The pensioners are covered under PF Act of 1925. When Indian Airlines and Air India were formed in 1953, both came under the 1925 Act.

“We are still under the PF Act, 1925 even as on date. We would like to get out of the coverage of the PF Act of 1925 because it is now coming in the way of our coming under the PF Act of 1952. So, any direction, any clue, any help, any effort from anyone, any legal counsel, any ministerial guidance, anything under the sun, which can show a way for us to become a member of EPFO, and for coverage under EPS 95 and finally leading the retired employees of Air India (merged entity) to get Pension as per EPS 95 (would be welcome),” he said.

Currently, they are under a Superannuation Pension Scheme of 1997. As per that scheme, they should have been getting 40 per cent of basic plus DA plus personal pay. But the scheme turned out to be defective in its actuarial calculations and assumptions. An amendment was then made in 2003.

“From then on, it became Defined Contribution Scheme from the then Defined Benefit Scheme. This resulted in pensioners getting a meagre amount of `500 or so instead of 40 per cent of Basic plus DA plus personal pay from 2003. Even the name was changed from Pension to Annuity, after a Judgment made by the apex court on a case filed by some disgruntled employees during 2003,” said Raj.

He pointed out that even the government is trying to act without many formalities and bring the establishments covered under PF Act of 1925 under the PF Act of 1952 at the earliest, going by the reply by the government stated in the 55th Report of the Standing Committee on Labour by Dr Kirit Somayya.

“The Airports Authority of India, which is under the civil aviation ministry, like us, has come under EPFO in 2016 itself,” he said. Raj said retired employees of Air India are hoping that they would be covered by EPFO for their pension.

“These days Supreme Court and High Court judgments and the national policy are all highly favourable to citizens getting a decent pension,” he added.

Next Story