Urgent Reforms Requested To Prioritize Welfare Of Retired Coal Miners

Time to ensure rightful pension benefits of retired coal miners are promptly and fairly revised


We, place below woes of pensioners in coal sector, which are not being listened to causing nation wide resentment in masses as Coal Sector is the primary source of energy needs of our nation.

Earlier, Pension was admissible only for pure Government sector jobs, and employees in other organized sectors were entitled to a lumpsum PF (Provident Fund) amount which was not available to government employees.

Later, Pension for organized Industrial Workers started with its introduction in coal sector in 1998 by Vajpayee government. A small percentage from Provident Fund was diverted to create a Pension Fund corpus for paying pension out of earnings from this fund. This was termed as (Contributory) Coal Mines Pension Scheme -1998 (CMPS-1998) and is similar to present day NPS and entirely different from OPS (Old Pension Scheme) of Government employees who are deprived of any PF. This pension scheme is under administrative control of Ministry of Coal whereas Ministry of Labour welfare looks after all other pension schemes.

Much later, other industrial sectors adopted similar pension schemes and are flourishing.

Coal sector failed miserably due to corpus fund mismanagement and pensioners failed to draw Prime Minster’s attention for intervention.

The pension fund management under the CMPS-1998 has been subject to criticism and scrutiny as evident from 12th report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) No. 2193 report presented to Parliament.

The bureaucratic inertia and lack of proactive measures have prevented speedy implementation on suggestions contained in 12th Report of Public Accounts Committee for Restructuring of Coal Mines Pension Scheme (Presented in Parliament on 18th March, 2020).

Necessary urgent reforms are requested to overhaul the ministry’s approach, prioritize the welfare of retired coal miners, and ensure that their rightful pension benefits are promptly and fairly revised.

Only time can tell whether Coal Pensioners’ voice is heard at the appropriate place this time.

Views expressed here are those of B.K. Shrivastav and Dandamraj Ramchander Rao, both retired Coal PSU personnel

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