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By--- Danendra Jain
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Friday, April 13, 2018
Excellent Letter TO Prime Minister
13 APR 2018 — To The Prime Minister of India New Delhi.
Dear Prime Minister,
Sub: Gratuity Amendment Act 2018 –Request for Re-fixation of Appointed Date as 01/01/2016.
Namashkar. Sorry to address you very casually as I sincerely feel that any other ways of salutations will be adjectives in nature but the word DEAR is apt as it emanates from the depth of my Heart.
I am a retired Banker, retired on 31.01.2017 from a Public Sector Bank after serving the institution for 34 years honestly with dedication. Under this background I put forth the following issue on behalf of me and several other employees retired from 01/01/2016 to 29/03/2018, for your kind consideration and favourable orders:
Recently, the long and eagerly awaited Gratuity Act Amendments were notified on 29/03/2018 enhancing the Ceiling to Rs.20.00 lakhs (from the existing Rs.10.00 lakhs) with the Appointed Date (effective Date) as 29/03/2018, which made several Senior Citizens/Retired Employees other than Government Employees disappointed and frustrated due to deprivation of a genuine monetary benefits under the Act from 01/01/2016, the date from which the Government Employees were awarded enhanced amount.
Gratuity is one of the most important Social retirement benefits for all the section of the employees, the work force of the country. Due to the continuous inflationary trend and erosion in value of rupee, several Trade Unions viz. BMS/HMS/AITUC/CITU and all other Central Trade Unions had been representing to the Government from time to time for improvement/removal of ceiling under the Gratuity Act. Due to their effort, the ceiling was increased from Rs. 1 Lac to Rs. 2.50 Lacs, Rs.2.5 Lacs to Rs. 3.50 Lacs, Rs.3.5 Lacs to Rs. 10 Lacs in May, 2010 and again recently to Rs.20 Lacs. This increase during the last five decades had been necessitated due to constant increase in inflation, the efforts of the Central Trade Unions and accepting the reality by the earlier Governments and the present Government.
The present Amendment is also aimed at continued Social Security to retired workmen in the country and was approved in the background quoted below from the excerpts of Cabinet Note dated 12/09/2017:
QUOTE: “The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons. The main purpose for enacting this Act is to provide social security to workmen after retirement, whether retirement is a result of the rules of superannuation, or physical disablement or impairment of vital part of the body. Therefore, the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is an important social security legislation to wage earning population in industries, factories and establishments.
The present upper ceiling on gratuity amount under the Act is Rs. 10 Lakh. The provisions for Central Government employees under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 with regard to gratuity are also similar. Before implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission, the ceiling under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 was Rs. 10 Lakh. However, with implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission, in case of Government servants, the ceiling now is Rs. 20 Lakhs effective from 1.1.2016. Therefore, considering the inflation and wage increase even in case of employees engaged in private sector, the Government is of the view that the entitlement of gratuity should be revised for employees who are covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. Accordingly, the Government initiated the process for amendment to Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.” UNQUOTE From the above one may infer and firmly believe that the intention of the Government is to provide Social Security to ALL Workmen in the Country EQUALLY and there should not be a different yard stick in providing the BENEFITS. There cannot be two different opinions on this count, in treating all the workmen equally without ANY DISCRIMINATION. When the Government understands the need for enhancement of Gratuity Limit where comes the different dates of implementation? We the poor Senior Citizens, after serving four decades and above (service of 40 years plus), undergo discriminations every time by belated implementation without application of mind to the real issue by the officials concerned people representatives. When government clearly understands the necessity for suitable compensation to the Workers, what is the need for disparity? Every worker has to be treated with DIGNITY EQUALITY AND FAIRNESS and the Government should set an example to this. LIKE ONE RANK ONE PENSION effected by your Government, GRATUITY NOTIFICATION AND EFFECTIVE DATE SHOULD also BE UNIFORM THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AMONG ALL WORKING CLASS.
It is observed that in the Recent Amendment to Gratuity Act, the Government of India is empowered to Notify the Quantum of Gratuity and APPOINTED DATE, through a Notification without the need for amending the Act in future and the amendment does not restrict the Governement to Notify the Effective Date uniformly to all sections of the employee. It is informed that the Central Unions were assured in various earlier meetings with the Hon’ble Minister of Labour that Gratuity Ceiling will be extended to all the workmen on par with the Central Govt. Employees.
Further during the passage of Amended Bill in Both the Houses of Parliament, there was no detailed discussions for various reasons and the views/feedback of the members could not be addressed due to paucity of time. Hence this petition to your honourable office.
It is learnt that the primary intention of this amendment to Gratuity Act was to empower the Labour Ministry to alleviate the suffering of the working class and to suitably announce enhancements in future also, without placing an Amendment before the Parliament, which takes considerable time, man power and delay. This being the reason, now it is a decision lying with Ministry of Labour and PMO to have announced the date of effect as 01/01/2016 AND NOT 29/03/2018, thus dashing the hopes and expectations of thousands of retirees, since 01/01/2016.
Hon’ble PM You may also be very well aware that, we, the Working Class are prompt in paying Income Tax and filing IT Returns as the dutiful Citizens of India and discharge our national duty in contributing to the Government coffers all along our service. Even post retirement we continue to pay tax, on the interest earned on our Hard Earned Pensions/Savings Invested in various FDs in Banks/Post Office Schemes. In fact we contribute cheap funds to Banking Industry/Government Investments to keep the wheel of economy rolling smoothly for national development.
The main agenda in bringing these amendments were to prevent delays as and when future amendments are made. If this being the reason, by giving retrospective effect from 01 01 2016 you have ensured passing on the benefit to not only the future retirees but also the retirees retired on or after 01 012016.
I am very much aware and confident that your Government understands the needs of people of all sections, especially to social causes and benefits of all. I am proud that the your Government ALWAYS HEARS the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE.
Dear Prime Minister, I am sure that I, on my behalf and on behalf of the several retirees (retired from 01/01/2016 to 28/03/2018) who are deprived of the enhanced benefits, have convinced you enough to reconsider the decision of EFFECTIVE DATE AND to RENOTIFY THE APPOINTED DATE AS 01/01/2016 UNIFORMLY FOR ALL to instil the confidence in us.
We eagerly look forward to your favourable orders in the matter and we wish you TO CONTINUE TO LEAD AND LIFT INDIA to greater heights in the world.
Any unintentional words in the content of this letter may kindly be excused/ignored.
K CHANDRASEKARAN 12/04/2018 CHENNAI
Recently I raised a Petition through CHANGE.ORG addressed to the Prime Minister, Labour Minister and Finance Minister on this subject which was overwhelmingly signed and supported by the affected retiree’s fraternity across the country, sharing their agony, frustrations and sentiments. To substantiate the details of such signees, I hereby attach a PDF file along with this communication.