TAPAN KUMAR SEN: Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I draw the attention of the House to the most illegitimate and unilateral decision of the Government of India, rather than the Ministry of Finance, in changing the investment pattern of the life time savings of workers in industries and services in the Employees’ Provident Fund. The Government has taken a decision to divert 15 per cent of money from the Employees’ Provident Fund to share market and another 5 per cent in other stock market instruments vide its Notification dated 2nd March, 2015.

Such decisions to divert workers’ funds, workers’ life-time savings in share market is going to endanger the security of the funds on which a worker banks upon after his superannuation. Sir, the Employees’ Provident Fund is governed as per Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act. The fund is constituted by deductions from workers’ wages and a matching contribution by the employers, which is always construed as a part of their wages, apportioned by the forced savings for the social security purpose. So, the entire Fund is totally owned by the workers only. The Government has no business to decide on its investment patterns. The law also provides like that. The Central Board of Trustees, a tripartite Statutory Board, is constituted under the Employees’ Provident Fund Act. It is meant for that. That Central Board of Trustees, from time to time, decides its investment patterns, the latest of which had been decided in November, 2013, to be made effective from 1st January. What business does the Government have to decide and divert the funds for the speculation and gambling purposes, which is entirely owned by the workers? This is further encouraged by the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech where he decides that Rs.6,000 crores, out of that fund, will be generated for other general welfare instruments and that they will also change the Employees’ Provident Fund pattern. I think, the Government does not have any authority to do so. The Government must restore the investment pattern. The Government must stop from diverting workers’ lifetime savings for speculation and gambling, to keep the stock market hot so that other brokers and speculators can make fortune out of the workers’ money. This must stop. The Central Board of Trustees met yesterday and they have already rejected this proposal. Please note that the Chairman of Central Board of Trustees is the Union Labour Minister himself. He is a part of that decision in rejecting this investment pattern and sending it back to the Finance Minister. I demand from the Government, through you, that the Government must alter its decision and restore the investment pattern decided unanimously by the Central Board of Trustees constituted under the Act. Thank you, Sir. (Ends)



SHRIMATI JHARNA DAS BAIDYA: Sir, I would like to draw your attention to the outrageous and shocking incident of unwanted pregnancy among tribal girls in the State-run Kanyashram schools in Odisha from where such incidents are reported. Principals of schools reporting such cases should be immediately suspended and action should be taken against others, especially hostel superintendents. The latest case was reported on Friday from Gupteswar Sevashram, a residential school for SC/ST students at Kandulbeda under the Boipariguda police station of Koraput district. A 15 year old tribal girl, a student of class VIII and a resident of Purunaguda village under Ramagiri panchayat was not coming to school ever since she had gone to her village during the Christmas holidays in December. She complained of abdominal pain late on Thursday night, following which her family called an ambulance to shift her to Boipariguda hospital. But, she delivered a boy child on her way to hospital. Her parents have lodged a complaint at Boipariguda police station and the district administration has started an inquiry. At least four cases of school girls becoming pregnant have surfaced in various ashram schools of the State. On February 4th this year, a 12-year old tribal girl student of class VI studying in Umuri Sevashram of Koraput district gave birth to a boy child at the hostel. The Headmaster of the Governmentrun school in Koraput has been suspended, while a show-cause notice has been served to a hostel warden for allegedly suppressing the pregnancy of a tribal student who delivered a baby at the district hospital on January 24. The girl was a class VIII student at the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Koraput. Already a month has elapsed since the assault. I request you to intervene urgently and demand strict action against the culprits and ensure that justice is done to the minor tribal girls. (Ends)



K.N. BALAGOPAL : Sir, Ayurveda is the gift of India to the world community. But, sadly, its industries are facing a lot of obstacles, with most of them in the MSME sector, especially, in Kerala, where maximum concentration of generic ayurdedic industries, and whose products are prepared as per ayurvedic pharmacopeia, can be found. The industry is having a single digit growth with the size of generic/classical medicine sector being only Rs.2000 crores and the OTC/proprietary medicines having a share of Rs. 8000 crores. This Government had announced to promote Ayurveda by forming a separate Department but has ignored the repeated requests of the industry to abolish the Central Excise Duty on Ayurveda products which is a big burden with many units closing operations day by day. Also the tax collection from Generic Ayurvedic products from all over the India is around Rs.25 corers only annually. If this is waived off, it will be a huge relief to the industry and will boost its growth. It is in the growth of classical/generic medicine production lies the real growth of Ayurveda as most of the diseases as well as medicines used in Panchakarrna are generic products. The Government had repeatedly received requests from AYUSH Department to abolish the Central Excise Duty on generic Ayurveda products. But it is not yet accepted by the Finance Ministry. Hence I urge upon the Government to exempt the Generic Ayurveda products from excise duty so as to encourage the Ayurveda system and Ayurveda industry. (Ends)