The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) workforce is going on two days’ mass casual leave on 4 and 5 September to press for the demands of revision of pension scheme and grant of contributory provident fund (CPF) and additional provident fund (APF) to recruits from 2012 onwards. The strike will be effective across the country.
NEFT and RTGS, which are used for large business transactions, will be on hold on these days. Authorities are concerned that this will hit stock exchanges and the share market hard.
The general secretary of the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association, Samir Ghosh, said, “We are concerned over government interference in the central bank’s operations. RBI is an autonomous body.
“We are not seeking money from the government. We are unable to use our own money due to government interference. Our management has been trying since a decade to resolve the pension issue but the government is not letting them do so.”
According to the association, Central government pension had been introduced in RBI with effect from 1 January 1986 in lieu of contributory provident fund with the assurance that any improvement in Central Government Pension Scheme (CGPS) will be extended to RBI pensioners.
People recruited after 2012 come under the New Pension Scheme (NPS) which is an undefined benefit as their savings will be invested in the share market. And returns therefrom will determine their pension, which will be extremely uncertain. So the employees are demanding a more reliable pension scheme.
The RBI has a pension corpus fund of around Rs 16,000 crores, which can bear the expenses of pension updation.
In the years 2011 and 2014 the RBI management approached the government for pension updation. In 2017, a Parliamentary Committee stated that RBI has it within its power to improve its pension scheme. The report has been submitted to the government but the Ministry of Finance did not accept it.
On October 2017, governor Urjit Patel wrote a letter to the government regarding the pension issue. But the problem did not get resolved.
Hence the Reserve Bank officers and employees have decided to go for a country wide mass leave on 4 and 5 September, which will paralyse the central bank’s functioning for two days, Ghosh said.