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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Arun Jaitley rolls back controversial EPF tax proposal; victory for the salaried

Following widespread concern over the proposed tax on withdrawal from the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) contributions, the government has decided to withdraw the proposal. The announcement was made by Finance MInister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
"In view of representations received, the government would like to do a comprehensive review of this proposal and therefore I withdraw the proposal," Jaitley said in a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, amid cheering from his party colleagues in the Parliament. He also clarified that the intention was not to make revenue from the EPF but to push the private sector employees to take up annuity schemes.
He, however, stated on Tuesday that 40 percent exemption given to National Pension Scheme (NPS) subscriber at the time of withdrawal remains.
Arun Jaitley. PTI
Arun Jaitley. PTI
"Employees should have the choice of where to invest. Theoretically such freedom is desirable, but it is important the government to achieve policy objective by instrumentality of taxation. In the present form, the policy objective is not to get more revenue but to encourage people to join the
pension scheme," Jaitley said explaining 
rationale for the taxation proposal.
The minister had made the proposal to tax 60 percent of the EPF corpus at the withdrawal in the Budget 2016. The proposal had given rise to widespread protests from the salaried class. What made matters worse for the government was that it took the decision at a time when there is a mistrust among the general public that theNarendra Modi government has failed to live up to the promises made before the elections.
National Joint Council of Action
4, State Entry Road, New Delhi – 110055

      No.NJC/2016/7th CPC                                                                     March 7, 2016

            Cabinet Secretary,
            Government of India &
            National Council/JCM

Subject:-    7th CPC recommendations and Charter of Demands – Reg.

Dear Sir

            Kindly refer to the NJCA letter dated 10th December 2015 conveying you the decision of the National Joint Council of Action to go on indefinite strike in  pursuance of the Charter of demands submitted there-with, if no settlement through bilateral discussions is brought about.

            I am also to invite your kind attention to the discussion the Empowered Committee of Secretaries chaired by you with Standing Committee of NC of JCM on 1stMarch 2016 where-in while summing up the discussions on the charter of demands you assured that a fair consideration would be given on all demands raised by the Staff Side. It was also stated by you that reasonable time should be given to the Government since the issues concern inter=departmental consultations.

            The NJCA in its meeting held on 7th March 2016 considered the request made by you. To give space for negotiated settlement on the charter of demands raised by the Staff Side it has been decided to defer the commencement of the indefinite strike to 11thJuly 2016 and to serve the strike notice on 9th June 2016, if the desired settlement through bilateral discussions is not brought about.

            It is requested that in the intervening period the Government may hold meaningful negotiation with the Staff Side, JCM so that a settlement could be reached on the Charter of demands raised by the staff side, in the interest of industrial harmony.
Thanking you,
                                                                                                           Yours faithfully,
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)
Copy to:-The Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training, North Block, New Delhi
The Joint Secretary (Pers), Department of Expenditure, North Block, New Delhi
The Joint Secretary (AV), Department of Personnel & Training, North Block, New Delhi
The Joint Secretary (Estt.), Department of Personnel & Training, North Block, New Delhi
The Dy. Secretary (JCA), Department of Personnel & Training, North Block, New Delhi
For kind information and favorable action please
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)

National Joint Council of Action
4, State Entry Road, New Delhi – 110055

    No.NJC/2016/7th CPC                                                                               March 7, 2016

            All Constituents of NJCA

Dear Comrade,

          The NJCA met today and reviewed the discussion in the meeting of Empowered Committee of Secretaries presided by the Cabinet Secretary on 1st March 2016 where-in the Cabinet Secretary had requested for more time to arrive at conclusions on the charter of demands raised by the Staff Side.

         The meeting also considered the situation in the aftermath of the coming into effect of the Code of Conduct with the declaration of election schedule in 5 State Assemblies and the fact that there will be polling on 11th April 2016 in West Bengal and Assam.

           The meeting, therefore, came to the conclusion that it will not be feasible for us to stick to the date of strike as 11th April 2016. Considering the fact that as per section 22 of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 with regard to the validity of the strike notice which is not more than six weeks from the date of serving the strike notice, it was also felt that we may have to revisit the issue of serving the notice for strike afresh.
            Considering all the above aspects, the meeting took the following decisions”
1.    The indefinite strike shall commence from 6 am on 11th July 2016
2.    The strike Notice would be served on 9th June 2016.
3.    Massive demonstrations shall be held in all work place on 11th March 2016 in support of the charter of demands and strike decision.
4.    The decision of the NJCA would be communicated to the Cabinet Secretary.
Detailed mobilization programmes would be given later on.
With greetings
                                                                                                            Yours faithfully,
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)

International Women’s Day
08th March-2016