Amid skyrocketing prices, central trade unions are all set to press the Finance Ministry for raising income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh from existing Rs 1.6 lakh in the 2011-12 Budget, in their meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Besides this, the unions would ask to universalise and strengthen public distribution system and rationalise tax, duty and cess on petroleum products, with a view to reduce burden on people.
“We have unanimously decided that all nine central trade unions would ask the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to enhance income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh,” All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev told PTI.
He said, “The common man is reeling under the price rise situation and would ask Mukerjee for universalising of PDS and rationalisation of taxes on petroleum products including petrol, diesel and cooking gas.”
The unions are also expected to discuss the price rise situation with Mukherjee, particularly of petroleum products.
Food inflation crossed 18 per cent, after onion prices surged, coupled with tomato and milk. The government took certain steps like removing customs and countervailing duties, banning exports of onions, but the prices did not drastically come down.
The central trade unions, he said, would also ask the ministry to enlarge the ambit of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme by reducing threshold limit of 20 employees to 10.
At present, only those private establishments which have 20 or more employees come under this EPF scheme. Reducing the threshold limit to 10 would help covering 45-50 lakh more workers under this mandatory social security scheme, he added.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s apex body Central Board of Trustees have already approved the reduction in threshold limit to 10 long back. But this move is awaiting Finance Ministry’s approval.
The union members would also press for making EPFO’s Employee Pension scheme more sustainable, by fixing the minimum pension at Rs 1,000 per month. Besides this, they will also ask for restoring benefits pension withdrawal by workers under EPS.
They would express their reservations against allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and further disinvestment of public companies. They would also ask for not allowing industrial house in banking business. The delegation of trade unions would include representatives from All India Trade Union Congress, Indian Trade Union Congress, Centre for Indian Trade Unions, Bhartiya Mazoor Sangh and Hind Mazoor Sabha.