CPI-M opposes private management of pension fund

July 30th, 2008 - 4:03 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Wednesday asked the government not to hand over pension fund management to financial companies for speculative business in the capital market, saying that it was an “anti-worker” decision. Opposing the decision of the trustees of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation to allow the asset management companies of HSBC, ICICI Prudential and Reliance Capital to manage pension funds from September, the CPI-M politburo said this marked the beginning of a process of privatisation of workers’ and employees’ savings.

“This decision marks the beginning of a process of privatisation of workers and employees savings which had been strongly opposed by the CPI-M which had ensured that the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government did not go ahead with this anti-worker policy,” the party politburo said in a statement.

“Even now, the decision was pushed through in the most undemocratic way in spite of the opposition by the majority of workers representatives,” it said.

The party alleged that by the decision, the government would “gift” around Rs.2,400 billion ($60 billion) in the corpus fund and another Rs.300 billion ($7.5 billion) of the annual incremental fund to the corporates.

“While the companies can make profits, there is no guarantee of minimum returns to the workers. Thus the savings of workers over years of hard work can be wiped out through speculation. This decision reverses a hard won gain of the working classes over years of struggle for a minimum guaranteed return on their contribution, post-retirement,” the CPI-M said.

Till now, only the public sector State Bank of India could manage workers’ pension funds.

The Communists took strong exception to the selection of Reliance Capital.

“The reported late selection of Reliance Capital as one of the fund managers is an indication of the cost of support to this tainted government,” the party said in a veiled reference to the Samajwadi Party’s support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government in the wake of the Left withdrawing their support over the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Reliance Capital AMC is India’s leading fund management firm and is a unit of Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s billionaire friend Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital Ltd.

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