Under attack over a proposal to tax PF, government today told Rajya Sabha that it is in discussion with all stakeholders and will consider the issue as the Opposition parties joined hands in the House to corner it.
“We are in discussion with stakeholders. There are many stakeholders. Now I cannot reveal many things. Our government is considering all options,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said when the issue came up during Question Hour.
“We are discussing with all stakeholders. We are in touch with the Ministry of Finance. Government will also consider these issues. Up to now I can say this,” he said without disclosing further details on the issue.
The Minister’s remarks came amid indications that the government is reconsidering the proposal after facing flak from political parties and trade unions including some RSS affiliates.
Tapan Kumar Sen of CPI-M, however, took strong objection to the minister’s claim, saying that he being a stakeholder has not been consulted at all.
“At no point of time stakeholders agreed to the taxing of the Provident Fund. Please do not put the gun on stakeholders for this offence,” he said.
The minister further said that the government’s main focus is give social security to the workers in the unorganized sectors by bringing them under the purview of EPF.
Dattatreya also chose the occasion to seek the support of various parties in the passage of a bill seeking to amend the EPF Act, which is stuck.
He said the amendment seeks to bring down the total number of workers in a unit covered under the EPF Act from the present 20 to 10 so that more people are brought under the ambit of coverage.