Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Complaints have been made of the working of Provident Fund Rules, in particular that all employees are not eligible for membership. Provident Funds have been established on every railway in India, except one employing only 2, 278 workers. Exclusive of staff employed on construction, there were 819, 000 railway employees in India on 31st
March 1930, 466, 000 or 56% in connection with state-managed railways and 354, 000 on other lines. The following statement gives figures of those in receipt (1) of less than Rs. 20 per month and (2) of Rs. 20 or more and also shows the numbers of subscribers to the State Railway Provident Fund and other Railway Provident Funds on 31st March 1930:—
|All-India Railway employees.||Provident Fund subscribers.|
|In receipt of less than Rs. 20 p.m.||In receipt of Rs. 20 p. m. or more.||Total.||In receipt of less than Rs. 20 p.m.||In receipt of Rs. 20 p. m. or more.||Total.|
|State Others||240, 011 207,054||225, 445 146, 648||465, 456 353, 602||2, 109 9, 308||138, 593 105, 197||140, 702 114, 505|
|Totals ..||447, 066||371, 993||819, 058||11, 417||243, 790||265, 307|
|12 Class I .. Rest||408.113 38, 952||350,796 21, 197||758, 909 60, 149||10, 797 620||230, 149 13, 641||240.946 14, 261|
This analysis shows that only 31% of railway employees actually subscribe to provident funds and that, while 65% of employees in receipt of Rs. 20 per month or more are subscribers, not 3% of those drawing less than Rs. 20 monthly are members. No provision is made for workers drawing less than Rs. 15 monthly to join any of the provident funds.
Under the State Railway Provident Fund Rules, workshop and shed employees are eligible for membership only if they are entitled to a month's notice of termination of service and have completed three years' continuous service. All other permanent non-pensionable employees, excluding menials, are eligible to subscribe to the Fund, provided their pay amounts to Rs. 15 per month. No menial servant is allowed to subscribe to the State Railway Provident Fund on any terms. Different interpretations of the term menial are found on different railways. Generally it is applied to the lower paid employees, who are more favourably treated as regards provident fund facilities on company-managed lines. On the latter lines all members of the staff, except daily-rated employees, are treated very much alike, and are usually eligible for membership if they receive not less than Rs. 15 monthly. We recognise the difficulties in the way of low paid employees subscribing to a provident fund, but we feel existing conditions no longer warrant the distinctions drawn against menials and daily-rated workers, We therefore recommend that, on completion of one year's continuous service, all employees should be eligible to join a provident fund, membership being optional for those whose emoluments are less than Rs. 20 but compulsory for all drawing Rs. 20 or over, instead of Rs. 30 per month, which is the usual rule.