Jorhat, Dec. 25: Assam will see the launch of the direct cash transfer scheme for tea garden employees to check fraudulent withdrawals from the Provident Fund.
The Assam Tea Plantation Provident Fund and Pension Fund and Deposit-Linked Insurance Fund Scheme, 1968, has been amended with the labour and employment department issuing the notification in the name of the governor recently.
The copy of the order issued by the principal secretary (labour and employment department) B. Mushahary on November 27 was received by planters’ organisation offices here yesterday.
The Assam government’s move is similar to the Centre’s proposed decision of using direct cash transfer from next year to deposit the funds against various subsidies by depositing the same in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
According to the amendment, a garden employee will henceforth not be paid the final settlement amount of their PF by the Assam Tea Plantation Provident Fund and Pension Fund office through cheque.
Instead, the employee will have to open a bank account during his time of service and submit the account number to the pension office.
Subsequently, on retirement or resigning from service, the PF amount accrued in the employee’s name from contributions from their salary and from the employer will be directly deposited in the bank account of the employee.
The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, the largest and oldest workers’ union in the state headquartered in Dibrugarh, has welcomed the new method of payment.
The union general secretary, Dileshwar Tanti, told The Telegraph over phone today that the new method adopted was in favour of the employees, especially the labourers.
He said there were many instances in the past few years where illiterate labourers have been duped by unscrupulous people after workers had approached them to get their cheque encashed by opening accounts in the bank.
An employee has to make the claim to the pension office by filling up an advance stamp receipt in which they have to request the board of trustees of the pension head office in Guwahati to calculate and pay the final settlement by depositing the amount in the bank account.
The form will have to be signed or should have the thumb impression of the claimant with a one-rupee revenue stamp pasted on it.
The form also has to be certified and attested by the appropriate authority with the official seal and designation on behalf of the management of the garden company stating that the facts mentioned in the form are correct.
Industry sources, too, said the new method of payment was likely to prevent incidents of fraud in which some criminals were allegedly hand-in-glove with the banks and at times with the post office staff.
There have been several police cases leading to arrests in Upper Assam districts in the last couple of years.