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`Left will vote against amending IRDA Act'

Our Bureau

New Delhi , July 12

THE Left parties will vote against the Government if there is any move to amend the Insurance Regulation and Development Act (IRDA) seeking to increase foreign equity in the insurance sector, the Secretary of the United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Mr Abani Roy, told newspersons on Monday.

The Central trade unions met today on the eve of the crucial meeting of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to discuss the Budget proposals.

The trade unions have demanded scrapping of the decision to enhance foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the telecom, civil aviation and insurance sectors, on the grounds that foreign financial capital will get a total grip over these sectors and "jeopardise" national security and the economy.

In protest against FDI in the aviation sector, the unions are planning to hold hunger strike at Airports Authority of India (AAI) offices from July 19, which is likely to be followed by mass casual leave.

Today's meeting was attended by Mr Gurudas Dasgupta of the AITUC, Mr Swapan Mukherjee of the AICCTU, Mr M.K. Pandhe of the CITU, Mr A.D. Nagpal of the HMS, Mr G. Devarajan of the TUCC, Mr Abani Roy of the UTUC, Mr K. Chakraborty of the UTUC-LS, and Mr Chandidas Sinha of the INTUC.

Speaking newspersons later, Mr Dasgupta said that the other Central trade union, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), was not invited to the meeting.

He also said that the INTUC has not signed the joint statement.

The Left leaders said that they have decided to seek an early meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to press for review of the Budget proposals.

EPFO trustee meeting: There is a clear difference in the stands taken by the various trade unions with regard to the rate of interest payable on EPF deposits for the current fiscal.

The Leftist trade unions have again demanded "re-examination" of the decision on maintaining eight per cent interest rate on the Special Deposit Scheme (SDS), GPF and PPF, which was reduced from 12 per cent to eight per cent by the NDA regime in successive years.

Fixing the rate of interest at eight per cent will push the rate of interest on EPF further down.

Therefore, interest rate in SDS requires upward revision keeping in view the united demands of the trade union movement since April 2002 for restoration of the 12 per cent rate.

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`Left will vote against amending IRDA Act'
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