Provident Fund protesters clash with police in Bengaluru

Provident Fund protesters clash with police in Bengaluru

Submitted by alvin on Wed, 2016-04-20 08:41 Bengaluru: Thousands of garment workers angry with the government over changes to their Provident Fund (PF) withdrawalclashed with the police in Bengaluru on Tuesday as security forces fired teargas to control the crowds.The protesters set buses and other vehicles on fire, resulting in massive traffic jams across the city.Police detained about 100 people afterprotesters blocked roads and some turned to violence.The protests come after the government proposed changes in February to how employees can withdraw savings from the Employee Provident Fund (EPF)."Ten police constables and other officers got injury. Now we are assessing the situation right now. At Hebbagodi police station, they set fire; behind the police station, there are some few vehicles (which) have been seized (and) the seized vehicles have been set fire," said Additional Commissioner of Police, P. Harishekaran.Bengaluru has many garment factories which employ over 500,000 workers. These workers have been protesting for over two months against restrictions put in place on withdrawal of money from their provident fund (PF) accounts.Under the new rules, people can withdraw only a part of their provident fund before retirement and need to wait till they are 58 to access the employer's share of the deposit.Following the protests, the Union Government has put on hold the controversial new rules for three months.Labour Minister, Bandaru Dattatreya, said that the scheme would be reviewed."I will call Central Board of Trustees' meet again and review the entire scheme again and we will take even necessary (steps) for the betterment of the employee," he said in Hyderabad.Central government had proposed in his February 29 budget taxing lump-sum withdrawals exceeding 40 percent of an individual's retirement pot in the EPF, unless the sum is reinvested in an annuity.However, it was later rolled back following a backlash from small but vocal professional class, with some calling it a raid on the retirement savings of honest taxpayers. (ANI)