In the absence of a proper social security mechanism in the country, the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution, the EOBI, is one organisation that is a source of relief for individuals who are employed with private organisations and not entitled to pension after retirement — like government servants. Besides, the post-retirement pension, a person insured with the EOBI through his employer is also entitled to invalidity pension if he is rendered disabled permanently. Besides, in case of the expiry of an insured person, his survivor will be entitled to receiving part of his pension amount.
Even though the EOBI has been operating since 1976, under the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, it is only under the present government, led by the PTI, that the benefits provided by this social insurance institution have strengthened to a reasonable level. Till the year 2007, the amount provided as monthly pension to an EOBI-registered person was just Rs1,000. Under the PML-N tenure from 2013 to 2018, the amount rose from Rs3,600 to Rs5,250 — an increase of about 45% in five years. And in a span of just two years, the PTI government has raised this amount to Rs8,500 per month or 62%, with Prime Minister Imran Khan planning to raise it to Rs15,000 by the end of his tenure in year 2023.
And to further facilitate the eight million EOBI beneficiaries, the incumbent government has launched ‘Sahulat Card’ which will provide Rs1,000 monthly subsidy on five essential food items including wheat flour, oil, rice, grains and pulses. This has come under an agreement signed in Islamabad on Friday between the EOBI and the Utility Stores Corporation, with the latter intending to add more facilities to serve people belonging to low-income groups.
Initiatives like those under EOBI and Ehsaas Programme, formerly Benazir Income Support Programme, provide some kind of social security in the country. Our rulers must focus on how to expand and bolster such initiatives and piece them up into a proper mechanism to take care of the poor and downtrodden class, to start with.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2020.
— to tribune.com.pk