Wednesday, January 2, 2013

4th National Convention of Rly Pensioners' Associations at Nagpur on 09.02.2013-Draft discussion paper

Nagpur Challo


March to Nagpur



Bharat Pensioners Samaj

Call upon Rly. Pensioners’ Associations & CG pensioners Associations with membership of Rly Pensioners to attend in large number, the 4th National Convention of Rly Pensioners’ Associations on 9th Feb.2013 at Nagpur from 9.30 hrs to 17.30hrs in Goonjan Sabhagirah 2nd floor DRM C.Rly office annex building Nagpur
President BPS

                                                                  

DRAFT DISCUSSION PAPER TO BE PRESNTED BEFORE THE

4TH NATIONAL CONVENTION OF RLY PENSIONERS ASSOCIATIONS

(UNDER THE AEGIES OF BHARAT PENSIONERS’ SAMAJ)

AT NAGPUR ON 09.02.2013

Friends,

As part of its mandate and role, BPS the largest &the oldest organization of Indian Pensioners, organizes National level Conventions, to empower pensioners by sharing information, knowledge & experience and to provides support to members

Compulsions of present day life in a highly inflationary cost of living and medical aid combined with continued insensitive & dismal attitude of the society towards Sr citizens and disappearing culture of joint family as well as home care of elderly, has forced us to meet periodically at different parts of the country and think of our future welfare as aged persons and (1)To gather feedback from grass root level (2) To understand and achieve consensus on our demands (3) To draw up a strategic plan of action not only to seek support from the Government in deficient areas but also to develop systems which enable all of us to act as one family with mutual confidence, support and growing interdependence.

Friends, the experience of earlier three conventions at N. Delhi, Secunderabad & New Jalpaiguri has been very encouraging. Not only that we could achieve a cohesion among ourselves as a result of which today AIFPA Chennai & NFRP Palakkad are with us in our endeavor . We successfully could draw attention of the government to our problems several of which have already been resolved while others are now in the process of resolving.

To name a few: we have now been provide with online grievance redressal system, Nodal officers in every Ministry & Departments have been nominated to deal with Pensioners Grievances, Instructions also have been issued by the Nodal Ministry to all ministries & departments to meet & listen to the representatives of Pensioners’ Associations. Inclusion of Pensioners representatives in National Council of sr citizens under the MOSJ, SCOVA meetings are now regular & will be twice a year instead of once a year improvement to the institution of Pension Adalat also is in pipeline. RELHS has been made open ended, Issuance of Smart cards for medical treatment has been agreed to. Norms for empanelment of Private hospitals by Rly administration have been relaxed. Sanction of Family pension to widowed/divorced daughters & disabled children has been stream lined

However, implementation / proper delivery has to be insisted & pressurized alongwith other outstanding issues (as detailed In the present discussion paper) through this & future conventions

In the very beginning, before coming to our main agenda today. This convention expresses its deep concern and anguish over (1) crime against women & senior citizens & stress upon G O I to ensure sensitization and up-gradation of Law & order machinery, to constitute fast track courts and to enact more strict laws to deal with the cases of woman and Sr.citizens
(2)This convention express its anguish on poor compliance & delivery system prevalent in almost every Govt. department & the dismal treatment being meted out to Sr. Citizens & Pensioners forgetting that everyone in govt. job will retire one day & face the situation we are facing.

GRIEVANCES & DEMANDS OF RAILWAY PENSIONERS

Over 12 lakhs of Railway Pensioners in the country have several problems / Grievances pertaining to the Ministry of Railways , the Ministry of finance & the M/o Personnel, PG & Pensions A few of these are detailed here under for very early consideration & resolving the same

For M/O Finance & M/O P,PG & Pensions

AMEND DEFINITION OF COMPLAINT TO INCLUDE RETIRED PERSONS IN BILL NO. 131 OF 2011 (The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011) Popularly known as Citizens Charter Bill: Chapter 1 Section 2(f) definition of ‘Complaint’ seeks to exclude over 15million Central/State Gov./PSU retired persons form its purview . As these retired personnel have no other effective channel or mechanism for the redressal of their grievance. They are victims of rampant corruption in the Govt. departments dealing with their affairs i.e. Personnel, Finance & Health departments as well as the Banks.

a) This convention urges the Govt. to include retired Persons in the definition of ‘Complaint’ in the said Bill .


1. Provide Rs500000/-basic Income Tax exemption to Sr. Citizens:

This convention under the aegis of Bharat Pensioners Samaj expresses its deep concern and anguish on the on the treatment meted out to Sr. citizens in the current budget 20012-13

For & up to F.Y.2004-2005 Sr. Citizen were getting , concession in income tax payable (under Section 80CC) to the tune of Rs 20000/-, as compared to other citizens with similar taxable income. In 2005-2006 this was changed, basic exception for other citizens was raised to Rs 100000/- & that for Sr Citizens it was made 185000/- This resulted in actual Tax relief of Rsl2000/- instead of Rs 20000/-.Thereafter it has been progressively reduced & today it stands at just Rs5000/-

Right from its inception, the basic I. tax exemption is related to cost of living. Where as in comparison to the year 2004-05 cost of food items have gone up by more than 5 times & that of health care has gone up more than 7 times. I .Tax exemption in terms of Tax payable for Sr. Citizens have gone down from 20000/- to Rs 5000/-

In view of the facts quoted this Convention appeal to Govt. of India to provide Rs500000/-basic Income Tax exemption to Sr. Citizens

2. PENSION TO BE NET OF INCOME TAX: Purchase value of pension gets reduced day by day due to unbearable inflation and high rise in food items and cost of medical facilities. Retired persons /Sr citizens do not enjoy fully, Public Goods and Services provided by Government for citizens, due to immobility and many other factors. Their ability to pay Tax gets reduced from year to year after retirement due to, ever increasing expenditure on food & medicines. Their net worth at year end gets reduced considerably as compared to the beginning of the year. Inflation, for a pensioner is much more than any Tax. It erodes the major part of already inadequate pension. To enable pensioners, at the fag end of their lives, to live honorably & to cater for ever rising cost of living, they be spared from paying Income Tax . Pension therefore, should be net of income tax as was recommended by 5th CPC VIDE THEIR PARA 167.11


3.Withdraw New Pension Scheme :

As :- (i) Pension of Govt. employees is a deferred wage. Since wage paid out to them

during the course of work tenure is kept low by design, to cater for pension. (ii) Pension is

a social security measure & cannot be subjected in any way to Market risks (iii) It does not

guarantee minimum return & thus lacks the basic fiber of Social Security (iv). It is in no way

better than the existing Scheme (vi)It does not provide guaranteed Family Pension to dependents

& disabled siblings which exist in present scheme .



4. Increase FMA (Fixed Medical Allowance) to Rs 1200 pm w/o imposing distance restriction of 2.5 KMS:

i. The meager amount of Fixed Medical allowance (FMA) of Rs 300 P.M. in lieu of day to day OPD facility was sanctioned w.e.f. 01.09.2008 on the basis of cost of OPD treatment per card holder under CGHS during the year 2003-2004, which has increased by more than 6 times since then.

ii. As per the figure disclosed by M/O Health & Family Welfare under RTI Act 2005, the average cost of OPD treatment per card holder under CGHS during the year 2007-2008 went up to Rs 1369/-PM. This has further gone up considerably since then. M/O Labour & Employment, is already paying Rs 1200/- as FMA to its beneficiaries. It is therefore, urged that to help elderly pensioners to look after their health, FMA for all C.G. Pensioners be raised to at least Rs 1200/- PM linking it to Dearness Relief for automatic further increase. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have no objection in raising FMA from Rs 300/- to Rs1200 P.M as intimated vide their No. MOH &FW F.No20020/45/ 2012-CGHS (P) dt 22.02.2012.

iii Adequate raise in FMA will encourage a good number of pensioners to opt out of OPD facility which will reduce overcrowding in hospital. OPD through Insurance will to cost much more to the Govt. As such the proposal for raising Fixed Medical allowance to Pensioners is fully justified and is financially viable.

iv. EXEMPT FMA FROM INCOME TAX: Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) is a compensatory allowance to reimburse the medical expenses. As Medical Reimbursement is not taxable, FMA should also be exempted from income Tax.

5. Merger of DR with pension whenever it goes above 50%:-

The Pension of Central Govt. Pensioners undergo revision only once in 10 to 13 years during which period the pension structure gets seriously disaligned, 50 % increase in price takes place in less than 5 years. This results in considerable damage to the financial position of the pensioner with otherwise inadequate Pension. As admitted by Sh Montek Singh Deputy Chairman planning commission in his statement to PTI on 27.2.2008 DA does not adequately take care of inflation. As on date, compared to 01.01.2006, price rise is 152% where as DR sanctioned is only 72% . All The working employees are getting automatic relief by way of 25% increase in their allowances with every 50% rise in Dearness allowance. As pensioners do not get any allowances, they feel discriminated against. In order to strike a balance, DR may be merged with Pension whenever it goes beyond 50% or pension be revised every 5 years.

6.Restoration of Commuted portion of pension after 12 yrs

The commuted value of pension is calculated with reference to a commutation table based on the mortality rate among pensioners and the recovery of interest at a fixed rate of 4.75% per annum. These tables were revised in Nov 63, Nov 67, March 1971 and now latest by VI CPC and every time years of purchase have been reduced. But the period of restoration has not been revised or reviewed. Average life expectancy in 1963 was 40 yrs where as it is much more now. Thus percentage of recovery today is very high as compared to 1963.Therefore, period of restoration of commuted value need, immediate revision. The commuted amount along with interest element stands fully adjusted in less than12 years. That is why, States are restoring commuted portion of pension of their pensioners in 12 years. There is no reason why the Central Govt. should also not restore it after 12 years, as was recommended by V CPC more than 10 years back vide Para 136.19 of their report.

7 Additional old age pension to all superannuated persons of Central/state govt. /PSU. Pensioners’ should start from the age of 65yrs @ 5% of the basic pension with provision of enhancement by 5% every 5yrs;



8. Implement modified parity correctly as recommended by 6th CPC :

The principle of modified parity as recommended by the V CPC and accepted by the 6th CPC and then accepted by the Central Government vide their Notification in the Gazette of India dated 29.8.2008 provides that revised pension in no case shall be lower than 50% of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the Pay Band and Grade Pay corresponding to revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. The DOP & PW of GOI interpreted minimum of pay in the Pay Band as minimum of the Pay Band. This interpretation is erroneous and not tenable. This hits the very principle of the modified parity which was never intended by the Pay Commission or by Central Government. It is thus evident that the clarificatory OM dt. 3.10.2008 and further OM dt. 14.10.2008 and OM dt.11.2.2009, whereby representation, were rejected by common order are totally unjust. It is, therefore, requested that pension of all pre-2006 pensioners be refixed wef 01.01.2006, based on the resolution (Notification) dt.29.8.2008 & OM No FNo 38/37/08-P & PW (A) dated 01.09.2008



9.Remove disparity in revision of pension within the homogeneous group of pre 2006.: A common multiplication factor need to be adopted for the revision of pension of all pre 2006 retirees so that all pensioners in this group irrespective of pre retirement status get equal enhancement i.e. if basic pension of pensioners’ of one pre retirement scale/pay band is getting enhanced by three times, then all other. Pensioners/family pensioners should be extended similar benefit to maintain equality.

10.SCOVA: Upgrade SCOVA to the level of JCM :Pensioners especially those belonging to B group do not have any negotiating tool like JCM Wherein issues & policies pertaing to them a discussed decided



M/O Railways

1.End discrimination against women

Eligibility criteria for joining RELHS 97 laid down vide Para 612 (2) iii of Indian Railway Medical Manual 2000 debars dependent Widowed/Divorced / Unmarried daughter family pensioners from Joining ‘Retired Railway Employees Liberalized Health Scheme-1997’. This discrimination against women and gender-bias need immediate rectification. A suitable amendment be immediately introduced to permit all such family pensioners (i.e. other than the spouse) to join RELHS-97 for their healthcare needs.

1.(i) Provide RELHS-97 facilities to family pensioners (other than spouse) and to the kids of Divorced & widowed dependent daughters as recommended by 6th CPC & accepted by M/O H &FW.

Widowed / Divorced / Unmarried dependent daughters of Rly. Epmployees / Pensioners are included in the definition of family members & get family Pension on their turn in all the Central Government departments including Railways. Such family Pensioners & their minor kids are provided healthcare facilities under CGHS of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as well as under ECHS of Ministry of Defence. But Indian Railways have denied Health care facility as well as Fixed Medical allowance in lieu of OPD to these Family Pensioners.

1.(ii) RELHS-97 facilities to dependent parents ; The then Rly Minister in her budget speech

on25th February 2011 vide para 56 announced extension of medical facilities to both dependent father and mother of railway employees.. Executive Order to this effect needs to be issued w/o delay.

2. Implement immediately Rly Board’s orders vide their No 2007/H/28/1/RELHS/Smart Card dated 18.7.2012 regarding issuance of Smart Card & signing MOU with Private hospitals



3. On 24th February 2010 during the budget speech Minister for Railways, vide para 51,

announced that Rly. Outpatient Departments (OPD) and diagnostic centers will be set up at Gurgaon & other cities. But there has been no progress on the ground so far. This needs to be implemented without delay.


4. Companion facility on post retirement complimentary passes:

The cut-off age for this may be brought down to 60 years as it is the cut-off age for all senior citizen concessions including exemption limit for payment of income tax. All retirement complimentary pass holders may be allowed companion in the class of their entitlement without collection of additional charges. Physically handicapped retired employees may kindly be allowed companion in one class higher without surrendering a set of pass as at present. All secondary family pensioners may please be extended the facility of complimentary pass. All pre 2006 Group C & D retirees and their families may be allowed passes at par with group C existing staff as per post 2006 revised privilege pass entitlement

5.Revision of ex-gratia rates to pre 1986 CPF/SRPF(C) beneficiaries and their families w.e.f., 1.1.2006;

Early action is requested to revise these rates w.e.f., 1.1.2006 raising minimum ex-gratia to Rs 3500/ pm to bring these rates on par with minimum pension and family pension in Central Government. The ex-gratia beneficiaries have also to be extended FMA. Widows getting ex-gratia are being paid 8% less relief now which is discriminatory and they have to be paid full relief on par with the beneficiaries. Dependent unmarried, widowed and divorced daughters above 25 years of age of these beneficiaries be also extended the benefit of ex-gratia after the death of both parents.

6. Exgratia to all pensioners and family pensioners once an year equal to 30 days basic pension: Every year working employees are sanctioned productivity linked bonus for their contribution to the progress & safe running of Railways. While in service, present pensioners dedicated their youth and worked hard for the progress & protection of Indian Railways. Now it is the turn of the Organization to look after these persons in the evening of their lives and grant them little relief in the time of high inflation by sanctioning to them ex-gratia payment once an year





7. Grievance redressal



7.1. Fix strict timeline with punitive clause for redressal of grievances recorded through CPENGRAMS:

Strictly Implement the guidelines circulated vide Govt. of India Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare F.No.41/30/2011-P&PW(C) dated 13.1.2012& F.No 41/38/2011-P& PW(C) dated 2.9.2011 regarding fixation of time line for resolving grievances recorded through CPENGRAMS And create online mechanism at every stage to moniter redressal of these grievances.



7.2. Meet pensioners’ representatives as and when requested: Though Rly Board has circulated

more than once, instructions to zones & divisions to meet pensioners’ representatives and to

promptly attend to their representations, unfortunately Board officers themselves are not following these instructions/ guide lines.



7.3. Hold Pension Adalat every quarter and Widening the Scope

Widen the scope of pension Adalat to include all payment cases and to allow SCOVA members/representative as well as representative of identified Associations to actively participate. Master Circular 63 dt 12.10.95 (reiterated vide No. E(W)2011/PA-1/4 dated 20.12.2011) Para 2.13 provides Pension Adalat at Divisional level at every 3 months interval. But these instructions are not being followed. The No. of Pensioners/Family Pensioners as well as their grievances have considerably increased over the past one and a half decade. In the absence of strict time line and punitive clause grievances recorded through Pensioners Portal “CPENGRAM” are not being timely resolved by the Rly Administration.



7.4. Streamline working of Rly Hospitals as per CGHS guide lines

7.4 (i)Constitute Hospital grievance committees & include representatives of Associations identified by DOP &PW & SCOVA members in Rly Hospital grievance committees.

Healthcare is a major issue with pensioners. A number of complaints keep dropping up in Federation/association office about poor attention to pensioners in Rly hospitals and about doctors’ apathy and negligence. In the absence of a grievance committee with pensioners’ representatives therein, these complaints are not properly addressed .Thus it is desirable that the working of Rly hospitals is streamlined on the basis of CGHS guidelines & Hospital grievance committees are constituted with adequate representation of pensioners through identified Associations & SCOVA members.



7.4( ii)Allot separate nominated days for Pensioners/family pensioners for specialist consultation in Rly hospitals.

In Railways, specialist consultation is available only in Central Hospitals at Zonal head quarters

which covers a jurisdiction of more than a hundred Kilometers. In the absence of separate consultation facilities for pensioners/family pensioners, they have to face torture of standing for hours in the common queue and often they miss the opportunity for specialist consultation on the same day of visit.. Thus to save them from this inconvenience, it is requested that a week day is nominated for them for this purpose and that specialized medical consultation is out-sourced to private hospitals so that Pensioners/Family pensioners do not have to travel long distances.



8. Stop recovery & restore Pension of pre-1996 pensioners retired from IV CPCscale of Rs. 1400-2300 & other similarly placed Pensioners : The subject was discussed vide Agenda item 10.19 in 20th SCOVA Meeting held on 21.9.2011 and Railway Board was advised to sort out the issue after hearing the representatives of Pensioners Assns.

.As a first step, stop recovery of huge amount from the pensioners/family pensioners may be stopped/ refunded where recovered.



9.. REPRESENTATION TO PENSIONERS’ ASSOCIATIONS IN ALL THE FORUMS & COMMITTEES: While this Convention appreciates Govt. of India’s positive gesture in agreeing to include representatives of Pensioners’ Associations in the constitution of Sr. Citizens Council, it urge the Govt. to provide adequate representation to Pensioners’ Associations in all the Forums & committees like JCM on Pension matters, National / Departmental Anomaly committees/Hospital committees etc where in issues/policies concerning Pensioners are discussed & decided and also to upgrade the institutions of SCOVA/ Pension Adalat to the level of JCM.

10. PENSION (FIXATION, REVISION & DISBURSEMENT): This Convention wish to draw Governments’ particular attention to H’ble Supreme Court‘s Constitution Bench historic judgment delivered in case of D. S. Nakra on 17.12.1982 and request that it implemented in letter & spirit. Pensioners should not be divided on the basis of their date of retirement or otherwise and a uniform formula be adopted for the revision of pension all the pensioners irrespective of Class, Category or status while in service, i.e., if pension of pensioners belonging to one pre revised corresponding scale is raised by 3 times, then by sheer logic, it should uniformly be adopted as common factor for all the pre 2006 pensioners . We therefore, urge that all pre 2006 Pensioners be given a multiplication factor of 3 at par with HAG + level or their pension be consolidated as per the following formula

Basic Pension on 31/12/2005+86% DR+50% Grade pay as per 6th CPC and the pre 1996 pensioners be given, full parity as on 01.01.2006 as per Vth CPC recommendations.


Er. S.C.Maheshwari
Secy. Genl. BPS
















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