Friday, March 29, 2013

BPS-Social media


Dear Friends,
Bharat Pensioners Samaj the largest & oldest organization of Indian Pensioners with441 affiliated Associations works to be the nodal point for highlighting difficulties faced by pensioners and Sr. Citizens & is now a global point of connection for experts and expertise in the field of Pension, Pensioners grievances and elderly issues, it is for this reason I am writing to you about our social media.  The BPS is present on Facebook , Twitter, blog & bps1955yahoo group & is also available on video conferencing  to  promote the latest initiatives, to raise awareness on current and emerging  issues and to keep the stake holder  up-to-date on our growing activities.
Promoting organizational activities and informing stakeholders is our job so we encourage sharing                    our  Facebook page and following us on Twitter! as well as video conference  with Secy.Genl.
If you have any question or concerns, and/or would like to share information through our social networks, please contact me at your convenience.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!
S.C.Maheshwari
Secy. General Bharat Pensioners Samaj

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Age is not just a figure


  • 29 Mar 2013
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)
  • Lalita.panicker@hindustantimes.com

Age is not just a figure

Our respect and caring for the elderly is very much a part of our collective hypocrisy. Geriatric care is a very grey area in India, writes LALITA PANICKER

In the disturbing movie, The Ballad of Narayama directed by Shohei Imamura, the elderly are the victims of a supposedly ancient Japanese tradition. Having outlived their utility at the age of 70, they are taken by their kinsfolk to a desolate and remote place and left to die of exposure to the elements or starvation. Now this may be an imaginary place but in an extreme manner it raises the plight of the elderly in societies that do not have any safety net for them.
In India, we have been happy to deceive ourselves that ours is a caring society where the family will take care of its elderly, paying them back for the sacrifices that they have made to strengthen and nurture the family unit. Indeed, in many Hindi movies, the older generation is seen as the font of wisdom and joyous participants in family occasions. To many of us, the western tradition of putting older people in homes is abhorrent. In India, such facilities are few and far between and most of us would consider this alien to our culture. It would somehow diminish us in the eyes of society and of our peers if it were known that we had put a parent or elderly relative in an old age home.
This, however, should not be as unacceptable as it seems. Very few old people have the resources or physical reserves to manage things on their own. Few states have easily accessible medical care or services to cater to the elderly. In fact, in joint family systems, the health of the elderly often does not take precedence over that of the ‘earning’ members and the young.
The need for specialised geriatric care is still a rare concept in India. States like Kerala are perhaps the exception, but then healthcare itself is vastly different there than in other states. This was brought home to me, a staunch and now somewhat repentant critic of the Kerala development model, when my father recently had a massive heart attack. At 2 am, a fully medically equipped ambulance reached my parents’ countryside home through winding roads with no signs within 12 minutes of the attack. The nearest hospital in a small town was so well-equipped, the chief cardiologist Vellore-educated Dr George Koshy, so remarkably competent, that his team was able to save my 88-year-old father. But things could have turned out very differently for my parents, living alone in the quiet countryside, had they been in another state without easy access to medical care. In Kerala, if you can afford it, medically trained help is available at home, an option many elderly people chose over living with their children. Even hospitals in small towns have world-class doctors, have state of the art technology and compared to metros are reasonably priced. So the elderly have more than a fighting chance of surviving serious ailments.
I have often felt that it is children burdened by the guilt of not sparing enough time for their parents who think that they need to move in with them in their old age. Very often, people like my parents, value their independence far too much to want to live with their children. The fact that our parents do not need us is in some way upsetting to many of us. We simply refuse to accept that they do not want to adjust to our lifestyle or be grateful that we have invited them into our lives and homes. The main problem is that they don’t have the facilities, like accessible and affordable medical care customised for the elderly, to exercise that independence. In fact, we have very few services of any sort that cater to the aged.
Very long ago, a prescient proprietor of a newspaper I worked for told me what I then thought was a loopy idea. In hindsight the proprietor seems possessed of clairvoyant abilities. I was told that India should charge a fee to countries like Japan to send its aging people here where an army of geriatric care professionals would look after them till the end of their days. The old would benefit as would the Indian exchequer. Now, that is a thought for some smart entrepreneur.
However, in states like Kerala where the life expectancy is 72, geriatric care is becoming a booming industry. Professionals trained to deal with the needs of the aged are being churned out. It is one state where the concept of trained home medical attendants is now the norm. The state from which the young seem to flee for lack of job opportunities now has a staggering number of old people left to fend for themselves. If they live with their families, they are often subject to mental and physical abuse, made to work as unpaid servants and generally considered as being way past their shelf life.
What we need is more old age homes where the elderly can live with dignity and not be made to sing for their supper. There have been many instances of NRIs carting their parents off abroad and expecting them to double up as housekeepers and babysitters. The successful children are often ashamed of their parents, their inability to speak English and fit in with life abroad. I have come across several cases of old people committing suicide, driven to despair in an alien environment.
Instead of depending on the vagaries of their children, old people should have the choice of living in assisted surroundings. In the case of those who cannot afford it, the state, which pays so much attention to its young population, should consider investing more in facilities for the elderly. For the most part, they seem to be an invisible part of our society both in the family and in official policies.
Like our so-called reverence for women, our respect and caring for the elderly is also very much a part of our collective hypocrisy. Real life is not all about dutiful children listening to granny’s home remedies and homilies. Even the best intentioned are often too busy or otherwise preoccupied to pay the elderly the attention they need both emotionally and physically. Another aspect is that today, the well-heeled older person is not content to sit around knitting socks or joining laughter clubs. They seek adventure in the form of travel or even romance. This is not always welcomed by their offspring who are almost ashamed that their parents have worldly desires after a ‘certain’ age. While this may be a minuscule section, we need to shake off our patronising attitude to the elderly.
With its young population, India is in a position to take the lead in geriatric care both for domestic reasons and even for the international market. This will generate both employment and better care for the aged.
Geriatric care is a very grey area today in India. The elderly deserve a little more clarity than that.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PENSION -Not a burden on the Government


                                                                            PENSION                                                                                                                   

Not a burden on the Government
                                  
             Pension is described in section 60 of the CPC and section 11 of the Pension Act There are three important features of ‘pension’. Firstly, pension is a compensation for past service. Secondly, it owes its original to a past employer-employee or master-servant relationship. Thirdly, it is paid on the basis of earlier relationship of an agreement of service as opposed to an agreement for service. This relationship terminates only on the death of the concerned employee. Scheme of payment of pension was introduced: as it was greatly advantageous to the government.
          (i)Government saved thousands of million by stopping matching contribution to provident fund.
         
          (ii)One third the commuted part of pension was permanently retained by the government, till 1986 . Even after 1986 in restoring the commuted portion after 15years, Govt. retains the substantial balance with itself ( As per calculations the amount commuted would be got back by the government in  ten years)
         
          (iii)Due to delayed payment of arrears Govt. retains millions of rupees on a/c of death of pensioners/family pensioners during the intervening period. Thus enormous amount of money has been with the government for very long period. Had the government created a corpus out of these savings by proper investment, today pension would not have been a burden.
          Friends ,  Inspite of clear ruling of Honorable S.C. on more than one occasion,
(i)that pension is not a largesse instead; the concerned employee by the dint of his hard work has earned it.
(ii)That Pension is legally enforceable right in terms of proviso to Article 309 clause 5 and Article 146 ;of the constitution of India.  Government has been crying about increasing financial load of pension, forgetting all the time that during the service time of present pensioners.,
(i) Had to forego the matching contribution by the government to the Provident fund on account of which Govt. saved thousands of million  Rupees. 
(ii) Were paid less than their non pensionable counterparts.
          Whenever parity of wages, was demanded on the principal of equal work equal pay., Government declined it on the reason that, Pensionable Government employees were entitled to pension after retirement, thus their salary could not be at par with similarly placed non pensionable counterparts .
          In the studies got done by Central Pay Commissions it has clearly come out that the pay scales of pensionable govt. employees are kept low by design.
          Each pay commission before recommending new grades took into account all the benefits/allowances and perks including the post retirement pension and other benefits.
That means present pensioners were paid less salary than entitled to based on equal work equal pay as compared to non pensionable  workers! Because they were to be paid pension. Pensioner during his/her service life directly or indirectly always contributed towards pension to be paid after retirement
(i) By forgoing government’s matching contribution to the provident fund
(ii) By accepting lower salaries for equal work as compared to their non pensionable counterparts  
(iii) By giving prime years of their lives to the government. Thus Pensioners are being paid pension out of their  own money which was otherwise due to them. Then why this hue &cry about pension burden .Why I. Tax  on Pension?.
          Why not even once, not evens the opposition, ever talk about, ever increasing load of pension , perks & Security of politicians.
Introduction of NPS is conspiracy to deprive the employees of Financial & Social security in their old age as it does not guaranty payment of single penny & is subjected to market risks
          The present Finance Minister Sri P.Chidamram had once stated in his ealier tenure that commitment of old pension scheme would very soon develop into an unbearable liability of the Government .        
           We therefore, have to be alert about the nightmarish thinking of those in power. Lest some fine morning, they may through an ordinance stop Pension of existing Pensioners .
         Over the decades, the strength of employees is consistently coming down. In Railways alone, inspite of increase in network, increase in freight/passenger movement and consequent increased work load we have now 14 lakhs employees against 18 lakhs earlier. Considering that pension amount is only half the basic pay, HRA,CCA etc are not paid to Pensioners, it can easily be seen that governments liabilities are much reduced & not increased . Had the Government taken care  of the savings as brought out in foregoing paras, there perhaps would not have been any burden of pension.
          We pensioners have therefore to take up on ourselves to establish the voice of reason & justice to protect our wellbeing and to an honorable existence as senior Citizens in free India.



S.C. Maheshwari
Secretary General BPS                               


Sunday, March 24, 2013

ACPA VIZAG - Annual conference

ACPA VIZAG
First Anniversary function of All Central pensioner's Association, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (an affiliate of Bharat Pensioners Samaj) was held on 05-01-2013 at ,,MANAS| AUDITORIUM" Naval Science & Technological Laboratory. Shri S. V. Rangarajan, outstanding Scientist, Director N.S,T.L. was the Chief Guest and Shri E.A.S.Sarma l.A.S (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Govt.. of India was the Guest of Honour. About 400 Central Govt. Pensioners retired from various Central Govt. Departments and members of our Association were present.15 senior citizens of 80 plus were honoured by Chief Guest, Guest of Honour, and the President of our Association Shri. O. V. Subbiah. The Following resolutions were adopted by the General body.
a) Same Fitment benefit to all Pre-2006 Central Govt, Pensioners as given to working employees
b) Parity in pension between Pre & Post - 2006 Central Govt. Pensioners.
c) Merger of 50% dearness relief with Basic Pension with effect from 01-01-2011.
d) Enhancement of fixed Medical Allowance to 1200/- with effect from 01-09-2008.
e) Restoration of commuted amount after 12 years
f) Additional pension on attaining the age of 70 instead of 80 yrs
g) Enhanced rate of Family Pension for 10 years after Pensioner's death without any upper age Limit.
h) lntroduce Central Govt. Health scheme at Visakhapatnam or extend credit basis facility to Pensioners holding CGHS cards for obtaining treatment in emergency cases in Central / State Govt. recognised hospitals
i) CSD canteen facilities to Defence Civilian Pensioners.
The above event was followed by: A Peaceful Hunger Strike on 07-03-2013  by All Central Pensioners'Association in front of  the main entrance gate of District Collector office, Visakhapatnam. Pensioners' Associations of Railway, Postal,Naval Armament Depot., Head Quarters Eastern Naval Command and Defence Accounts Dept. also joined the Hunger Strike. More than 100 Central Govt' Pensioners observed Hunger Strike A memorandum containing 15 demands of Central Govt. Pensoners was handed over to the District Collector by a delegation led by O. V. Subbiah, Ch Srikrishnadevarayulu, B Sankara Rao,R, N.Sircar,    Ch. Venkateswara Rao and M. S. Prakasha Rao ,



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Truth of Generic medicines

Drugs still being approved without clinical trials
By Dinesh C. Sharma in New Delhi
IT’S ‘ business as usual’ at the drug controller general’s office despite the criticism it was subjected to in the report of the parliamentary standing committee on health last year.
The drug controller is still approving new drugs without clinical trials using its undefined discretionary powers — the very practice for which it was reprimanded by lawmakers.
As many as 15 new drugs have been recommended for approval without any clinical trial and nine of them have been approved since the committee’s recommendation came in May 2012.
Drugs can be approved without clinical trials on Indian patients only in case of medical emergencies or when there is no alternative available.
The drug controller general works through a set of 12 drug advisory committees which screen applications from drug companies.
Between May and November 2012, these committees approved 15 new drugs without asking for clinical trials and nine of them got the final seal of approval from the drug controller.
These drugs are Degarelix, Abiraterone acetate, Plerixafor, Eribulin mesylate, Mucotrol, Crizotinib, Etravirine, Nelarabine, Fingolimod, Tolvaptan, Rilpivirine, Vemurafenib, Lipiodol UF, Cabazitaxel and Panitumumab.
The terms of reference of the drug advisory committees do not specifically mention any powers to approve drugs without clinical trials. There is no standard operating procedure for giving such approvals.
What’s worse, a health ministry- appointed panel wants this practice to continue. An opinion poll conducted by the panel among selected medical experts has come out with the conclusion that drugs can be approved without India- specific clinical trials being done.
“ This is making mockery of the regulatory system”, said Dr Anand Rai, petitioner in the ongoing litigation on clinical trials in the Supreme Court.
THE REGULATION MESS
Parliamentary panel pointed to loopholes in drug regulation including approval of drugs without any clinical trials on Indian patients
Instead of acting on this, the health ministry set up an expert panel to review recommendations of the parliamentary committee
The panel conducted an opinion poll among select medical experts and concluded that the practice should continue, with minor cosmetic changes
Nine drugs have been approved without clinical trials on Indian patients between May and Nov 2012

MAKEN BACKS DEMAND FOR 7th PAY PANEL


  • 17 Mar 2013
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)
  • Aloke Tikku atikku@hindustantimes.com

MAKEN BACKS DEMAND FOR 7th PAY PANEL

In a move aimed at putting the demand for the 7th Pay Commission on the government’s drawing board, Union minister Ajay Maken has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set it up this year to neutralise the effect of soaring inflation.
His demand this week is the first voice in support of the panel from within Singh’s cabinet.
“Erosion of real wages owing to the degree of inflation... is hurting employees,” he wrote in a letter accessed by HT. Retail prices rose 160% during 20062011 but dearness allowance went up only 51%.
Besides, Maken argued, it was time to rework the principles on which public sector wages were fixed in order to attract and retain talent. He said it was no longer enough to pay employees to simply meet minimum needs.
The finance ministry, struggling to bring fiscal deficit under control, has rejected demands from government employees to set up the panel — generally appointed in the third year of every decade.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Comparison in the returns between Employees Provident Fund and New Pension Scheme


Comparison in the returns between Employees Provident Fund and New Pension Scheme

Returns on EPFO fund is difficult to compare with return on other Pension Schemes like New Pension Scheme.

With an important message, a written reply was submitted in Lok Sabha 4th March, 2013 by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shri. Kodikunnil Suresh about the returns on NPS as follows...

"The wage ceiling for mandatory provident fund contributions under the Employees’ Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is Rs. 6,500/-. 

Data of workers outside the wage limit is not maintained by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization. 

EPF money is invested as per the investment pattern of 2003 notified by Government of India which allows investment in Central Government Securities, State Government Securities, Bonds of Public Sector Undertakings and Private sectors. Returns on EPFO fund is difficult to compare with return on other Pension Schemes like New Pension Scheme. 

The declaration of the return of NPS is on the basis of the accounting policy prescribed by NPS which allow the NAV to be declared on the basis of current market value of the investments. While EPFO follows the cost value of the investment for accounting its investment and return is declared on the basis of actual receipt of interest on the investments. 

The return on EPFO investments are fixed whereas the return on NPS are not fixed and fluctuates on daily basis depending on the prevailing market conditions". 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Protest against incorrect recording of SCOVA 22 minutes



SCOVA Minutes: Protest note

No : BPS/SG/013/                                                                                        Dated :07-03-2013

Shri Sanjay Kothari, IAS, 
Secretary, Deptt of Pension & PW
Shri Vinay Mittal, Chairman Railway Board
Smt Tripti  Ghosh, Director(P) DOP&PW

Reference : Minutes of 22nd SCOVA meeting held on 19.02.2013- ATR item xiv 6.12 & 6.13
                  Para 6:6.12 i)T0 vii & para 6.13 ii),iv) & v)

1. It can be verified from records that these items were raised by Bharat Pensioners Samaj
N. Delhi & The Retired Railway Employees Welfare Association Gurgaon which happens to
be an affiliated association of Bharat Pensioners Samaj which is the largest & oldest Federation
of Indian Pensioners' Since Bharat pensioners Samaj & The Retired Railway Employees Welfare Association Gurgaon did not discuss these issues with the Ministry of Railways before SCOVA meeting
Minutes recorded are incorrect & may be amended keeping the related items open

2. The moment an issue is included in SCOVA Agenda, it becomes an issue of SCOVA and not
of any individual Federation, Association or any individual SCOVA member. Thus must be
discussed in the presence of the SCOVA Convener/Secretary or at least in the presence of Director DOP&PW who is responsible for implementation of Citizens Charter of DOP &PW since SCOVA is included as one of the items of DOP &PW citizens/client charter.

3. Several Federations who are SCOVA members have Rly Pensioners & their Associations as their member/affiliates and thus each one of these are concerned with issues related to Rly. Pensioners.
Bharat Pensioners Samaj, therefore, lodge a strong protest against incorrect recording of
SCOVA minutes and request to keep the concerned items open.

Truly yours,
S.C.Maheshwari
Secy. Genl
Bharat Pensioners Samaj



AIFPA/102/2013                                                                                             CHENNAI-15
                                                                                                                                 Dt.09.3.13
To
Shri Sanjay Kothari,
Secretary to Govt.of India & member Secretary Scova
Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pensioner,
Department of Pension and Pensioner welfare
3rd floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan,
Khan Market, New Delhi-110 003
Respected Sir,
           
      Sub: Minutes of the 22nd Meeting of Scova held on 19.2.2013
      Ref: Item No.(xiv) 6.12 & 6.13 & para 6
       
             The items relate to the Ministry of Railways and Railway Board.  These items were referred to the Scova and listed as agenda item. After discussions during 21st Meeting of the Scova, these items were circulated to SCOVA members with draft replies of the Ministry concerned.  But these items were not discussed in details in the  22nd SCOVA meeting, instead the items were treated as closed stating “ the concerned federation had discussed the issues with the Ministry of Railways before attending the SCOVA Meeting”.  There was no such meeting and I was not invited for the meeting.
        The All India Federation of pensioners Association, Chennai-15 represents 60 Associations exclusively  representing the Railway pensioners and Family Pensioners and 62 Central Government Pensioners’ Associations with Railway Pensioners in majority , out of the 246 Associtions Affiliated to the Federation.  We are also co-ordinationg our activities with the Bharath Pensioner Samaj, New Delhi, based on a ‘ Memorandum of understanding’ signed by us.

         Yet the Railway Ministry/Board did not choose to discuss the issues listed as ‘Agenda items’ under SCOVA with us.  You will agree that we as permanent members of the SCOVA are also entitled to know the decision of the Railway Board/Ministry  on the items listed and discussed.
       I therefore appeal to you, not to give unfair advantage to any individual organization representing Railway Pensioners/Family pensioners by such action.  Kindly arrange for discussions in the forum
  
of SCOVA and publish the decision taken on these subjects as the decision of SCOVA.  Summary closure of an item introduced by more
than one SCOVA Member, without an opportunity to discuss these items with Railway Board/Ministry in the SCOVA is unfair and therefore merit reconsideration.
    
          The decisions taken on this letter may kindly be communicated to this Federation as well.
   
     Thanking you,
                                                                                   Yours faithfully,
                                                                                     

                                                                                      D.BALASUBRAMANAIN
                                                                                       General  Secretary

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Something for everyone in new policy


Something for everyone in new policy
Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 08, 2013
First Published: 02:06 IST(8/3/2013)
Last Updated: 02:07 IST(8/3/2013)
Children of single mothers, who are divorced, widowed or estranged, may no longer have to mention their father's name on school and college forms.

Institutes will need to make changes to their forms to accept the mother's name as the head of family, says one of the many provisions
 
in the new women's policy to be presented by women and child minister Varsha Gaikwad to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan at a Women's Day function to be held at Pune on Saturday.
Other proposed provisions include construction of toilets on highways at every 50 kilometres or a distance of one hour. Also, considering the large number of women who are over 65 years old and live alone - either unmarried, widowed or divorced - the state plans to bring in a special pension scheme for them.
In addition to these, largely-ignored sections including the transgenders, devdasis and tamasha dancers will be given special benefits. This is the third policy that the government has come up with, after revising the first one brought out in 1994 and the second in 2001.
"Times have changed and women are heading and running the show in many households. In such cases, children should be allowed to officially take on the name and surname of the mother. Although this is officially allowed in many schools, it is not implemented everywhere," a government official explained.
For young girls, the government will appeal to banks to lower the interest rates for education loans.
"We have proposed to form a welfare board for groups that have been ignored, such as transgenders, where issues related to their health and education will be dealt with. We will strengthen existing rules for devdasis and float support schemes for tamasha dancers who usually end their careers at 40 years of age," the official added.
Former mayor and member of national women's commission, Nirmala Prabhavalkar, termed the revised policy 'encouraging' and said 'ignored sections had found ground'.

For latest information on Pension matters : Read Bharat Pensioner The official monthly  magazine of  Bharat Pensioners Sammaj

Govt to hike old age pension


Govt to hike old age pension
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 08, 2013

In what comes as a minor relief to the senior citizens, the government on Thursday stated that it would enhance the old age pension to Rs. 300 from the present Rs. 200 per month.

However, the pensions could be indexed to inflation, on the pattern of MG-NREGA wages, thus allowing
increase in amount with price rise.
The statement from rural development minister Jairam Ramesh in the Rajya Sabha comes as elderly people from across the country stage protests at Jantar Mantar demanding higher pensions.
National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy is leading the protest under the banner Pension Parishad.
The government further stated that it is mulling universalisation of pensions by removing the BPL and APL distinction, as applicable now. 
Changes could also be brought in widow pensions to cover widows above 18 years instead of present 40 years. People with 40 percent disability would qualify for disability pensions instead of 80 per cent as of now.
Though welcoming the announcement Roy said the government has to implement the changes immediately to pave way for further en

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

No 7th Pay Commission


Taking into consideration Govt's negative reply appended here under. BPS is actively considering to file a court case claiming equal % rise in pension of all pre 2006 pensioners who constitute one homogeneous group of Pensioners and for raising Fixed medical allowance to Rs 1200/-

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF  FINANCE
RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO-191
ANSWERED ON-09.08.2012
Seventh Pay Commission for Central Government employees
191 . SARDAR BALWINDER SINGH BHUNDAR
(a) whether Government intends to constitute the Seventh Pay Commission for the Central Government employees;
(b) if so, by when;
(c) whether the Thirteenth Finance Commission has also recommended for an increase in pay of Central Government employees from the future date; and
(d) if so, the details thereof?
ANSWER
MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE (SHRI NAMO NARAIN MEENA)
(a)&(b): Government has not taken any decision on the constitution of the Seventh Pay Commission.
(c)&(d): The 13th Finance Commission had recommended that structural shocks such as arrears arising out of Pay Commission awards should be avoided by making the pay award commence from the date on which it is accepted.