Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Common main demands for inclusion in the Memorandum to 7th CPC as identified by BPS

Common main demands for inclusion in the Memorandum to 7th CPC as identified by BPS
1.Bring down the Ratio between maximum & Minimum of Salary to  9:1 ensuring complete equality by adopting uniformly common multiplication factor for revision of Pension: 4th CPC had determined the ratio between minimum & maximum of salary to be 10.7(Chapter 41 & 43) Vth cpc   maintained it to be 10.97 (Appendix ‘I’ summary of recommendations para19) in their recommendations which while implementation was raised to 1:11.76

Pay commissions up-to 5th CPC adopted a multiplication factor of 3.2 to 3.8 to arrive at the new scales compared to earlier scales but VI CPC adopted conversion factor of  1.86 to arrive at the minimum of lowest pay Band, where as it adopted  3.37 for arriving at the highest scale.

This shredded the very basic fiber of the Constitution of Indian Socialistic State by raising  the  ratio  between minimum & maximum of Salary/Pension  to 1: 12.85.  Which is, not only much more higher than the capitalist countries like America & Britain But is also higher than the countries like  Philippines which have weaker economy than India.

This negative and socially regressive effect of the 6th Central Pay Commission has had the effect of worsening wealth and income inequality not only between pre-and post-2006 retirees, but even within pre-2006 retirees wherein higher-ups got full parity in Pension.

While we agree that to retain talent in civil services, higher pay package is needed at bureaucratic level. The need to maintain honorable ratio between minimum & maximum salary in a Socialistic State is constitutional requirement. We therefore, appeal to 7th CPC: That the ratio between maximum & minimum Salary/Pension be brought down to 9:1. Accordingly, 7 th pay commission should first workout the top most revised salary, divide it by 9 to arrive at the minimum revised salary &  derive a uniform multiplication factor  by dividing revised minimum Salary by pre-revised minimum salary for revising  Pay & Pension with the condition that Pension shall not in any case be less than 65% & family Pension 45% of the last Pay in Pay in Pay Band/Pay scale or of average of last 10 months emoluments (Whichever is more beneficial) as was worked out & recommended by TECS (Tata Economic Consultancy Services)  consultant to Vth CPC

           
2. Pension to be 65% of last drawn or 65% of Av. Of   last 10 months emoluments whichever beneficial & Family Pension to be 45% of last drawn or Av. Of 10month whichever is beneficial as was worked out &recommended by TECS (Tata Economic Consultancy Services)  consultant to Vth CPC (Para 127.9 Vol III 5th CPC report)


            3. Grant 5% upward enhancement in pension be granted every five years’  after the age of 60 years & upto 80 years & thereafter as per existing dispensation.

            In the present scenario of climatic changes, incidence of pesticides and rising pollution old age disabilities/diseases set in by the time an employee retires and go on manifesting very fast, needing additional finances to take care of these disabilities and diseases, especially as the cost of health care has gone very high compared to 01.01.2006.


            4.. Pension to be net of Income Tax (Para 167.11(Vth CPC report Vol. III) : The purchase value of pension gets reduced day by day due to continuously high inflation and steep rise in cost of food items and medical facilities. Retired persons/Senior citizens do not enjoy fully public goods and services provided by Government for citizens due to lack of mobility and many other factors. Their ability to pay tax gets reduced from year to year after retirement due to ever-increasing expenditure on food and medicines and other incidentals. 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 the already inadequate pension. To enable pensioners, at the far end of their lives, to live in minimum comfort and to cater for ever rising cost of living, they may be spared from paying Income Tax.


5. Automatic Merger of Dearness relief with Pension :The Pension of Central Government Pensioners undergo revision only once in 10 years during which period the pension structure gets seriously dis-aligned; 50% increase in price takes place even in less than 5 years. This results in considerable erosion of the financial position of the pensioner with otherwise inadequate Pension. As admitted by Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, in his statement to PTI on 27.2.2008, DA does not adequately take care of inflation. 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% as recommended by 5th Central Pay Commission.
                6. Restoration of commuted vale of Pension in 12 years Commutation value in respect of employee superannuating at the age of 60 years between 1.1.1996 and 31.12.2005 and commuting a portion of pension within a period of one year would be equal to 9.81 years Purchase. After adding thereto a further period of two years for recovery of interest, in terms of observation of Supreme Court in their judgment in writ petitions No 395-61 of 1983 decided in December 1986, it would be reasonable to restore commuted portion of pension in 12 years instead of present 15 years. In case of persons superannuating at the age of 60 years after 31.12.2005 and seeking commutation within a year, numbers of purchase years have been further reduced to 8.194. Also, the mortality rate of 60 plus Indians has considerably reduced ever since Supreme Court judgment in 1986; the life expectancy stands at 69 years now.

            7. The 6th Central Pay Commission’s new benefits, e.g. full pension for 20 years of service/10 years in superannuation cases, last pay drawn or average of last 10 months’ pay whichever is beneficial to the retiring employee as emoluments for computation of pension etc., have been limited only to post-1.1.2006 retirees.  This is in violation of the letter and spirit of Hon’ble Apex Court judgment in Nakara Case

            We appeal to the 7th CPC to extend the above benefits to all pre-1.1.2006 retirees with monetary benefit from 1.1.2006 to do them equal justice. And that new benefits as 7th CPC too be made equally applicable to present & past pensioners

8..Medical facilities: To ensure hassle free health care facility to Pensioners/family pensioners, Smart Cards be issued irrespective of departments to all Pensioners and their Dependents for cashless medical facilities across the country. These smart cards should be valid in
•        all Govt. hospitals
•        all NABH accredited Multi Super Specialty hospitals across the country which have been         allotted land at concessional rate or given any aid or concession by the Central or the State govt.
•        all CGHS, RELHS & ECHS empanelled hospitals across the country.
·                Medical attendants. Reimbursement bill for treatment both for hospitalization & No referral should be insisted in case of medical emergencies. For the purpose of reference for hospitalization & reimbursement of expenditure thereon in other than emergency cases Doctors/Medical officers working in different Central/State Govt. department dispensaries/health units should be recognized as Authorized OPD can be made by respective departments.

The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is recognized as a fundamental right of all workers in terms of Article 21 read with Article 39(c), 41, 43, 48A and all related Articles as pronounced by the Supreme Court in Consumer Education and Research Centre & Others vs Union of India (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 922) The Supreme court has held that the right to health to a worker is an integral facet of meaningful right to life to have not only a meaningful existence but also robust health and vigour. Therefore, the right to health, medical aid to protect the health and vigour of a worker while in service or post retirement is a fundamental right-to make life of a worker meaningful and purposeful with dignity of person. Thus health care is not only a welfare measure but is a Fundamental Right.
            We demand that, all the pensioners, irrespective of pre-retiral class and status, be treated as same category of citizens and the same homogenous group. There should be no class or category based discrimination and must be provided Health care services at par with IAS and ex-Ministers.

            9. Hospital Regulatory Authority:To ensure that the hospitals do not avoid providing reasonable care to smart card holders and other poor citizens, a Hospital Regulatory Authority should be created to bring all NABH-accredited hospitals and NABL-accredited diagnostic Labs under its constant monitoring of quality, rates for different procedures & timely bill payments by Govt. agencies and Insurance companies. CGHS rates be revised keeping in mind the workability and market conditions.


    
            10.Fixed Medical allowance (FMA): As is recorded in Para 5 of the minutes of Committee of Secretaries (COS) held on 15.04.2010 (Reference Cabinet Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan No 502/2/3/2010-C.A.V Doc No. CD (C.A.V) 42/2010 Minutes of COS meeting dated 15.4.2010) which discussed enhancement of FMA: CGHS card estimates for serving Personnel since estimates are not available separately for pensioners M/O Health & Family Welfare had assessed the total cost per card p.a. in 2007-2008 = Rs 16435 i.e. Rs.1369 per month for OPD. Adding to its inflation the figure today is well over Rs 2000/- PM. Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India vide its letter no. G-25012/2/2011-SSI dated 07.06.2013 has already enhanced FMA to Rs 2000/- PM for EPFO beneficiaries. Thus, to help elderly pensioners to look after their health, Adequate raise in FMA will encourage a good number of pensioners to opt out of OPD facility which will reduce overcrowding in hospitals. OPD through Insurance will cost much more to the Govt. As such the proposal for raising Fixed Medical allowance to Pensioners is fully justified and is financially viable.

            We demand that FMA for all C.G. Pensioners be raised to at least Rs 2000/- PM without any distance restriction linking it to Dearness Relief for automatic further increase. We further demand that FMA be exempted 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.

            11.Grievance redressal Mechanism: Pensioners/Family Pensioners are exploited, harassed and humiliated by their own counterparts in chair, who at the sight of an old person adopt a wooden face and indifferent attitude. Pensioners do not have representation even in Forums & Committees wherein pension policies and connected matters are discussed. The forum of Pension Adalat too is not of much avail as it meets only once a year which is too long a period for an elderly nearer to his end. Moreover, these Adalats deal with settlement claims only. SCOVA too meets only twice a year for about 3 hours at occasion. Moreover, the scope of SCOVA is limited to feedback on Government policies. DOP (P&PW) is perceived as a toothless authority which lacks direct Service Delivery Capability. It has been striving over the years to redress the Pensioners’ grievances through the ‘Sevottam’ model of the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public grievances; in the absence of strict timeline with punitive clause it is, however, proving to be a failure. Grievances are either not resolved for years or closed arbitrarily without resolving.

            We therefore, appeal that for resolving Pensioners complaints of all pensioners,

(i) A strict time line with punitive clause be introduced in “Sevottam model”
(ii) Grievances are not allowed to be closed without resolving.
(iii) SCOVA be upgraded to JCM level covering all Pensioners by introducing suitable legislative amendment if required.


            12. Representations in various committees : As recommended vide Vth CPC report Vol III para 141.30 Pensioners’ representatives should be included in various committees & other Fora of Govt where issues relating to the welfare of pensioners are likely to be discussed &debated :
Discussing, debating and deciding the matters / Policies relating to Pensioners, with representatives other than those of pensioners, is unfair & against the Rules of ‘Natural Justice’. At present various Committees like National Anomaly Committee (NAC) and JCM (on Pensioner matters), are there wherein matters / policies relating to pensioners’ welfare are discussed and decided, but they do not have pensioners’ representatives with the result their viewpoints, hardships & anomalies are not properly represented. As pensioners are a homogenous class, there is an urgent need to constitute separate Committees for pensioners wherein matters / policies / anomalies relating to pensioners of all Groups, categories &departments may be discussed.


13. that Govt. should not indirectly pressurize courts by appealing again & again to get judgments reversed in its  favor & must implement all court  judgments  in  case of all similarly placed persons.
            14. that benefits  of different Spl allowance such as   NPA for Doctors/ Spl Pay for scientists for some achievements - or to compensate for lack of promotional posts- or grant of additional increments- or  RUNNING  ALLOWANCE for Railway Pensioners  etc......NPA & Running allowance (in case of Railways )  be continued  for revision of Pension of past pensioners..

            These are  common main demands for inclusion in memorandum to 7th CPC (still open to expansion &  addition) to which department wise demands are being compiled in consultation with stake holders &will be attached as annexure to the main memorandum.

S.C.Maheshwari
Secy. Genl. BPS


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