Friday, February 27, 2015

SCOVA 26th minutes


DOPW has drawn the minutes to suit their convenience, omitting what members actually discussed. All objections to draft minutes overruled.

http://1drv.ms/1wutJ7Y

Minutes of the 26th meeting of Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) held on 03.02.2015 under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble MOS (PP) at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi.
The list of participants is at Annexure-A


2. At the outset Joint Secretary (Pension) welcomed Hon’ble MOS (PP), Secretary, Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, representatives of Pensioners Associations and the participating officers of various Ministries/Departments. It was stated that SCOVA is a multi- party forum and a platform for sharing views. Under the able leadership of the Hon’ble Minister, the Department will continue to streamline the various policy issues for the benefit of the pensioners.

3. Thereafter, Hon’ble MOS (PP), Chairman, SCOVA, welcomed all participants to the meeting. He said that presently the number of pensioners is more than the number of employees in service. Hence, there is a large pool of experience which can be utilized in a constructive manner. MOS (PP) also mentioned that the Department has been able to effectively deliver on most of what was promised. Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) has been increased from ` 300 to ` 500, online grievance monitoring system CPENGRAMS is being used to keep the number of outstanding grievances to a minimum, BHAVISHYA (online pension sanction and payment tracking system) has been extended to 25 Ministries/Departments. MOS(PP) also stated that the Pensioner’s Portal is a part of the e-governance system which is in itself a priority of the present Government. He said that initiative “Sankalp” had immense potential to contribute to the welfare of pensioners who could continue to contribute to the society after their retirement. Regarding the issue of agenda points suggested by the various Pensioners Associations being summarily rejected, it was informed that due importance was attached to all agenda points. However, owing to time constraints some of them are taken up for discussion during the SCOVA meeting and the items which were specific to a particular Department were forwarded to the concerned Ministries/Departments for taking necessary action. Hon’ble MOS(PP) emphasized that each Department should look at the pensioners as their own responsibility and treat them as their family members.
It was pointed out by Pensioners’ Associations that there has been delay in payment of the enhanced amount of Fixed Medical Allowance in several Postal Circles. The instructions of Department of Posts to Postal Circles for accessing the orders from the website of DoP&PW and send the copies to the Pension Disbursing Offices without delay are not being followed. A suggestion was made that the Heads of Postal Divisions (instead of the designated Officer in Postal Circle Offices) may be authorised to download the relevant order from the website of DoP&PW and send the copies to the Head Post Offices to effect timely payment to the Pensioners.

4. Thereafter, the Action Taken Report of 25th SCOVA meeting and Fresh Agenda items of 26th SCOVA meeting were taken up for discussion.

5. Discussion on ATR of 25th SCOVA meeting:-
i) Sl.No 1 of ATR: Status of issue of revised PPOs to pre-2006 pensioners.
a) CPAO informed that 29,615 cases were pending for revision. Despite several efforts, no further information was coming forth in respect of the pre- 1990 PPOs. They have approached banks and pensioners to obtain the missing information. CPAO was advised to hold meetings with individual Ministries and sort out cases issue wise so that solutions could be worked out and the pendency brought down to zero. CPAO was also advised to discuss the issue with Ministry of Railways and Department of Defence who had shown remarkable progress and brought down the pendency to Nil.
(Action: CPAO)
b) One of the Pensioner Association intimated that a number of cases were still pending in the Maharashtra Circle post offices. The Department of Posts intimated that they would consider delegating authority of revision to sub-post offices. In case of Patiala Circle, date of birth of spouse is not indicated in the revised PPOs. In respect of the comments of other Pensioners Associations, they were requested to give specific case wherein revised authority has not been issued.
(Action: Department of Posts)
c) The Ministry of Railways informed that only 5000 cases are pending where no records are available and revised PPOs could not be issued. However, the Pensioners Association informed that in Firozpur, Ambala and Delhi revised PPOs in some cases have not been issued. Ministry of Railways was therefore asked to reconfirm their figures of revised PPOs.
(Action: Ministry of Railways)
d) Department of Telecommunications informed that as on date 867 cases are pending and out of which 665 cases pertain to BSNL. Necessary action to revise these are being taken.
(Action : Department of Telecom)
e) D/o Ex-Servicemen Welfare informed that revised PPOs have been issued in most of the cases. This was refuted by the Defence Pensioner Association. Pensioners Associations were requested to give the list of the pending cases to the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare, which will take the matter with CGDA. However, CGDA was asked to also reconfirm their figures.
(Action: Ministry of Defence)
Jt. Secretary (P) requested all the Ministries/Departments to issue revised authorities for all pending cases before the next SCOVA meeting so that this item could be closed finally.
On the issue of Pension Adalat, the associations wanted that they be allowed to represent the cases of the illiterate family pensioners. It was clarified that they could very well represent the cases as individuals and not as representatives of Pensioners’ Associations. Pension Adalats were being held regularly by Survey of India for their organization, and Ministry of Defence were also conducting the same regularly hence the item may be closed.
(ii) Sl.No 2 of ATR :- Broad Banding of Disability Element for Pre-1996 cases.
The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare informed that the orders have been issued. The Department was advised to speedily implement the orders so that the benefit could percolate to all concerned pensioners, it was therefore decided to close the matter.
(iii) Sl.No 3 of ATR:- Health Insurance Scheme for pensioners including those residing at non-CGHS areas.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare intimated that the EFC Memo has been recast and has been sent to IFD for approval. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was advised to expedite a decision in this respect.
One of the pensioner association requested that the prosthesis issued to the orthopedically disabled may also be considered for insurance for easy replacement/repairs thus saving expense.
(Action: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare)
 (iv) Sl.No 4 of ATR:- Dedicated day for pensioners.
It was pointed out that in the case of Defence Pensioners, though a mechanism had been created in September, 2014 no meetings were held. The Ministry of Defence representatives were requested to hold regular meetings. Since, most of the Departments have set up institutional mechanism for meeting with the pensioners, the agenda item was closed.

(v) Sl.No 5 of ATR :- Special Family Pension for the Widows of Disabled War Veterans.
The Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare informed that the matter is being reconsidered by CGDA. One of the Pensioners Associations clarified that this issue is only for the war disabled veterans invalided out of service who are very few in number and deserved empathetic consideration. To hasten the process DoPPW may take up matter with the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri.
(Action: - D/o of Ex-servicemen Welfare ,CGDA and DoPPW)

(vi) Sl.No 6 of ATR :-
(a) The Orders of Ministry of Health reiterating that all the pensioners are at liberty to opt themselves with any of the nearest CGHS hospital/ dispensary may be widely circulated.
Arbitrary orders dated 01/08/1996 and 01/09/1996 issued by Ministry of Health and Director of CGHS may be withdrawn and the benefit of CGHS facilities be allowed to the pensioners of Department of Post and Department of Telecom.
(b) Medical facilities for existing P&T pensioners.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare intimated that various issues including the issue relating to extension of CGHS facility to P&T pensioners is likely to be considered in a meeting of the Committee of Secretaries to be held shortly. As regards, the orders dtd 01.08.1996 and 01.09.1996, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed that the matter was still sub-judice.
(Action: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare)

(vii) Sl.No 7 of ATR:- Anomaly in fixation of pension to DoT employees absorbed in BSNL, who retired between 1.10.2000 and 31.7.2001.
It was informed that since the last SCOVA meeting, two meetings were held with the officials of Department of Telecom on 29.09.2014 and 30.12.2014 and Department of Telecom was advised to expedite the details/Reply sought in DoPPW’s ID Note dtd 28.02.2014.Department of Telecom informed that the BSNL is collecting the requisite information sought by DoPPW from corporate offices of BSNL/MTNL. Department of Telecom was advised to send a reply to DoPPW within a fortnight.
(Action: D/o Telecom & DoPPW)

(viii) Sl No.8 of ATR :- Merger of 78.2% IDA with basic pension benefit to the absorbed BSNL Pensioners.
It was informed that the proposal has been approved by Department of Expenditure,
in principle. Department of Telecom informed that as per the advice of the Department of Expenditure a Cabinet Note has been prepared and sent to their IFD for approval. Department of Telecom was advised to finalise the draft Cabinet Note and circulate it to the concerned Ministries by the end of February,2015.
(Action: D/o Telecom & D/o Expenditure)
(ix) Sl.No 9 of ATR :- Extension of benefit of upgraded Grade Pay to pre-2006 retirees of S-12 grade.
D/o Expenditure had earlier observed that the benefit to grade pay of the 4600/- could not be extended to those who retired from the S-12 pay scale before 01.01.2006 as it was an upgraded scale. However, the Department of Expenditure has since sought to re-examine the issue and the relevant file on the issue has been forwarded by DoPPW to D/o Expenditure for reconsideration on
22.01.2015. D/o Expenditure was advised to expedite a decision in this regard.
(Action: D/o Expenditure & DoPPW)

(x) S.No.10 of ATR :- Extension of benefit of OM dt. 28.1.2013 w.e.f 1.1.2006 instead of 24.9.2012
It was informed that the matter is sub-judice and the next date of hearing in the SLP No 36148-50/2013 in the Hon’ble Supreme Court was fixed for 17.02.2015.
(Action: D/o P&PW)

 (xi) S.No 11 of ATR:- Stepping up of Disability Element on the basis of Fitment Tables.
D/o Ex-Servicemen Welfare intimated that the matter is pending with CGDA. They were advised to meet the CGDA personally to expedite the case in one month.
(Action: D/o Ex-servicemen Welfare)

(xii) S.No 12 of ATR:- Income Certificate to be produced by the Family Pensioner.
Ministry of Railways have already reiterated their instructions. They were advised to display these instructions on the website. The item may therefore be closed.

(xiii) S.No 13 of ATR:- Extension Counter of CGHS Wellness Centre at Srinagar and Upgradation of facilities at CGHS Wellness Centre at Jammu including Construction of CGHS Hospital on the plot of land allotted by J&K Govt. at Jammu.
Various issues concerning CGHS including the above issue, were discussed by JS(P), DoPPW in a meeting with AS& DG(CGHS). Various suggestions for providing a centre at Srinagar had been considered in the meeting. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed that while there were huge resource constraints, overall CGHS reforms were being looked into by the Committee of Secretaries (COS). Regarding upgradation of CGHS Wellness Centre at Jammu, it was informed that computers had been procured and supplied. Funds have been released and the procurement of other equipment was being processed. The work is expected to be completed shortly.
Regarding posting of an additional doctor at the CGHS Wellness Centre at Jammu, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was advised to explore the possibility of taking the services of a doctor from the State Govt. on deputation.
(Action: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare)

(xiv) S.No 14 of ATR:- Delay in family pension to next eligible family member in case of death of widow.
There is no case pending in DoPPW and no specific case was intimated by the SCOVA members, the item may therefore be closed.

(xv) S.No 15 of ATR:- Extension of CGHS facilities to retired BSNL employees -Issue of follow up order by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare & fixation of rates of contribution & ward entitlement by DoT.
Department of Telecom informed that since the pay structure in BSNL and Central Govt. was different, the orders of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding ward entitlement on the basis of pay band/grade pay could not be made applicable in the case of BSNL retirees. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare requested Department of Telecom to suggest alternate mechanism for the retirees of BSNL. Department of Telecom was advised to send a proposal to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this regard in a month’s time.
(Action : Ministry Health and Family Welfare, Department of Telecom)

6. Discussion on Fresh Agenda Points for the 26th SCOVA meeting:-
(26.1) Simultaneous issue of orders for the release of Dearness Allowance
Department of Expenditure intimated that although they do not propose to issue common order both for DA and DR, the proposal could be considered and a copy of the approved Cabinet Note may be forwarded to enable the DoPPW to issue orders at an early date. No separate approval of Ministry of Finance would be required thereafter for issue of DR orders.
(Action: D/o Expenditure and DoPPW)
(26.2) Co-authorisation of Family Pension of Permanently disabled children/dependent parents and permanently disabled siblings.
The Ministry of Defence were asked to proactively take up the issue and finalise the case within a week.
(Action: Ministry of Defence)
(26.3) Non-adherence of extant rules with regard to submission of life certificate.
Regarding complaints in respect of submission of life certificate, SCOVA members were requested to give specific cases. CPAO was advised to give wide publicity to their Toll Free number so that the complaints could be lodged.
(Action:- CPAO and D/o Financial Services)


(26.4) Provision of CGHS facility for life time to dependent disabled/mentally retarded children of Central Government employees/ pensioners.
Ministry of Health was advised to examine the suggestion for extension of CGHS facilities to married disabled/mentally retarded daughter on the analogy of continuation of family pension to such children even after marriage. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare intimated that they will examine the issue.
(Action:- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare)

7. Concluding, Secretary (P) stated that the public grievance module CPENGRAMS has been streamlined and lot of improvements have come after its merger with CPGRAMS. The website of the Department has all the latest orders available at the click of the mouse. He urged the SCOVA members to help the pensioners above 80 to get their Adhaar numbers so that they could exercise the online “Jeevan Pramaan” facility which would be of immense help to them. He urged the Department of Telecom to resolve the pending issues with BSNL at an early date. Finally concluding MOS(PP) indicated that Inter Departmental Communication should extend even beyond SCOVA and each Department should look at their pensioners as their responsibility and take out time for communicating or meeting with them.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.
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