Secy. Genl. at Banglore
Namaskar Bangalore Namaskar Sisters & Brothers
Distinguished Sr comrades on the dais , brothers & sisters I am deeply grateful to Karnataka Post & Telecommunication Pensioners Association for inviting me to this beautiful garden city to be with you.
Comrades ,We belongs to the privileged generation which has had the honor of contributing to both India's independence & consequent Nation building .Forgoing 8.33% matching contribution by Govt. to P.F. and accepting salaries which were intentionally designed at lower level to cater to the pension to be paid after retirement, the Civil & PSU Pensioners' of today, during their productive years worked hard for the development of the country with the hope that the Nation will take care of them during the evening of their lives.
Even today whenever, need arises due to natural calamities or otherwise, Pensioners are first to come out with emotional, monetary & physical support . Stand shoulder to shoulder with the administration and the fellow citizens not only to donate money ,but they go to the extent of donating their organs & even the bodies so that others may live to serve this beautiful country.
Despite old age pensioners make endless contributions to families, communities and the society. They contribute as family care givers, as workers, consumers, volunteers and taxpayers. In fact Pensioners are the ones who have been & are still paying Taxes most honestly.
And what we as pensioners wish to have?
A peaceful and healthy life with dignity. Dignity as guaranteed by the Constitution & pronounced by the Apex court as far back as 17.12.1982.in D S Nakara vs UOI. i.e pension is a deferred wage, pension w/o any cutoff date/or discrimination based on date of retirement should be sufficient to enable pensioner to live with the standard he/she had been living while in service. And that healthcare be recognized as a Fundamental right of ex employee as pronounced by the apex court on 27.10.1995 in the case Consumer education and Research Centre Vs Union of India (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 922) .
But what we are getting? Discrimination ,disparities & neglect.
Ladies & gentlemen; every time, months before CPC recommendations. Media creates a hype! "CG Employees/Pensioners will be richer . Pension& salaries expected to go up 4times, country's finances will derailed etc etc.
A wrong perception is created , as if alms are being doled out!
But what we actually get as revised pension ?
Existing basic Pension+ DR+ fitment benefit = revised pension = about 40% rise in pension for over 90% of pensioners. The fitment benefit, in fact is part of squeezed DR . DR which govt. pays during intervening period of two pay commissions is never sufficient as the very method of calculating ALL INDIA CONSUMER PRICE INDEX FOR INDUSTRIAL WORKERS is fraught with discrepancies. 100% neutralization is an illusion. This was accepted by the then deputy chairman planning comm. Sardar Montek Singh Alluwaliah in his statement to PTI on27.2.2008(published in National dailies on 28.2.2008)
We must therefore, counter this media hype & apprise the civil society of the facts.
Comrades, this time well before the constitution of 7th CPC we at BPS realized that there was lack of consensus among Pensioners & their Associations over common minimum aspirations. So we went over the different parts of the country to connect to grass roots , organized conventions, seminars& consulted sister organizations to know what are our minimum common requirements. We identified common issues and sought support of JCM staff side, thanks to Com. Shiv Gopal Mishra we could get it readily. Each of the identified issue was dotted down with clinching justification and a comprehensive memorandum was submitted to 7th CPC. Chairman CPC was considerate enough to go through our memorandum & to invite BPS for initial discussion on 23.7.2014 & then for final round-table on17.02.2015.
7th CPC as we understand has classified pensioners in two broad categories i.e. Defense Pensioners & Civil Pensioners. For representing civil Pensioners in final round of discussion Pay comm. short listed Bharat Pensioners Samaj.
We are satisfied that the 7th CPC listened to us patiently & appreciated our view point on several important issues such as ratio between min & max. paid to be brought back to 1:8. upward revision of pension to 67/65% of last drawn. Full parity in pension/ carrying forward w/o break the modified parity formula enunciated by 5th CPC. Common multiplication factor to apply uniformly to all, need for downward revision of age for additional pension, additional pension to start from the age of 65 yrs removal of discrimination with those who retire on 31.12 & 30.06,modification of NPS to ensure that min pension shall not be less than 50% of last drawn, DR merger with pension whenever it goes above 50%, 7th CPC recommendations should apply to all w/o cut of date,7th CPC recommendations should apply to BSNL pensioners since governed by ccs(pension rules) Defence civilian pensioners should get exservice-men status, uniform application of CGHS without discrimination such as CGH/non CGHS areas/CSMA rules, removal of discrimination against pensioners of postal & other departments. Periodical revision of CGHS rates to match market conditions, regulatory authority for healthcare facilities. Issuing Smart Cards to all pensioners for hassle free cashless treatment in medical emergencies with all India validity in all empanelled hospitals of CGHS,ECHS,REHS , State govt. as well as in super specialty hospitals which have been allotted land on concesation rates. Upward revision of FMA. Improvement in grievance redressal mechanism etc.
However, they were not agreeable to consider 50% DR merger & interim relief.
Friends, 7th CPC has almost finished recording evidence & we have done our duty well by representing our issues in a forceful manner.
But Government of India’s Policy is explicit as seen from the Budget documents. This Government is anti employee and Pro-employer. Freight charges on Coal, Petroleum product etc. have been increased health care budget is slashed, service tax enhanced &Swatch Bharat cess introduced, Petrol/Diesel prices set to increase, prices of essential commodities increasing due to crops damage on account of unseasonal rains & hail storms. The Interest rates are coming down. We Pensioners’ will pay excess price on essential commodities, receive less interest on savings, will pay more taxes and will not get any tax relief, interim relief or DR merger .
On the other hand. Wealth Tax abolished. Income tax rates for corporate assesses reduced from 30% to 25% . Already Estate duty & Gift Tax stand abolished benefiting the rich. But no provision has been made for VII Central Pay Commission recommendations, though the Government of India has promised implementation from 1.1.2016.
The Fourteenth Finance Commission projected an increase in Pension Payment by 30% in 2016-17 & annual increase rate of 8% thereafter. Thus we may not be getting desired relief through 7th CPC. Middle class should take care of itself says the Finance minister. We should be able to understand the writing on the wall- "bad days ahead".
India considered to be a bright spot in Global economy but is pushing its Pensioners to poverty through anti middle class attitude .
GOI has spent 100s of crores on Administrative reforms, e governance and is now striving for digital India. But in reality our grievances on CPENGRAMS are being closed without resolving. Concerned officers do not read our e.mail. Ministers & even Secretaries have no time to listen to our representations. It take weeks & weeks to get few minutes appointment.
What is the way out?
Why Pensioners who with their spouses account for over 33 million Voters & who are part of larger community of over 120 million Sr citizens should feel harassed & helpless? With their vast knowledge & experience they are a large section of intelligent voters among 120 million Sr citizens voters & can very well be the opinion formers.
Comrades , now is the time to consolidate ourselves into elderly vote bank to ensure that no injustice is done to us.
BPS suggests 3 C formula i.e. Communicate, Co-ordinate & Consolidate”
1. Communicate: World has changed & is constantly changing we too need to change ourselves. Even developed countries have realized that moving alone is not possible anymore and have started communicating with other countries. Same is true for pensioners organizations instead of wasting time & energy in raising new or reviving dormant organizations we need to form strong conglomerate of existing live Federations and Associations. As main aspirations i.e. Financial, Social security & healthcare are common, this is possible. To achieve it communication is the basic tool . So communicate amongst yourself , with your members, affiliates, associates, MOU partners, with Civil Society , National / local leaders ,with Media and with the employees retiring in next six months. Spread awareness about, what pensioners did for the country are still doing for the civil Society. Apprise Civil Society about their service conditions, entitlements as per Constitution, Supreme court pronouncements . Empower Pensioners & Pensioners to be with information, knowledge & network to interconnect. Make full use of Social Media & modern digital technology to interact among yourself & with the civil society to enable them to understand pensioners/family pensioner’s issues & the deficient areas.
2. Co ordinate: Coordinate not only to seek govt. support in deficient areas but to develop systems which may enable all of us to act as one family with mutual confidence, support and growing interdependence. To explain it further I narrate a real life small story " one day at about 9.30 in the night I received a call from a family pensioner from Dimapur in Nagaland .The lady pleaded for help, she was having health problem with no body to look after her, I took her details & rang up Com. kanji lal acting Genl. Secy.NFRPA at Guwahati in Assam, giving the details & assistance required, comrades at Dimapur were informed accordingly, help reached, lady in medical distress was shifted to hospital was referred to Lumding Rly Hospital from where she was referred to Prambur Rly hospital Chennai in TN. I passed on the details to Com. D. Balasubramanium Secy. Genl. AIFPA at Chennai who attended on the patient , contacted doctors & pursued treatment. Though due to legal hurdles we were not obliged with 100% success but the lady today is alive, wkg for family pensioners &realises that she is not alone, she has a large family of Pensioners Brothers and sisters. Comrades, if we have to survive with dignity then such should be our system of mutual confidence, interdependence & coordination that non of us feel lonely &helpless.
Share information, technology and resources with Affiliates/Associates MOU partners/sister organizations &members .Coordinate and provide support to members, affiliates and associate associations. Coordinate & stand shoulder to shoulder with the administration & fellow citizens during National emergencies , natural calamities. Launch and participate in welfare activities such as organ donation for the good of civil society.
3.Consolidate: Inspire more & more pensioners/Associations/Federations to come together. Strive to bring all C.G; State, PSU, EPS95 pensioners/family pensioners together. Inspire sister organizations sign MOUs to jointly & severally struggle for resolving common issues. BPS AIFPA &NFRP Palghat have been successfully wkg with such an agreement I invite other likeminded pensioners organizations to join. BPS today has over 14 lac audience on Social media platform, let us utilize the facility for pensioners' cause. We throw it open to all like minded organizations. Add more & more , friends , viewers & followers on Social media pages . Share pensioner's related posts as much as possible.
Due to age & ailments, traditional agitational methods like Dharnas, Demonstrations etc are losing sheen for pensioners . Let us blend old & new techniques, strengthen presence on social media to highlight pensioners issues & deficient areas . Streamline & inter- link available resources like publications, websites, Blogs, Groups, Face book, Twitter, You Tube etc. BPS has launched a pilot project 'PENSIONERS OWN MEDIA' under which publications of like minded Pensioners organizations who willingly provide us their publications in pdf format are being uploaded on BPS website, Blog, Face book, Twitter & BPS 1955 yahoo group.
Let us make best use of modern technology /opportunities combined with traditional methods to consolidate ‘Elderly Vote Power’, the ultimate weapon & panacea for all our ills.
Comrades, we are not a helpless or a useless lot. Neither we are a liability to the society or a burden on the exchequer. We are an asset for the civil society & the Govt.
We can still turn the TIDES. With 'elderly vote power' we have the ability to change Govt. Even in our death we have the capacity to give life to 5 persons (by organ donation )
We may not live to see the end results but it is our responsibility to give correct direction & a road map to pensioners of tomorrow.
Brothers & Sisters I request you to consider the suggestion for adoption.
Secy. Genl. Bharat Pensioners Samaj