Secy Genl. BPS speech at Lumding on 2.4.2016 on 02.04.2016
Respected Guests, office bearers Govt pensioners welfare organization ,NFRPA, Brothers & Sisters,
I thank you all to have invited me and to be with you this day at Lumding.
Ladies & gentlemen we are all eagerly waiting for the notification implementing 7th CPC recommendations. Presently Implementation cell of the Empowered Committee of Secretaries is examining the grievances of employees and the Pensioners. After giving final touch to report, Empowered Committee will send recommendations to PMO for its nod. Once PMO go through the report, it will be placed before the Cabinet for final approval. The whole process maystill take another about one months or so. We are getting information through print media that PMO has forwarded our representations/demands to the Empowered Committee of Secretaries with instructions to adjust genuine demands as far as possible.
Comrades, 7th CPC invited & listened patiently to Bharat Pensioners Samaj more than once. I, as Secy Genl Bharat Pensioners Samaj, got the chance to interact with the comm.3 times..7thCPC hasaccepted few of our demands in Principle.
So let us today examine what we asked for, what CPC recommended, and the Grievances as well as discrepancies we have referred to ECOS for redressal and the genuineness of our demands &grievances.
1.Stating that pension is always related to Salary, we represented to the pay commission to calculate need base minimum wage ensuring that wide gulf between haves & have lots is reasonably reduced. Pay Comm. after discussion did agree to calculate need base minimum wage for a family of 4 i.e. Husband wife & Two children. However, Pay Comm. without updating the criteria evolved by ILO in 1957 which in turn was based on age old Dr. Wallace Aykroyd formula for an average Indian family of four involved in moderate physical activity considering it as three consumption units -- husband: one unit, wife: 0.8 unit and two children below 14 yrs of age: 0.6 units each, calculated the minimum Salary.
Considering the changes which have taken place since 1957 BPS has raised three major issues in this reference .1 Considering wife of the employee as 0.8 unit as compared to husband as 1 unit is gender bias. Today physical & and intellectual activities of the lady of the house are in no way less than her male counterpart. She needs the same rather more nutrients, calories and clothing. No 2. That growing children below 14 yrs. age for their healthy intellectual & physical growth needs much more and better nutrients, Calories, education & clothing compared to 1957. Then how they can betaken as 0.6 unit compared to head of the family. And No3 that Prices of commodities/facilities taken by the pay commission are on lower side compared to actual market prices. Also instead of reducing minimum -maximum paid ratio CPC has increased it.
These factors put together have resulted in calculation of Minimum Salary on lower side and is responsible for increased min-max ratio & lower common multiplication factor, thus minimum Salary needs upward revision.
If this is done common multiplication factor 2.57 which resulted in much less the rise than given by earlier Pay commissions will automatically go up.
2 OROP for all While asking for One Rank One Pension i.e persons retired from same rank, same seniority & equal length of service should get equal pension irrespective of date of retirement. We explained to the 7thCPC that ‘Justice must be equal for all, otherwise, it breeds contempt, discontent, inefficiency, corruption & finally the insurgency. Vast inequality of income and wealth between lowest & the highest paid, violates Article 14of the Constitution, has already induced contempt, discontent, inefficiency & corruption in Civil services.
Govt. granted One Rank One Pension (OROP) to Armed forces. Judges granted it to themselves. Even aperiod of private practice of lawyer judges is to be counted towards qualifying service. Higher bureaucracy got it through modified parity. All other Central Govt. Pensioners are definitely not the 2nd grade citizens! One Rank One Pension to all retirees is now a constitutional requirement to ensure equality.
7th CPC re-iterating the famous D.S.Nakra case agreed in principle & did recommend 100% parity but the method of implementation & the pay matrix evolved defeats the purpose. Not only that it will not provide full parity for lower & middle level retirees, it will result in juniors drawing more pension than their seniors& give more benefit to direct group ‘A’retirees. Moreover, there are errors in the matrix designed. For example, entry pay for 4800GP in PB 2 is calculated as Rs18175 instead of Rs18750.
We have therefore sought rectification of such discrepancies in pay matrix ensuring that persons retired from same rank, same seniority & equal length of service get equal pension irrespective of date of retirement.
Common Multiplication factor: We had pleaded before the pay comm.to provide a common multiplication factor applicable to all, so that everyone get equal % rise.
Pay comm. while positively reacting, recommended 2.57 as common multiplication factor by dividing revised minimum Salary by existing min.Salary but in the first place since minimum salary calculated wrongly to keep it on lower side, this factor remained to be low to provide only .32% benefit which is lower than .40% provided by earlier pay panels. And secondly 7th CPC provided from back door a factor of 2.81 to higher ups through the jugglery of Pay matrix. We have therefore sought from the ECOS a common multiplication factor of 2.81 for all.
Downward revision of 100yrs age for additional pension i.e. additional pension to start from the age of 65 yrs. BPS pleaded before the Pay Panel that in the present scenario of climatic changes, incidence of pesticides in food articles 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. Grant of 100% additional Pension after 100 years of age is rather illusionary in view of chances of survival up to or beyond age of 100 years being rare.
It is therefore, requested that 10% Additional Pension should be granted every 5 years from the age of 65 to 75 years & thereafter 20% every 5 years from 80 years onwards and 100% at the age of 90yrs. After discussions pay comm. Had agreed to consider granting additional age related Pension from the age of 75 yrs.& above. But alas! Issue was rejected merely because defence ministry did not accept it. We have requested ECOS to revisit the issue stating that in case defence ministry does not agree let the defence pensioners not have it. Why make all others to suffer for the sake of one section?
Fixed medical allowance (FMA): BPS represented that:
M/O Health & Family Welfare spent per card Rs.1369 per month in 2007-2008 for OPD. Adding to it 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 minimum of Rs 2000/- FMA be granted. 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.
We suggested that FMA for all C.G. Pensioners be raised to at least Rs 2000/- PM linking it to Dearness Relief for automatic further increase and without any distance restriction as distance restriction is discriminatory to those who do not choose Govt. schemes/hospitals. We further suggested that FMA be exempted from INCOME TAX. Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) is a compensatory allowance to meet day today medical expenses. As Medical Reimbursement is not taxable, FMA should also be exempted from Income Tax.
This demand has been rejected by the Pay Panel on the ground that FMA was recently hiked from Rs 300 to Rs500PM.
We have represented to ECOS to revisit the issue & to accept the demand to raise FMA to Rs 2000/ PM. NCJCM is supporting our demand & we expect some positive result
Medical facilities/Health care:BPS represented That “Health is not a luxury” and “not be the sole possession of a privileged few”.
It is a Fundamental Right of all present & past Employees!
To ensure hassle free health care facility to Pensioners/family pensioners, Smart Cards be issued irrespective of departments, to all Pensioners/Family 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 are given any aid or concession by the Central or the State govt.
• all CGHS, RELHS & ECHS empaneled hospitals across the country.
Reimbursement of bills for treatment & 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 medical attendant.
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 A, 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)
We suggested that, all the pensioners, irrespective of pre-retiral class and status, be treated as same category of citizens and the same homogeneous group. There should be no class or category based discrimination and all must be provided Health care services at par. We also requested the commission to recommend to govt. to make preventive health care an essential ingredient of all health care schemes for retired Persons. And that CGHS,RELHS, ECHS&ESI should be pooled together to provide a strong network of health care with lager coverage area
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 may be revisedperiodically keeping in mind the workability as per market conditions.
The7th pay comm. recommends Medical Insurance for all. This of course will be beneficialto all those who are presently not covered by any of the present schemes. But the major issues with Insurance scheme for pensioners' i.e. (1) Coverage of existing disease (2) OPD facilities (3) Amount of coverage for a family (4) Amountof Premium and its yrly payment need to be resolved before introduction. On pooling of different existing schemes to increase coverage & easy accessibility, Pay Comm. did agree that it will create a very strong network of health carebut has left it to the Govt. to look into. On the issue of Smart card for cashless treatment for all pensioners in all empaneled hospitals 7th pay comm. has not come out with anyrecommendation.
The Pay Panel recommendation regarding withdrawal of discriminatory orders of MOH &FW regarding Postal Pensioners & merging of all postal dispensaries with CGHS is welcomed.
7th pay commission has either rejected for left unaddressed the issues like:
1. Ratio between min & max. paid to be brought back to 1:8.
2. Upward revision ofpension to 67/65% of last drawn.& Family pension 50%of LPD
3 Removal of discrimination with those who retire on 31.12 & 30.06
4. Modification of NPS to ensure Family Pension as per pre 2004 rules & that min pension shall not be less than 50% of last drawn
5. DR merger with pension whenever it goes above 50%
In a scenario wherein Corporates are swallowing 5.3 lac crore through unpaid loans and Legislators are in a spree to hike their own Salaries & Perks.What if our genuine demands/grievance are not addressed?:
Prepare for long drawn struggle?– What are the options?:
1.Legal remedy: it is not a viable solution for pensioners as it takes years & need huge money.
2. Print & Electronic media: Does not high light our issues. Most of the times it involves substantial payments for paid news /Press conferences.
3.Representations/correspondence & meetings with Ministers & Govt.officials are of little use except for resolving individual grievances.
4. Demonstrations Rallies: Will be affective if we are able to pool few thousand pensioners. This will need months of advance preparations, strong contacts, communication and money.
5. Mustering support of Politicians: Will be helpful. However, this will come if we have large following & good contacts as they always eyeyour vote strength.
6. Social media: Is very strong & effective platform we already have a large audience of over 22 lac consisting of Elderly, younger people, politicians, Ministers, MPs, Govt. officers& professionals. In short persons from all walks of life. Over 12 lacs of pensioners are computer savvy who can play very important role.
7.Pensioners Own media:i.ePeriodical magazines/newsletters, websites blogs, Facebook Pages,Twitter handles.You Tube Channels: Can prove to be very effective for creating awareness, dissemination of information and motivation.
8. Join hands with Trade unions /confederations /Associations of employees: For them Pensioners issues are the last priority for them. Recently while trimming down their demands,they have dropped down all the issues of Pensioners except that of FMA
Ladies & Gentlemen,
As far back as 1955 Retired Justice late Sh.Shankar Saran of Allahabad high court, dreamed of giving a strong voice to pensioners community through consolidation. He dreamed of developing systems to enable pensioners of the country to act as one family with mutual confidence, support and growing interdependence. With this dream he founded Bharat Pensioners Samaj in 1955 which has today grown into the largest Federation of Pensioners Associations with over 7 lac members through over 650 Affiliates & Associates.
Moving forward through the decades with this dream of the founder, BPS took on its shoulders the responsibility of Welfare of Pensioners Community.
After years of welfare work for the Pensioners community BPS evolved 4 ‘C’ action plan for the final fulfillment of the dream i.e
4 C action plan, The prerequisites for 4C action plan
1) Collection of Pensioners Contact details i.e. Mob. Phone Nos &email addresses,2) Identification of issues 3). Motivation 4). Designing & launching a campaign
The four "C" action Plan
1. Communicate: World has changed & is constantly changing we too need to change ourselves. Even developed countries have realized that moving alone is not possibleanymore and have started communicating with other countries. Same is true for pensioner’s 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. Aggressively use Social Media & modern digital technology to interact among yourself & with the civil society to enable them to understand pensioner’s/family pensioner’s issues& the deficient areas.
2. Coordinate: 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. Comrades, if we have to survive with dignity then such should be our system of mutual confidence, interdependence & coordination that none 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 and 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 &statuary body pensioners/family pensioners together. Inspire sister organizations sign MOUs to jointly & severally struggle for resolving common issues. BPS, AIFPA, NFRPPalghat& AISCCON have been successfully wkg with such an agreement. I inviteother likeminded pensioner’s organizations to join. BPS today has over 22 lac audience on Social media platform, let us utilize the facility for pensioners' cause. We have thrown it open to all likeminded organizations. Add more & more, friends, viewers &followers on Social media pages. Share pensioner's related posts as much as possible. Twit & retweet pensioners/ sr citizen issues issue
Due to age &ailments, traditionalagitational methods like Dharnas, Demonstrations etc are losing sheen for pensioners. Let us blend old & new techniques, strengthen presence to highlight pensioner’s 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 likeminded Pensioners organizations who willingly provide us their publications in pdf format up-to 5MB are being uploaded on BPS website, Blog, Face book, Twitter & BPS 1955 yahoo group.BPS 'Bharat Pensioner'(monthly publication) has circulation ofover 64000 pdf copies through Social media &email.
4.Contribute: Contribute whatever you can, your ideas, knowledge,experiences, efforts & of course money to make the project succeed.
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, useless or a tired 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.
Jai hind, Jai Bharat.
Er. S.C. Maheswari
Secy. Genl. Bharat Pensioners Samaj