Saturday, October 29, 2016

Secretary General’s Draft Report to 61st BPS AGM to be held on 13.11.2016 at New Delhi


Respected distinguished Guests, BPS Office-bearers, Managing Committee members, Delegates, Brothers & Sisters,I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to this 61st AGM of Bharat Pensioners Samaj Federation here at Delhi. I seek your kind permission to submit this report in this august house. Our 60th AGM was held at Amritsar on 29.11.2015. With a view to providing more convenience to the participants, we have organized this AGM at Delhi in the spacious Mavalankar Hall in Constitution Club in spite of the high cost. I, on behalf of BPS, express my sincere thanks to all of you for coming all the way from different parts of the country and making this AGM a great success. I am also thankful to Punjab National Bank & Portea Medical who are co-sponsoring this 61st BPS AGM.
As you all know, Federation Bharat Pensioners Samaj is a non-political, non-profitable and non-governmental organisation with sole mission to bring 57 lac of CG pensioners, 80 lac state Govt. pensioners & 45 lac EPS 95 pensioners together and to ensure their welfare with respect to Financial security, Healthcare & Social security. As a step towards this goal, BPS with its over 680 affiliate and associate associations, has MOU with AISCCON, AIFPA & NFRP to struggle jointly and severally for common issues. Together with MOU Partners, Affiliates and Associates, today we represent over 20 lac Sr. citizens/Pensioners. We have also given an open invitation to all other organisations with similar thinking to join with us as MOU partners/affiliates.
Bharat Pensioners Samaj submitted its Memorandum to the 7th CPC on 25.5.2014 raising 24 issues relating to Pension & Healthcare. National Council Joint Consultative Machinery (NCJCM-Staff Side) also supported our demands through their Memorandum. 7th CPC invited BPS on 23.7.2014 and again on 17.2.2015 for discussions on the demands raised. Pay Commission listened to us very patiently with their positive response on several issues prompting us to have high expectations. The Commission submitted its report on 19.11.2015. But alas! Inspite of the fact that the 7th CPC agreed to several of our demands in principle, the final outcome has not been very encouraging.
After the declaration of 7th CPC recommendations, the period between 60th to this 61st AGM has been very crucial with several new challenges thrown up. Alongwith several other demands we had represented that wide gulf between minimum and maximum paid should be narrowed down and brought back to 1.7.1996 level of 1:8 and a common multiplication factor for revision of pay and pension be worked out so that everyone gets a uniform raise. BPS for the past over 30 years has been struggling for 100% parity i.e. OROP for every pensioner. At the same time, we represented to the 7thCPC (as also to earlier CPCsS) also that there should be 100% parity between pre and post CPCs Pensioners.
Instead of reducing the gap this Commission further raised it to 1:13.88 and worked out 2.57 as common multiplication factor (CMF) for all, gave a parity formula through notional fixation of pay & accepted our demand for merging postal dispensaries with CGHS.
Evidently, the Pay Commission did in principle accept our submissions, regarding CMF and parity between pre & post 2016 retirees. But the multiplication factor of 2.57 is very much on the lower side. It is a ratio between minimum revised pay of Rs18,000/ & existing minimum pay of 7,000/- which, after 10 years gives a raise of 14.29% i.e. 1.429 % per year. Even for the existing employees, it comes to the same & even if, in case working employees, their 3% per year increment is added, it is a raise of 4.29 % per year which is not only historically low in past 70 years which any Govt. has given but also much less than that of any Private sector enterprise. And yet, the media created a big hype and thrown up false perception in the Civil Society that the pay of C.G. employees has been raised from Rs 7,000/- to 18,000/- and that Pension is raised from Rs3,500/- to 9,000/- which, according to them, was too much, rather extravagant for the govt. employees whom they consider to be inefficient and what not! Forgetting that raise is from Rs15,750/- to 18,000/- and that final take home advantage after deductions is only Rs 500/- per month after 10 years. Similarly, in case of pensioners it is 7,875/- to 9,000/- after a gap of 10 years i.e. an increase of Rs112.5 Per year. This has happened because of incorrect calculation of minimum revised salary resulted not only by adoption of lower prices of commodities but also due to adoption of Dr. Aykroyd formula of 1948 without updating it. It is surprising as to how a gender-biased 1948 formula adopted by Indian Labour Conference (ILC) in 1957S, without updating it, in the digital India of 2016. In today’s scenario, how can the Indian Civil Society accept a formula for minimum requirement which treats the lady of the house as 0.8 unit compared to the adult male of the house as 1(one) unit. Further, this formula does not at all take into consideration the minimum requirement of today’s 21st century Digital India i.e. a smart mobile phone with an internet connection, I Pad etc. Considering the wife to be .8 unit is a gender bias indicating colonial mindset of Dr Aykroyd. In the present scenario, a wife too puts in the same amount, in fact rather more, of physical and intellectual work as compared to the husband. She needs more nutrients and healthcare to keep herself fit to be a mother and as an educationist for her school going children. She needs better clothing than 1957. A lady whether she is a wife of a labourer or of a Secretary to Govt. of India, has a basic right to keep herself reasonably presentable for which she needs some minimum add-ons. As such treating her to be less than a unit is gross injustice, gender bias and unconstitutional. Similarly, growing children of upto 14 years of age need more of proteins, fats & carbohydrates, need to take sufficient exercise & field activities for healthy growth. Today they need much better and more clothing, better education & healthcare compared to the 50s. The Nation needs healthy and stout young citizens. It is against the National interest to restrict their need-based minimum requirement to .6 unit.
Thus BPS submitted a Memorandum to the Govt. that the Minimum Salary & correspondingly the fitment benefit of 2.57 need an upward revision. As of now, the Govt. has referred the issue to a committee and the outcome is still awaited.
BPS asks the media, the Civil society & the Govt that, if govt employees are/were not working then who has been/is running the Govt, the Railways, the ordnance Factories, the Post Offices, Income-Tax & other establishments and how the country is progressing and getting transformed and GDP growing at globally top rate?
Similarly, in respect of Pensioners, Bharat Pensioners Samaj wants the media, the civil society, the Govt and all those who consider pension to be a burden on the exchequer to understand that existing pensioners were never a burden on exchequer and that their pension is not completely a non-contributory defined benefit. While in service, they contributed sufficiently well towards their pension and it is their deferred wage which is now being paid after their retirement. As significantly pointed out by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, Pensioners while in service let the Govt keep 8.33% (with interest) of their salary every month and, by any conservative estimate, cumulatively today this amount stands at more than Rs. 3,75,000/- crores. Over 33% pension expenditure can easily be met with the interest on this amount.
As far back as 17.12.1982, Constitution Bench of the Apex Court in case of D S Nakara vs UOI (AIR1983,SC130) ruled “that pension is neither a bounty nor a matter of grace depending upon the sweet will of employer …..(Para 186 SC judgement & Para 127.5 Vth CPC)”. It has been earned by the sweat of their brow (employee)….. (Para 127.6 Vth CPC)” . It is a deferred wage and that pension should be such that pensioner is able to live with the ‘standard equivalent at pre-retiral level’….. (Para 184 of SC judgement,7th CPC Para 10.1.4 & Paras 127.3 to 127.6 of Vth CPC report Part III). 5th CPC had appointed TECS (Tata Economic Consultancy Services) as consultants who suggested 67% of the last pay drawn (LPD) to be the pension (Para 127.9 of 5th CPC report). The Govt. has been paying us only 50% of LPD & 17% of LPD, still continues to contribute towards pension.
Present-day pensioners while in service worked on pay scales which were intentionally designed at lower level to cater for Pension. Govt. of India’s 6th CPC sponsored a study on retirement benefits of Central Government employees in 2007 by Dr Gayithri of Centre of Economic Studies & Policy, Institute for Social Economic Change, Bangalore. It came out in her report that the pay scales of pensionable Govt employees were intentionally designed at lower level to cater for pension after retirement. (Chapter 2 page 22-24). Going down the memory lanes we remember that during our service lives whenever, the Trade Unions, on the basis of the equal work equal pay formula, demanded parity in pay with PSUs, the Govt. replied that as pension is to be paid after retirement, Govt. employees pay cannot be at par with PSUs.
The senior citizens’ corner in the pensioners’ portal of the Government of India reads as follows: “Senior citizens are a treasure to our society. They have worked hard all these years for the development of the nation as well as the community. They possess a vast experience in different walks of life. At this stage, they need to be taken care of and made to feel special.” True after independence, by the dint of their hard work, today’s pensioners have considerably contributed to whatever progress the country has made since then . Even today, pensioners make endless contributions to their families, communities and society. They contribute as family caregivers, as workers, consumers, volunteers and taxpayers. Our affiliates/associates & members have been motivating pensioners to indulge in social welfare of the civil society. Whenever there is a natural calamity, pensioners come forward not only with monetary assistance but physically and emotionally also they stand shoulder to shoulder with civil administration and the fellow citizens in distress. With our enthusiastic motivation, Pensioners are coming forward to donate not only organs but even their whole bodies so that someone, after their departure, can survive to see this beautiful world. Several of our affiliates are monetarily helping underprivileged children to continue their studies. Similarly, poor ladies in distress are being helped to earn honourable living. Thus, we are not a burden on the exchequer, society or the govt. Even in our death we are able to give life to 5 persons.
On the issue of 100% parity : The 7th CPC recommended vide their Para 10.1.67 that: All the civilian personnel including CAPF who retired prior to 01.01.2016 shall first be fixed in the Pay Matrix recommended by the Commission, on the basis of the Pay Band and Grade Pay at which they retired, at the minimum of the corresponding level in the matrix. This amount shall be raised, to arrive at the notional pay of the retiree, by adding the number of increments he/she had earned in that level while in service, at the rate of three percent. Fifty percent of the total amount so arrived at shall be the revised pension. To this Govt. said, “it may not be feasible to implement” and wanted to reject the recommendation outright. However, on NC-JCM (Staff Side) & BPS insistence this recommendation has been accepted by the Govt. subject to feasibility. On this issue we could reach consensus with S 30 & S 29 Associations and have represented that the required records are available in 95% cases (Govt has subsequently accepted during the meeting with NC-JCM on 6.10.2016 that records are available in 82 % cases) & the remaining can be recast. If in any case records are not available & cannot be recast, the LPD which is invariably available in PPOs, can be updated Pay Commission after Pay Commission & can be placed at appropriate level in Pay Matrix. Thus, the recommendation, can easily be implemented. But the DOP&PW is still insisting that it will not be feasible and is pushing for modified parity of 5th CPC.
Currently this issue too alongwith upward revision of FMA, is under consideration of committees constituted for this purpose and we will have to wait for the outcome..
Bharat Pensioners Samaj supports the stand taken by them vide their letter No NC-JCM-2016/7thCPC(pension) dated 17th Oct 2016. i.e. To determine the Pension based on the suggestion placed by the Pension Department on 6.10.2016 i.e. notional pay in Seventh CPC is arrived by applying formula for pay revision for serving employees in each Pay Commission and giving 50% of this notional pay w/o any cap as pension to all pre-2016 Pensioners/family pensioners, if that becomes beneficial to them as 3rd option.
However, 3rd option i.e. ( c) will not be accepted as a replacement to option No1 i.e. (b).
On the issue of Healthcare : Responding to our (BPS’) pleadings, the 7th CPC in their para 9.1.18( i),(ii) & (iii) has recorded:
1. The Commission strongly recommends the introduction of health insurance scheme for Central Government employees and pensioners. In the interregnum, for the benefit of pensioners residing outside the CGHS areas, the Commission recommends that CGHS should empanel those hospitals which are already empanelled under CS (MA)/ECHS for catering to the medical requirement of these pensioners on a cashless basis. This would involve strengthening of administrative capacity of nearest CGHS centers. However, this step will go a long way in ameliorating the pending grievances of these pensioners.
2. The Commission recommends that the remaining 33 postal dispensaries should be merged with CGHS. The Commission further recommends that all postal pensioners, irrespective of their participation in CGHS while in service, should be covered under CGHS after making requisite subscription.
3. Currently, there are various health care schemes in the Central Government catering tospecific sets of employees. For example, apart from CGHS, there are Ex-ServicemenContributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and Railways Employees Liberalized HealthScheme (RELHS) which cover the Ex-servicemen and Railway employees/pensioners,respectively. Although the patterns in these schemes vary, a combined entity of CGHS, ECHS-RELHS would result in a very strong network of health facilities for the CentralGovernment employees across the length and breadth of the country. The Commission recommends that possibility of such a combined network of various medicalschemes should be explored through proper examination.
About the other issues we have regularly been publishing in our monthly magazine ‘Bharat Pensioner’, in our blog, website, Facebook & Twitter. You can also refer to BPS’ latest publication ‘7th CPC & Beyond’ which has been sent to you separately by registered post.
Bharat Pensioners Samaj has taken on its shoulders the responsibility of creating the awareness & consolidation of pensioners’ campaign alongwith its MOU partners AIFPA & NFRP. In an attempt to effectively connect to BPS affiliates & Associates at the ground level the Secy Genl BPS has visited Guwahati, Lumding, Muzaffar Nagar, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ambala, Palghat & Thrissur in the current year itself. V P (SZ) Somasekhra Rao has toured Andhra Pradesh, Telangana & parts of Tamil Nadu. V P (WZ) J N Rao has covered most of his jurisdiction in Maharashtra. RLNM Ratnam Secy (State Pensioners)& S S Dubey MCM toured several states to consolidate state pensioners’ movement, with the result ‘All India Federation of State Pensioners’, an affiliate of BPS held its first ever Convention at Hyderabad on 12.6.2016 which was attended by delegates from 19 States. Prakash Yende Secy (EPS 95) along with Mohamad Yunus, Prakash Pathak & P N Pandey have gone an extra mile to consolidate EPS 95 Pensioners who are the worst sufferers as over 28 lac of them still get Rs 1,000/- & less monthly pension. In N E region VP (NE) Yaisukul Singh and S M Kanjilal MCM have covered the entire N.E. region.
BPS Secy ( Rlys Pensioners) at New Jalpaiguri & VP (WZ) J N Rao have been doing yeomen service to Rly Pensioners and have resolved a number of difficult cases. D D. Mistry Secy (BSNL/PSUs), Secy (Defence Civilians), Onkar Singh & Secy (Postal& Others), M Chandramowli have been working with great zeal to attend to the grievances of pensioners of their respective departments.
At the HQ level Editor M M Kapur, defeating age & disease, is working day and night for constant improvement & timely publication of our monthly magazine ‘Bharat Pensioner’ with N.C. Gupta supporting as editor Hindi and K L Malhotra Secy (PR) monitoring the dispatch of the magazine. On account of M M Kapur’s daunting will-power and dedication, BPS could recently publish Special Supplement ‘7th CPC & Beyond’ which was sent by registered Book Post to all affiliates / members with a request to send Rs 200/- towards the cost of printing, postage etc. R.K. Nanda MCM is very well managing the grievance redressal desk & has been resolving individual pensioner’s grievances through online portals’. Harchandan Singh ASG has been helping in drafting and pursuing memoranda on different issues being taken up by BPS. Treasurer Rameshwar Kumar, besides keeping a hawk’s eye on the accounts, is always ready to perform any additional work involving even outdoor jobs. From time to time, JGS Pooran Lal has been taking trouble to come all the way from Agra to check & keep on track the accounts. Ladies & gentlemen, without field support office administration alone cannot successfully run such a big organisation, so here is MCM P N Sharma and all others office bearers & managing committee members who are always on the beck and call.
BPS has been effectively using its social media platform and monthly magazine for dissemination of information & spreading awareness among pensioners.During the period under report BPS took up several important issues like PAN India Smart Card for RELHS beneficiaries, restoration of 2/3rd commutation to PSU absorbees, corresponding 5th CPC scales for specified categories, application of 7th CPC benefits to autonomous bodies, upward revision of FMA, exclusion of Railway employees from the purview of NPS etc.etc .
Ladies & gentlemen! A situation has arisen where the Govt. and administration are not listening & caring for pensioners who are essentially the Sr Citizens. Then what needs to be done :-
The Way Out
Short term action plan- BPS suggests that:
(i) Social Media: Pensioners should come on social media en-mass to highlight their issues, entitlements & justifications therefor;
(ii) Own Print and Other Media: Pensioners’ organisations should use their own print media, websites & blogs to consolidate and spread awareness among pensioner community; and
(iii) Demonstration at ‘Jantar Mantar’ New Delhi: BPS call upon its MOU partners,affiliates, associates &members to get ready to join hands and to come to Jantar Mantar New Delhi in large numbers to participate in the mass demonstration to highlight their issues in early 2017.
Long term action plan : There is need to organize the entire gamut of the Senior Citizen community:
Ladies & gentlemen, We are retired but not tired the total strength of pensioners in the country is 1crore 82 lac 61 thousand:
Defence pensioners/family pensioners = 18,60,000
Defence civilian Pensioners = 5,55,000
Rly Pensioners/family pensioners = 13,75,000
Central Govt. Civil Pensioners/family pensioners = 10,81,000
Postal pensioners = 3,25,000
State Govt. Pensioners = 79,15,000
EPS 95 Pensioners = 44,50,000
PSU pensioners = 7,00,000
adding them, figure goes to = 1,82,61,000
Elderly population (20016) = 123 million
Elderly Electoral strength (2014 ) = 100 million
National Voting average (2014) = 66.4 %
Elderly Voting average = 90%
Effective %age of Elderly votes = 16.6% (2014)
Our aim should be to consolidate 123 million Sr. Citizen voters through 18.261 million pensioners to make Govt. & the political parties to listen to us and to take care of the entire community of Sr Citizens. The sooner we start working to achieve this goal, the better it is for all of us as this is the only way out to make governments take due care of our woes and problems.
Brothers &sisters! I thank SShri Shyam Sunder President and K C Pipal, Working President who have been the guiding stars to me and to the organization. I thank all of you for your cooperation and support afforded to me so far.
Jai Hind !
S.C.Maheshwari
S.G. Bharat Pensioners Samaj
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