Friday, December 30, 2011

Pensioners celebrate"29th PENSIONERS' DAY On 17TH DECEMBER 2011

Pensioners celebrate"29th PENSIONERS' DAY On 17TH DECEMBER 2011
Er.S.C. Maheshwari, Secy (Rly.).BPS
It was on the 17th December 1982, that the Supreme Court of India in a landmark judgment in the case of D.S. Nakara and others vs. Union of India, held that : Pension is neither a bounty nor a matter of grace depending upon the sweet will of the employer. It is not an ex gratia payment, but a payment for past services rendered.
Pensioners in India, therefore, celebrate this day as ‘Pensioners Day’ to salute and remember, with gratefulness, the late D.S. Nakra who fought for years to bring dignity and grace to the community, through this judgment.
On this day it is important to counter the contention: 1. That the pension of Government employee is a burden on the exchequer. 2. That the rapid growth observed in the pension payments is likely to pose a serious threat to fiscal sustainability & 3. That providing subsidy based pension program to a few people cannot be sustained in the long run.
Let the World Bank, the Government of India and the Indian Politicians understand that Indian Pension System is not subsidy based!  It is a deferred wage!
In the context of civil servant pension payments,  the principle guiding the fixation of pay package is one of intentionally spreading out the compensation over a long period of time, whereby the wages paid out during the course of work tenure is kept low by design, and the pension payments made during the retirement phase, compensate for the low working wages” ( Dr. K. Gayathri in a study sponsored by the Govt. of India).  The Fifth Pay Commission argued : “it needs to be averred emphatically that pension is not in the nature of alms being doled out to beggars. The senior citizens need to be treated with dignity and courtesy befitting their age. Pension is their statutory, inalienable, legally enforceable right and the sweat of their brow has earned it. As such it should be fixed, revised, modified and changed in ways not entirely dissimilar to the salaries granted to serving employees."
As reported by PTI (Press Trust of India) on 27.02.2008, Dr. Montek Singh Aluwalia,  Deputy Chairperson,  Planning Commission, speaking with reference to the then impending report of 6th Central Pay Commission said, “Pay commissions were constituted once in ten years, the Government, he said was made to effect a big increase in salaries of its employees at the end of 10 years, as Dearness allowance / Dearness relief does not adequately take care of inflation. So at the end of 10 years, the Government will be benefitting from squeeze in real payout because DA/DR was never enough” While accepting Central Pay Commission recommendations, the Govt. divides the Pensioners on the basis of their date of retirement to further enhance the squeezing benefit in its own favour.Thus, the pension and its revision burden is, in fact, not a burden. Truly speaking, it is the mismanagement and mis-governance which is causing the pinch.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Petition Before the PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE ON PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES, LAW AND JUSTICE With reference to Bill No. 131 of 2011(The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011)

With reference to Bill No. 131 of 2011(The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and
Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011)
       While Bharat Pensioners Samaj, the oldest & the largest body of Indian Pensioners and a stake holder in DOP &PW Grievance redress mechanism, congratulates, the Government of India for introducing in
Lok Sabha the ‘Citizens Charter Bill 2011’, it beg to convey the dismay of the retirees in the country for excluding their matters from the definition of “Complaints”
       Sir, serving public servants have definite negotiating instruments/ channels for redress of their issues.
However, Pensioners have no other channel except the grievance redress mechanism of DOP &PW, which too is almost defunct, as toothless DOP &PW in the absence of sufficient powers is functioning like a Post Office. The concerned Ministries/Departments to whom DOP & PW forwards Pensioners Grievances, do not take these grievances seriously with the result that the complaints are not resolved even after a year or more. The greatest irony is:
       1. That Pensioners/Family Pensioners are exploited, harassed & humiliated by their own counterparts in
chair, who at the sight of an old person adopt a wooden face & indifferent attitude.
       2.Pensioners do not have any representation even in Forums & Committees wherein pension policies &
connected matters are discussed. The forum of Pension Adalat too is not of much avail as it meets only once a year & takes up only retirement benefit settlement claim cases. It does not consider healthcare and family Pension related grievances. Similarly, SCOVA too meets only once a year & the Forum is meant for feedback on Government policies.
       DOP & PW though lacks direct Service Delivery Capability yet has been striving over the years for
redress of Pensioners grievance through ‘Sevottam’ model of the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public grievances, treating them to be ‘internal clients’ which they are not. Since they are no more the part of
administration & their matters exclude administrative control activities. Most of their complaints arise due to
misinterpretation/ non implementation or incorrect implementation of Polices & Rules pertaining to them. Thus in terms of Sevottam model, retirees are the combination of the two i.e. internal & external clients and therefore are necessarily the service recipients of ‘Citizens’ Charter’.
       Bharat Pensioners Samaj therefore, appeal that the definition of ‘Complaint’ in Chapter 1 Para2(f) may be modified to read:
(f) “complaint” means a complaint filed by a citizen regarding any grievance relating to, or arising out of,
any failure in the delivery of goods or rendering of service pursuant to the Citizens Charter, or in the functioning of a public authority, or any violation of any law, policy, programme, order or scheme but does not include grievance relating to the service matters of a serving public servant.
       Sir, Bharat Pensioners Samaj shall be highly obliged if a persoonel hearing too is granted.

Shyam Sunder
Secretary General Bharat Pensioners Samaj
2/13A LGF (Back side),Jangpura-A
New Delhi-110014

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pensioners excluded from The Right of Citizens Charter Bill

Pensioners exccluded:
Read:  Definition of Complaint in  The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011:
Complaint means a complaint filed by a citizen regarding any grievance relating to or arising out of ,any failure in the delivery of goods or rendering of service pursuant to the citizens charter, or in the functioning of a public authority,or any violation of any law, policy ,programme,order or scheme but does not include grievance relating to the service matter of a Public servant whether serving or retired.
 Er. S.C. Maheshwari

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pension Bill opposed across the board


The proposed Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill does not ensure guaranteed return to pensioners.
The bill, tabled in Parliament, puts a question mark on the assured return option to pensioners. Pensioners are concerned over the fate of their hard-earned money as the new bill proposes to invest the pension funds in the market. This lacks the social security ingredient as it is subjected to market risks.
The proposed module has been a failure in European countries, say pensioners, but the government appears to be hell-bent on implementing it in India. Suggestions from the Parliament standing committee on finance, headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, have also been ignored.
The bill seeks to set up a statutory PFRDA to promote old age income security and to develop and regulate pension funds in the interest of the subscribers of the schemes and also allows for foreign investment.
The bill will provide legal backing for putting pension funds into stock markets. This is being done despite the experience of 2008 financial crisis.
The two major concerns of the parliamentary committee — provide for an assured return option to new subscribers and a specified FDI cap — have been overlooked by the government.
The Pensioners' Network, which has 3.75 lakh ex-government employees associated with it, has strongly opposed the move. Pensioners' Network general secretary S.C. Maheshwari said that there has to be guarantee on minimum return, a provision which is missing in the bill. The government's proposal to invest the pension funds in market has been a matter of concern for the pensioners.
At present the minimum guaranteed pension is Rs 3,500. He said that the government should continue with the existing pension scheme, though it could be made much more effective. For new employees, the government has started New Pension Scheme (NPS) since 2004, which will come under the proposed regulator.
Maheshwari said that his organization recently conducted a survey that highlighted the pension scheme failed in European countries, which is similar to the proposed bill in Parliament. "Therefore, the government should take lessons from their failure and avoid implementing it in our country. The basic issue of minimum guarantee should have been incorporated in the bill. We feel that the government is acting at the behest of the World Bank," he said.
The group had organised a protest march on 25 November, in New Delhi, at Jantar Mantar and submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Meanwhile, the Left has strongly opposed the government move and has said the bill will deprive lakhs of government employees of their right to get an assured rate of pension at the time of retirement which they have been enjoying. The bill was tabled by UPA-I in 2004 itself, but it could not carry it forward due to stiff opposition from the Left, which was supporting the government at that point of time.
CPI-M's Prasenjit Sen said: "The bill will provide legal backing for putting the pension funds into the stock market. This is being done despite the experience of 2008 financial crisis, which badly hit the Western countries. A large number of employees there found the pension benefits curtailed sharply."
"We completely oppose the provision for 26% FDI in the pension sector. The government is not including this provision in the bill so that it can increase the FDI component in later years without amending the law," he said.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Secretary General BPS visit Vishakhapatnam

SecretaRy General’s visit to visakhapatnam
                        As part of Bharat Pensioners Samaj  programme to interact with Pensioners at grassroots.
Shyam Sunder Secretary General, accompanied by M. Somashekhara Rao Vice President South,
M. Chandramowli Secretary, Postal & S.C.Maheshwari Secretary (Railways) visited Vishakhapatnam on 21st Nov.2011. DAN Sarma Member E.C joined at Vizag.
                      Same evening a meeting of Central Govt. and Railway Pensioners was jointly organised by Railway Pensioners' Federation, P&T Pensioners' Welfare Association and All Central Govt. Pensioners' Association of Visakhapatnam in Railway Pensioners' Federation Office, behind, DRM's Office, East Coast Railway,  Visakhapatnam.
 B. James David, President of the Federation presided.  T. Krishna Murthy, working president of the Federation while welcoming the gathering requested the B.P.S. leaders to appraise the gathering of the latest position on various pending demands.
                Addressing the gathering,  Shyam Sunder, Secretary General, BPS hoped that the 'March to Parliament' being organised by Central Govt. Employees and Pensioners together on 25th November 2011 at New Delhi would compel the Govt. of India  to concede our just demands such as same fitment benefit to pensioners, parity, 50% DA/DR merger, etc. He also hoped that the govt. would implement CAT/New Delhi Principal Bench order dt. 1-11-2011 on 'Modified Parity' without prolonging the litigation.
                     S.C. Maheshwari, Secretary, BPS explained the various steps being taken by Bharat Pensioners' Samaj to bring all pensioners organisations on one platform to further the cause of pensioners and retirees in all sectors in the country.  He also explained the progress in respect of re-opening of RELHS-97, enhancement of fixed Medical allowance to Rs. 1000/- P.M., 50% DR merger for pensioners’ w.e.f. 1-1-2011 etc. He appealed to all pensioners to strengthen the senior citizens movement in the country by extending support to All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON).
                M. Somasekhara Rao, Vice-President, BPS explained about 'modified parity' covered by CAT/Principal Bench's common order               
   Krishna Devarayalu, Secretary of All Central Govt. Pensioners' Association Visakhapatnam also spoke, Shri D.A.N. Sarma, Secretary, P&T Pensioners Welfare Association, Visakhapatnam proposed a vote of thanks. S.K Krishna Rao, Asst-General Secretary of Railway Pensioners' Federation thanked one and all for gathering in large numbers in their office to hear BPS National leaders.
    On 22.11.2011 As a special invitee, Secretary General BPS led a 50 strong delegation to the 11th annual Conference of All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON) at Vizag in Kalavani Auditorium wherein, he Chaired ‘ National Seminar On Pensioners’ .
Following resolutions related to the retirees were unanimously passed by this largely attended 11th Conference of AISCCON.
            11.11A) With respect to pension to retirees, this Conference unanimously resolves and requests the Government of India, the following:
Ø  “One Rank – One Pension” to be adopted for Defense Personnel without delay.
Ø  To bring parity among Central government pensioners and pensioners from Central government Undertakings / PSUs.
Ø  Health care schemes like CGHS, ECHS,RELHS & ESI may be integrated into one uniform standardized scheme so that it is applicable to all government retirees from State / Central / PSUs/ Local bodies etc bringing parity among pensioners.
Ø  To apply the principle of minimum Pension of Rs3500 plus DA to all ex –gratia & EPS 1995 beneficiaries.
Ø  Not to divide Pensioners into categories on the basis of their dates of retirement.

    11B) With respect to the grievances of retirees, While AISCCON appreciates the Govt.  of  India, for its intention to introduce ‘Citizens Right to Grievance redress Bill 2011’, which if passed, would be the most revolutionary reform in public interest, this conference appeals, that the definition of ‘complaint’ in Chapter I under the heading Definitions 2 . (f)  of the proposed Bill may be amended to specifically include the grievances of superannuated persons/Pensioners as they are not Public servants.

The revised definition of “Complaint may be amended to read:
 (f) “Complaint” means a complaint filed by a citizen including a superannuated Person/Pensioner regarding any grievance relating to or arising out of any failure in the delivery of goods or rendering of service pursuant to the Citizens Charter, or in the functioning of a public authority, or any violation of any law, policy, programme, order or scheme but does not include grievance relating to the service matters of a public servant.
          11C) With special reference to retirees in private and public sector industries, Employees Family Pension Scheme was introduced in 1995. Under this scheme, retired industrial workers are still getting a maximum of Rs 1000 per month as pension. This amount has not been revised despite several representations since starting the scheme. Considering the plight of senior citizens in this segment, this conference unanimously resolves and requests the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Labour to look into this specific issue and suitably revise the amount, commensurate with present cost of living and inflation.

               12.Widows in India are victims of financial abuse by their own relatives and are left without any heath care, even if they belong to APL category. Therefore, this Conference unanimously resolves and requests the Government of India that ALL widow senior citizens, irrespective of the fact whether they belong to BPL or APL Category, must be provided with monthly pension and subsidized health care.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

BPS in International News

News letter 04.12.2011

Important Notice:
Nothing without struggle
“Rail Pensioners march to New Jalpaiguri”
When to avert  ‘Mahabharat’ Lord Krishna wanted to make a compromise between Pandvas  and Kauravas with merely 5 villages under Pandava’s control and rest entire estate with Kauravas but Kaurvas replied “Can’t give a piece of land even equal to the top of needle without a war. Same situate before us today, Govt. of India is rejecting every just demand of Pensioners.
N.F. Railway  Pensioners Association invites you to IIIrd National Convention of Railway Pensioners Associations under the aegis of BHARAT PENSIONERS SAMAJ  at New Jalpaiguri (WB) On 29th March 2012
Bimalendu Chakraborty,Mob.08016135182,Tel: 0353 2592331,2562545
Postal address: Bimalendu Chakraborty,working chairman,Office of the N.F. Railway Pensioners Association; NJP Gate bazar, P.O. Bhaktinagar, (West Bengal)  Pin-734007
Note: Delegation fee Rs 150/- per person inclusive of one night stay, one Dinner  on 28th & Lunch on29th.

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Other information :
Free healthcare to all! Govt. to foot your bills
By Dinesh C. Sharma in New Delhi
RADICAL changes in the health system aimed at reducing private expenditure on healthcare, which is driving the poor to poverty, are on the cards in the 12th Five Year Plan. The overall objective of the exercise is to provide free healthcare to all citizens.
The idea of universal health coverage ( UHC) was discussed by national and international health experts at the Planning Commission in a twoday meeting which concluded on Tuesday. The issue will be discussed in the steering committee on health in the Commission, which is in the process of finalising the next plan.
The government had set up a high level expert group ( HLEG) in October last year to prepare a blueprint for UHC and spell out a strategy for its implementation.
China and Mexico are close to achieving 100 per cent universal health coverage, while Thailand has already done so.
After the employment guarantee scheme and right to education and food security Bill, UHC could be the next big social sector trump card of the ruling UPA. At present, most of the healthcare expenditure in India is “ out of pocket” or money spent by people on their own. The central and state governments together spend about 1.4 per cent of the GDP on healthcare, while the money people spend amounts to over 3 per cent of the GDP. In order to provide a minimum package of health services universally, the HLEG has recommended that the government should increase public expenditure on health from the current level to at least 2.5 per cent of the GDP by the end of the 12th plan, and to at least 3 per cent by 2022. This would result in a sharp decline in the proportion of private spending on health — from 67 per cent currently to 33 per cent by 2020.
The UHC has been defined as “ ensuring equitable access for all Indian citizens, regardless of income level, social status, gender, caste or religion, to affordable, accountable and appropriate, assured quality health services, with the government being the guarantor and enabler, although not necessarily the only provider, of health and related services”. A national health package of essential primary, secondary and selected tertiary healthcare services funded by the government has been suggested. It can have some state specific variations and will be periodically defined by experts.
No user fee would be charged for these services and no insurance companies would be involved.
“ We must be able to provide access to good healthcare without involving insurance companies or other intermediaries because independent agents fragment the nature of care being provided and this, over time, leads to high healthcare costs and lower levels of wellness,” explained Dr K . Srinath Reddy, chairman, Public Health Foundation of India and head of HLEG. Necessary steps to overcome shortage of healthcare personnel in rural areas and of essential drugs and to utilise existing private sector infrastructure have also been suggested. These include appointing two village health workers or ASHAs for a population of 1,000 people instead of one and starting a three- year Bachelor of Rural Healthcare course.
18% of all illness episodes in rural areas & 10% in urban areas get no healthcare
12% of people living in rural areas & 1% in urban areas have no access to health facility
28% of rural residents & 20% of urban residents have no funds for healthcare
Over 35% of those hospitalised are pushed below poverty line because of the expenses
Over 2.2% of population may be impoverished because of hospital expenses
India has 0.9 bed per 1,000 people ( China has 3 beds per 1000 people
80% of doctors, 75% of dispensaries and 60% of hospitals are in cities
Universal healthcare for all, funded through increase in public expenditure from 1.4% to 3% of GDP
Strengthen public services at primary health centres and district hospital level
Contract private providers ( as per need and availability) with defined deliverables
Streamline medical education, create new cadres for rural healthcare
Govt should procure all essential medicines, ensure quality control, transparent procurement and prompt payment
Set up National Health Regulatory and Development Authority and state authorities