S C Maheshwari Secy Genl BPS speech at triennial GB meeting of NFRPA Palghat at Palakkad (Kerala) on 24.09.20016

Honorable Chief Guest, Guests of honor, dignitaries on the dais, respected Senior comrades, affiliates & members of NFRPA, Ladies and gentlemen: 

I am honored to be speaking to you on the occasion of Triennial AGM of National Federation ofRailway Pensioners here at Palakkad. On this occasion I congratulate the leaders, Management, Affiliates and members of NFRP& wish them many successful years ahead. NFRP, Bharat Pensioners Samaj & AIFPA Chennai are MOU partners and together we represent over 10 lac pensioners and have successfully walked through decades, serving the cause of pensioners.

Ladies & gentlemen, we are retired but not tired, our endeavor is to bring all pensioners together.

When 54 lac CG pensioners, 80 lac state pensioners & 45 lac EPS 95 pensioners will walk together, all our woes will get resolved as then we will have the strength to change the political scene of the country.

We i.e BPS NFRP & AIFPA have been moving together struggling jointly & severally for the common issues of pensioners i.e.

1. Financial Security

2. Healthcare &

3. Social security.

Financial Security:

We represented the issue to the 7th Central Pay Commission. Pay Commission listened to us patiently. But alas! outcome is not encouraging. Inspite of the fact that 7th CPC in principle accepted few of our submissions, bureaucracy  has negated these. We had represented that wide gulf between minimum & maximum paid should be narrowed down and brought back to1.7.1996 level of 1:8 and a common multiplication factor for revision of pay & pension be worked out so that everyone gets uniform raise. PC instead of reducing, further raised   minimum maximum paid gap to 1:13.88 & worked out 2.57 common multiplication factor. This 2.57 fitment factor recommended by the 7th CPC and accepted by the Govt. is essentially a multiple factor which is the ratio of the new minimum pay arrived at by the 7th Pay Commission i.e. Rs 18,000/- and the existing minimum pay Rs. 7,000/-. This provides only 14.29% rise in Salary (which in terms of money is Rs 2250/- {7000+125% DR =Rs.15750/- to 18000} and difference in take home after deductions is just Rs. 500/- after 10 years) as well as in Pension which is the historically the lowest raise given by any Govt. in the past seventy years. 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 Aykroyd formula of 1948 without updating it. It is surprising as to how a gender bias 1948 formula of Dr Aykroyd adopted by ILC in 1957 is applied, without updating, in digital India of 2016. In today’s scenario how can 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 unit. Further this formula does not at all take into consideration the minimum requirement of today’s digital India i.e. a smart mobile phone with internet connection.Considering wife to be .80 unit is nothing but gender bias indicating a colonial mindset of Dr Aykroyd. In the present scenario a wife too puts in the same amount rather more of physical and intellectual work as compared to the husband. She needs more nutrients & 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 up-to 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 50s. The Nation needs healthy & stout young citizens. It is against the National interest to restrict their need based minimum requirement to .6 unit.
Thus the Minimum Salary & correspondingly the fitment benefit of 2.57 needs upwards revision. As of now Govt. has refered the issue to a high-powered committee.But as per indications hardly any change is expected,

The 2nd big issue in this connection is 100 % parity between pre & post 1.1.2016 retirees: 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. Govt. says it may not be feasible to implement. However, on our insistence  This recommendation has been accepted by the Govt. but, subject to feasibility. On this issue we could reach consensus with S 30 & S 29 Association and   have represented that the required records are available in 95% cases & the remaining can be recasted, thus the recommendation can easily be implemented.
Currently both the above issues are under consideration of committees constituted for this purpose and we will have to wait for the out come

Similarly, the issue of raising FMA is also under consideration of a committee. In 2014 while submitting memorandum to 7th CPC based on the information gathered under RTI we had asked for Rs 2000/ per month which was rejected not on merit but on the flimsy ground that FMA was recently raised from 300/- to Rs500/-. Taking into consideration the sky rocketing inflation of health care we have requested the spl committee to raise FMA to Rs 3000/-per month

There are several other issues relating to our financial securityfew of which I wish to enumerate before you today,

No 1 isregarding grantingof revised corresponding 5th CPC scales to the specific categories as detailed in Rly Board orders dated 16.10.1998: NFRP & BPS have been representing that this is not a case of upgradation but it is an issue of grantingcorresponding 5th CPC scales to specific categories. Sh K S Srinivasan has been vehemently perusing the case for the last several years & BPS is whole heartedly supporting it. In July this year there had been long discussions with Rly Board topofficers, outcome is awaited. However, in the meantime Madras High Court on02.08.2016 inWritPetn. No.13207 of 2013 R.Sethumadhavan Vs UOI has given a favorable judgement we have yet to see if UOI files an appeal in SC or accepts the HC judgment.
No2 IsRestoration of 2/3rd commutation our simple argument is that commutation is an advance given by the employer to the retiring employee at a specified rate of interest, the retired employee repays it through monthly instalments from his/her pension,thus as soon as the entire amount with interest is recovered deduction from his/her pension should stop restoring full pension. Recently on 01.09.2016 Supreme Courtin the case of Union of India -Vs- (Late) K. Ganeshan in Civil Appeal No. 6048 of 2010 and Civil Appeal No. 6371 of 2010. has issued orders for Restoration of 2/3rd Commuted Pension after 15 yrs of PSU Absorbees who took full Commutation of Pension. We have represented that this judgement be applied to all similarly placed persons.

3.Additional age related Pension: we represented to 7th CPC that Sixth Pay Commission had recommended additional Pension of 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100 % for retirees and family pensioners on attaining the age of 80, 85, 90, 95 and 100 years respectively. However, in the present scenarioof climatic changes, incidence of pesticides and rising pollution, old age disabilities/diseases set in by thetime an employee retires and go on manifesting very fast, needing additional finances to take care of thesedisabilities and diseases, especially as the cost of health care has gone very high.Recommendation of Sixth PayCommission for grant of 100% additional Pension after 100 years of age was rather illusionary in view ofchances of survival up to or beyond age of 100 years being rare.It was therefore, requested to the 7th CPC that 10% Additional Pension should be granted every 5 years from the age of 65to 75 years & thereafter 20% every 5 years from 80 years onwards and 100% after 90 years of age.
During the discussion 7 CPC was agreeable to start age related additional pension from the age of 75 yrs but finally they rejected the demand not on merit but simply because MOD was not agreeable to it.
We have represented against the rejection but Govt. is salient.

4.NPS for post 2004 recruited employees:As of now taking into
consideration exigency of services Defence Forces have been kept out of the purview of NPS we have represented that Railway services too are as arduous & risky as those of Defence forces. Every year over 3000 Rly employees get run over & killed while on duty, most of them get cut into pieces. They are not called martyrs, waiting postmortem their bodies are shelved in morgue for several days & noone from administration goes to their families for consolation or attend their funeral. Over 800 Railway employees become disabled due to accidents on duty. Not only that, during war time Rly is life line for armed forces. It is the devotion &dedication of Rly employees that men, material including Arms Ammunition, Artillery & ration reaches them in time as such Rly services too should also be given the benefit of pre 2004 pension scheme.EarlierSh MallikarjunKharge, the Railways Minister in the previous government, had raised the issue with the then Finance Minister in March 2014.The present Rly Minister too wrote to finance Ministerto exclude Rly employees from NPS. But alas Finance Minister has declined.

5.Deprivation of all the central pay commission benefits in terms of pay revisions & Pensionary benefits to pensioners born on 1.1.1946/1938/1928 owing to their retirements on31.12.2005/1955/1985 :
The modified  FR56(a),  requires every one whose date of birth is the first of a month to retire from service on the afternoon of the last day of the preceding month on attaining the age of superannuation .As a result of this modification    pensioners born on 1.1.1946/1938/1928 are deprived of all the central pay commission benefits in terms of pay revisions & Pensionary benefits owing to their retirements on31.12.2005/1955/1985.  
This proviso singled out the Ist Jan. 1946/1938/1928-born pensioners for deprivation of the Pay Commission benefits. Such of the pensioners are made to suffer for no fault of theirs and are deprived of EQUALITY of status and of opportunity. This violation of Article 14 of constitution need to be set right immediately.issue was discussed with 7th CPC as it was one of the items of BPS memorandum to 7th CPC but nothing positive could be achieved. However issue is still  on BPS agenda and is being pursued.

6.Income tax on PensionThe purchase valve of pension gets reduced day by day due to continuous high inflation and steep rise in cost of food items and medical facilities. Retired persons/senior citizens do not enjoy fully, public goods and services provided by the Government for citizens due to lack of mobility and many other factors coupled with falling interest rates on their deposits.Their ability to pay tax gets reduced year to year after retirement due to ever increasing expenditure on food,medicine and other incidental. Their net worth at year end gets reduced considerably compared to the beginning of the year. Inflation for pensioners is much more than any Tax.It erodes the major part of the already inadequate pension. To enable pensioners, at the far end of their lives, tolive in minimumcomfort and to cater for ever rising cost of living, they may be spared from paying income tax on pension& the DR as was recommended 5th CPC.

7.Application of S C judgements in case of similarly placed persons Govt. should notindirectly pressurize courts by appealing again & again to get judgements reversed in their favour and must implement all Supreme court judgements to all similarly placed persons
          Fifth CPC recommended in Para 126.5 of their report that any court judgement involving common policy matter of pay/pension to a group of employees/pensions, should automatically without driving every affected individual to Court of law.
Health care:
It is a major issue facing Rly RELHS beneficiaries Inspite of the fact that the right to health, medical aid to protect the health and vigour of a worker while in service or post retirement is a fundamental right.{ in terms of Article 21 read with Article 39 for 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 1995Supreme Court 922)} M/O Railways on the issue of Smart Card and the M/O Rlys have been cutting jokes with Rly RELHS beneficiaries over the last one decade.
The CASHLESS TREATMENT SCHEME IN EMERGENCY (CTSE) FOR RELHS BENEFICIARIES AT EMPANELLED HOSPITALS floated vide  Railway Board’s letter No.2014/H/28/1/Smart Card/Part ‘A’ dated 14.07.2016 is another  big joke with Rly pensioners & family pensioners as it requires  additional payment of exorbitantly heavy amounts of money ranging between Rs.10000 to Rs.50000 from existing  RELHS beneficiaries who have already paid last month’s Salary/2 pensions for joining it and then an amount of Rs 2000 to 10000/ to the empaneled hospital for getting medical treatment in case of Emergency under CTSE. BPS has represented that the Scheme of Cashless Service for RELHS Card Holder to take treatment in recognized Private Hospitals in emergency promulgated vide Rly Board No.2007/H/28/1/RELHS/Smart Card New Delhi, dated 18.07.2012 and which stands implemented on Eastern Railways (Reference CMD ERlyNo. MD. 173/0/Smart Card Dated: 11th June, 2013) is much better and may with slight amendments be adopted for PAN INDIA Smart card for RELHS beneficiaries

Social Security :We strive not only to seek Govt. support in this deficient area but also to develop systems which will enable all of us to act as one family with mutual confidence, support and growing interdependence.  Our organizations have also 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 also they stand shoulder to shoulder with civil administration and the fellow citizens in distress. With our 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 honorable living. However, we wish Govt. & Law & order authorities to be more sensitive towards caring for Sr Citizens.

Ladies & gentlemen total strength of pensioners in the countryis :

Defence pensioners/family pensioners                             = 1860000
Defence civilian Pensioners                                          =   555000                                                     
Rly Pensioners/family pensioners                             = 1375000
Central Govt. Civil Pensioners/family pensioners   = 1081000
Postal                                      =   325000         
State Govt. Pensioners                   = 7915000
EPS 95 Pensioners                 =         4450000
PSU pensioners                               = 0700000
adding them, figure goes to                                                1,82,61000
Elderly population (20016)                 = 123million
Elderly Electoral (2014 )                    =100 million
National Voting average (2014)          =66.4 %
Elderly Voting average= 90%
Effective % of Elderly votes              = 16.6% (2014)
Our aim should be to consolidate 123 million Sr. Citizen voters through18.261 million pensioners. Sooner we start working to achieve this goal better it is for all of us as this is the only way out to make governments take care of our woes.

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat

S.C. Maheshwari
Secy Genl BPS


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