Secretary General’s draft report for the approval of 64th BPS AGM to be held on 22.11.2019 atNew Jalpaiguri (WB)

Distinguished guests, BPS office bearers & Managing Committee members, Delegates, Brothers &Sisters.

Itis my absolute pleasureto welcome you all to this 64th AGM of Bharat Pensioners Samaj Federation here at New Jalpaiguri. I seek your kind permission to submit my brief yearly report for the approval of this august house. 

Our very successful 63rd AGM was held at Vizag on 29.11.2018. I, on behalf of BPS and the host NFRPA New Jalpaiguri, express my sincere thanks to all of you for coming all the way from different parts of the country to New Jalpaiguri.

As youall know, Bharat Pensioners Samaj All India Federation of pensioners, popularly known as ‘BPS’ was established in 1955 by Justice late Shri Shankar Saran (Retd) of Allahabad High Court as a non-political, non-profitable, Secular organization based in New Delhi. It isregistered with registrar of Societies Delhi as well as with NITI AYOG. BPS is one of the identified Federation/Association of GOI M/O Personnel, PG and Pensions-DOP&PW and is also an associate NGO of IFA(International Federation on Ageing)Toronto-Canada.

BPS is the apex body of all Central Government (including Railways & Defence), State Govt(s), Autonomous Bodies, PSUs, BSNL , EPS 95and NPS Pensioners having a reach to about 20 lac pensioners/Sr citizens through its Affiliated/Associated Associations, Federations, Individuals and MOU partners (AIFPA Chennai, NFRP Palakkad -Kerala) from across the country. Pursuing just Demands& grievances of pensionerscommunity in areas relating to pension, health-care, security and dignity, seeking redressal through negotiations, discussions and Advocacy to implement Government Policies for the welfare of Pensioners and application of courtjudgements relating to Pension, health & dignity issues to all similarly placed on reaching legal finality.

BPS has been actively engaged in publication of Monthly Journal called ‘Bharat Pensioner’, Special Compendiums of value to pensioners and publishing of e books.

Liaison and advocacy in pension and health related areas are of paramount interest to BPS. Disseminating information widely via web resources, blogs, face-book,Twitter, WhatsApp, Monthly Journal etc are few of its specialities.

 ‘Bharat Pensioner’ continues to provide wide range of information in print as well as in Digital form.BPS has become the first Pensioners Organization to publish ase. Book its monthly magazine and Pensioners Handbooks. Handbook 2018 revised 2nd edition&e-magazines are available on storewhich can be downloaded for a price to your android Smart Phone and read in free software amazon-kindle. Alongside, we have developed mechanism to constantly review our failures and to make improvements.             

  BPS continues toprovide solid platform to various Pensioners Organisations to present the demands and grievances of the pensioners/family pensioners.Pay commission to pay commissionBPS has been instrumental in getting several benefits to Pensioners.Organization has been continuously striving for the betterment of Pensioners & family pensioners.

Ladies & Gentlemen, here I share with you updates on few of the many issues taken upduring the period under report and current status of these issue:
1. Merger of 33 postal dispensaries with CGHS: After years of struggle issue is finally resolved merger is in progress.
2). GP 4200/- to 4600/ to those retired from 5th CPC scale of Rs 6500-10500. It took us more than 8 years, but we could resolve it . This has come through negotiations outside the court & not through courts. Final revised concordance Tables 24 & 25 have been circulated by DOPPW on 09.07.2019.

3).7th CPC benefit to autonomous bodies i.e. Coffee board,Tea board etc: The issue is fully resolved.Revised pension as well as arrears have been paid to beneficiaries.

4). Streamlining Pension rules i.e. conversion of all Notification/Circulars/OMs into Rules: BPS request has been accepted by DOPW.One Director level consultant has been engaged for this specific work. Work has started. May take some time to complete.

5)Amendment to definition of family to include widowed daughter in law: BPS has represented that under Hindu adoption and maintenance Act1956 Section 19,21(vii) &Section 22(1) subsection(2) provides that after the death of her husband Daughter-in-law becomes dependent of father-in-law who is responsible for her maintenance& wellbeing as a family member. After the death of father in Law her liability as dependent family member passes on to mother-in-law as such she should be included in the definition of family. Issue is currently under examinationof DOPPW.

6).Scraping of FR56 (a) : BPS has represented that In the year 1973-74 FR 56 (a) was introduced for accounts and administrative convenience, but it has been proved to be a tool of financial punishment to a large number of loyal retiring employees for the mere fact that due to no fault of theirs, they happen to born on 1st January /1st July. It is legally established fact that the person who is made to retire on the last day of the preceding month in which he attains 58/60 yrs remain on Govt books as an employee till midnight of last day of preceding month and becomes pensioner only on the first day of the next month. But for FR 56 (a) all these persons would have availed all benefits falling due on 1st of Jan & 1st of July. Thus, through FR 56(a) employer i.e. GOI is causing pecuniary loss to its employees. In other words, GOI as an employer is punishing a group of employees without giving them chance to explain. Thereby GOIis violatingRules of natural justice .FR 56(a) is a punitive tool and should be scraped/amended.Presently DOPTgiving reference DLA has wrongly closed the case. However, we have submitted an appeal against closure of the issue without resolving it.
HIGH COURT OF DELHI in their judgement on 23.10.2018 in W.P.(C)9062/2018&C.M.No.34892/2018 UNION OF INDIA & ORS. Versus G.C. YADAV  in Para 3 says, “ The date of birth of the respondent is 01.01.1956.Considering that the age of retirement/ superannuation is 60years, he attained the said age on 31.12.2015 .As per the petitioner, the subject of retirement is governed by FR 56 in chapter 9 of the FR/SR. The said chapter deals with
retirements. FR 56 in so far as it is relevant, reads as follows: “F.R.56(a)Except as otherwise provided in this rule, every Government servant shall retire from service on the afternoon of the last day of the month in which he attains the age of sixty years: Provided that a Government servant whose date of birth is the first of a month shall retire from service on the after the Honourable court has futher noon of the last day of the preceding month on attaining the age of sixty years.”
has further observed in Para 11 “we are of the considered view that the respondent could not be considered to have superannuated/ retired on 01.01.2016, and he could not be treated as post 2016 pensioner. We are of the view that the impugned order passed by the Tribunal cannot be sustained and is liable to be set aside. 11. Firstly, we may observe that since the date of birth of the respondent is 01.01.1956, he attained the age of 60 years i.e. the age of superannuation on 31.12.2015. The respondent appears to be reeling under the impression that he attained the age of 60 years only on 01.01.2016, which is not correct. On 01.01.2016, the respondent entered in to the 61st year of his life, having completed his 60 years on 31.12.2015.”
such a situation is not contemplated -  in the case of persons holding constitutional offices like, Judges of Supreme Court, High Court Members of Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General etc.Who too are govt. servants but  enjoy immunity  to FR 56 a and retire in the forenoon of their actual date of birth thereby right to equality under Article 14 is violated in case of other govt. employees who for no fault of their were born on 1st of the month as they are made to retire on the last day of previous month. Thus FR 56 A need to be amended or scraped.

 7).  One Notional increment to those retired on 30th June/31st December completing 365days working: Presently issue is sub judicial as several cases are pending in different courts. But unless FR 56 (a) is scraped or amended it may not be possible to get favourable decision applicable to all similarly placed.
Because Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in year 2005, in C. Subbarao case, has inter-alia observed as under: observed that Increment is given (See Article 43 of CS Regulations) as a periodical rise to a Government employee for the good behavior in the service. Such increment is possible only when the appointment is "Progressive Appointment" and it is not a universal rule. Further, as per Rule 14 of the Pension Rules, a person is entitled for pay, increment and other allowances only when he is entitled to receive pay from out of Consolidated Fund of India and continues to be in Government service. A person who retires on the last
working day would not be entitled for any increment falling due on the next day and payable next day thereafter (See Article 151 of CS Regulations), because he would not answer the tests in these Rules.

8) Revision of pension of pre 2016 retired running staff:
On13.7.2019 A delegation of BPS led by Secy Genl BPS met Member staff Railway Board and discussed Revision of Pension of pre- 2016 Rly Running staff Pensioners:
MS was apprised that it is over 18 months this simple issue is under examination of Rly Board shuttling the file between DOP &PW, DOE & the Board. Notional pay PC to PC for pensioners is worked out assuming that the person has not retired, as such in their case too basic rule for fixation of pay PC to PC as is done for the Running Staff in service need to be followed as has been done in the case of all others pre 2016 pensioners.
There appeared to be some confusion at top level about adding 55% of last basic pay to arrive at retirement emoluments, which has been satisfactorily explained.
 BPS has been  pleading that their pension shouldbe revised on notional pay basis in the same way as it is being revised in case of all otherpensioners i.e. their notional pay be worked out PC to PC as the pay of running staff in serviceis fixed PC to PC up-to 6th CPC and to this notional pay as on 31.12.2015 pay element of 55% should also be added to arrive at retirement emoluments 50% ofwhich should be revised Pension.

9).Benefit of MACP w.e.f. 1.1.2006- Delhi High Court on 1.5.2019 in WP (C) No. 3549/2018 (Sunil Kumar Tyagi, BSF Vs UOI)  held that entitlement to MACP benefit accrues from the date of completion of 10/20/30 years and NOT from 1.9.2008.Earlier the Supreme Court on 8.12.2017 in Union of India Vs Balbir Singh Tun (Civil Appeal Diary No. 3744/2016 had held that MACP is effective from 1.1.2006 as per 6th Pay Commission recommendation, as it forms part of Pay and NOT allowances. Ministry of Defence issued orders on 25.07.2018 to implement the SC judgment but the DoPT / MoF did not issue similar orders for the civilian employees. Now in view of DHC judgement dated 01.05.019 DOPT & DOE have been requested to review the case. And tio issue necessary implementation

10) Health Insurance Scheme for pensioners including those residing in Non CGHS area to supplement CGHS: For the last 10years we are insisting on MOHFW to implement 6th CPC recommendations in this regard.On 12/7/2016 in Lok Sabha MOS HFW Sh Ashwani Kumar has stated that Ministry of health &Family Welfare has framed the draft health Insurance Scheme. OPD facilities are not covered under the proposed scheme. The draft scheme has been sent to the Department of Expenditure, Government of India, for appraisal and approval of the financial feasibility of the scheme.

11). Smart card for Rly RELHS beneficiaries for cashless treatment in emergencies: Right from 2007 BPS has been demanding PAN India Smart card for cash less treatment of RELHS beneficiaries. In Feb 2008 Rly Board launched smartcard in DELHI NCR as a Pilot project under N.Rly which was extended year to year till August 2011.After much persuasion, In July 2012 a similar Scheme was launched for all Metros, State capitals and Zonal Headquarters which could be implemented only in Eastern Railways. Again, after repeated representations in July 2016 the then Rly Minister with much fanfare launched as pilot project CTSE Smartcard for cashless treatment in emergencies as an addon to RELHS card on payment of ward based additional contribution. The scheme    was full of glitches even for registration.After much nagging major glitches were removed. In2018 Scheme started taking offbut at very slow pace because of confusions and some glitches. On BPS persuasion scheme has been made PAN India w.e.f. Jan 2019 but some glitches & confusion still exist. Still it takes up-to over six months to get a CTSE card .BPS is constantly chasing the issue at Board level to make the scheme user friendly.

12). Replacement of RELHS card of Rly pensioners with Smart Card-Launching of UMID – KAIZALA:In 2019 April UMID Scheme has been launched by CRB . However, several glitches at registration level need to be rectified. Chat Aap KAIZALA associated with UMID is proving to be of no use as no Rly Doctor is responding on KAIZALA.Several divisions have not yet been opened for registration. There is difficulty in uploading Photo and other documents of wife/ dependents. Also there is no provision for resubmission of application if rejected.
UMID for registration fetches Pensioners data from ARPAN, several Zones/ Divisions have not yet uploaded Pensioners data on ARPAN as such there is difficulty in their registration. Software accepts only 14digit revised 7th CPC PPO No but still over one lac Rly Pensioners PPOs are not generated.

13). Expansion of the facility of digital life certificate to the department of POST and Treasuries and expansion of the period of submission to Month of October &Nov instead of only Nov.Also roping in more Associations to provide this service to pensioners against payment of Rs 40/ per certificate &providing necessary instruments for this purpose.
          Orders have been issued to the effect that 80 years and above pensioners can submit Digital life certificate from 1.10.019 to 30/11/19
All others will submit DLC from 30 /11/19 facility is extended to Post offices. DPPW has purched new instruments and has supplied to few more Association (Federation)

14). Benefit of Charge allowance in 7thCPC: BPS has represented that
Charge allowance should be reckoned as Pay for the purpose of pension, gratuity, DA/HR as defined in Rule 1303 (FR 9)(21)(a)(i)R-II(6th edition) as such its advantage in 7thCPC should be given without further delay to all those who were in receipt charge allowance before their retirement orders have been issued to treat Charge allowance as officiating pay wef1.1.2017. orders for others are awaited.

15). Taxation of pension: For the past several years BPS has been representing for exemption of Pension from income tax. : Inthis year’s budget some relief has come for those whose taxable income is 5lac or less. We are continuing to pursue this issue.

16) Issue of post retirement passes online to Railway beneficiaries. Right from 2009 BPS has been representing that Post retirement passes to Rly Pensioners be issued on line with facility of reservation online, file has been shuttling between Rly Board &IRCTC .We raised this issue before MS on 13.9.019 who assured of positive action.

17) Extension of benefit of court judgments to all similarly placed. Forover one decade quoting S C judgments we have been insisting with no success that once an issue attains legal finality it should be implemented in case of all similarly placed. Now indications are coming that Judgements in REM may be considered for implementation to all similarly placed.We need to build up more pressure on this issue.
     Comrades, today, BPS and its alleys are faced with several challenges concerning financial security, health care & social security of Sr Citizens, pensioners and family pensioners. The economic slowdown which has very badly struck the pensioners as well as their Associations and Federations is the new challenge. Pensioners todayappear to be more satisfied and have started avoiding pensioners Associations forgetting that what they could get so faris because of the struggle by Pensioners Federations and Associations. In future too their interest regarding health care, continuously falling purchase power of their pension and security of their deposits in banks/post offices etc will be protected by Federations & Associations only. To meet these and other challenges, our mission is toeducate the pensioners about continued relevance of Pensioners Federations and Associations & to bring together65lac of CG pensioners, 80 lac state pensioners, 60 lac EPS pensioners and over 8lac of PSUs Pensioners on a single platform for ensuring their welfare with respect to Financial security, Health care & Social security which will always remain relevant for all retireeswhether belonging to NPS,EPS or to the old pre 2004 pension Scheme.
As a step towards this goal, BPS & its MOU Partners, AIFPA & NFRP have come together to strivejointly & severally for common issues. BPS believes in resolving pensioners issues through negotiations, discussions and advocacy which needs consensus, mobilization of opinion to speak in one voice (Which can be achieved by first sharing the draft representation on each issue with MoU partners,affiliates and members through WhatsApp, Facebook , Twitter, Blogs, Websites etc and taking into account the mass opinion the final draft  should be circulated among ourselves so that everyone represents similarlyene-mass on each issue limiting representation to one page only). Remember, backing of vote power of retired persons can act as a powerful pressure tool.
There has been a vast change in the scenario over the last decade. Internet savvy number of Pensioners & family Pensioners has gone up considerably. Now Social media, digitalization and mobile connectivity has provided a very strong platform through which Sr citizens and pensioners can mobilize themselves &can make their presence felt in country’s electoral. In the coming days with our dedicated team of office-bearers & staff, our endeavour will be to use these modern methods more effectively for consolidating our electoral strength to make our voice heard.

Thanking you,
Jai hind
Er S C Maheshwari, Secy Genl BPS
{Former Divisional Engineer, C.Rly (BSL Division)


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