This article is written by Shri.V.Unnikrishnan of Cochin. He works for Central Excise Department as Superintendent.
Condition in CEA:
As per second para of DOPT OM.No.12011/16/2009-(Allowance) dated 13.11.2009 the admissibility of Children Education Allowance is restricted to eldest surviving children only.
In other words, benefit will not be eligible to all those Central Government Employees whose eldest two children have already completed school studies up to Higher Secondary (+2).
As per office memorandum No: 12011/03/2008-Estt. (Allowance) dt.2-9-08, by which Government implemented Children Education Allowance Scheme as per the recommendations of sixth pay commission CEA is not allowed for more than two children.
In fact, this clarification dated 13.11.2009, has gone beyond the scope of original OM dt.2-9-08 issued as per the recommendation of 6CPC and thus it has no retrospective effect.
Also, Office Memorandum dt.13.11.09 has not stipulated any condition on review of past cases.
However, on receipt of the above mentioned clarification dated 13.11.2009, some of the field offices have initiated steps to recover the amount paid to the third child,even in cases where the claim made was only for one child.
CEA Vs CCL:
In the context of welfare of children of Central Government Employees Children Education Allowance Scheme is comparable to Child Care Leave Scheme applicable to Female employees of Central Government. It is pertinent to note that CCL scheme does not restrict the benefit only to two eldest children as it’s done now in the case of Children Education Allowance Scheme.
CEA and LTC:
With regard to condition of number of children eligible for the benefit, a parallel could be drawn between Children Education Allowance Scheme and Leave Travel Concession (LTC) scheme.
While there it is a condition that CEA is applicable only to two eldest surviving children only as per OM dated 13.11.2009, LTC claim is restricted to two surviving unmarried children only as per OM dated 20.10.98.
Interestingly, the condition of “two surviving unmarried children” which was imposed after LTC scheme was introduced is not applicable to employees who have more than two children prior to 20.10.98”.
The relevant portion of the LTC Scheme reads as follows
“ The restriction of concession to only two surviving children or step children shall not be applicable in respect of those employees who already have more than two children prior to 20.10.98”
I feel that applying same analogy, the condition introduced in Children Education Allowance on 13.11.2009, after the scheme was introduced in 02.09.2008 to the effect that CEA is applicable only to two eldest surviving children should be made applicable only to children born after 13.11.2009. In other words, a central government employee who claims CEA for his third child born before 13.11.2009 should be allowed the benefit, as long as the claim is not made for not more than two children..
It’s high time for DOPT to intervene in this matter and review the clarification dated 13.11.2009 issued by it. Also, DOPT should suitably instruct all administrative authorities in various departments to stop the recovery proceedings initiated by them.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and are not intended to represent the views of GConnect.