Post-retirement benefits for Pensioner a chimera?

Post-retirement benefits for Pensioner a chimera?

A permanent government job is a much-desired destination for most Indians as it offers security of service, many official facilities, a feeling of holding “power”, a Government quarter, free medical treatment, LTC and above all, a life-time pension for the pensioner. On retirement, there are many financial benefits like the payment of gratuity and PF and free life-long medical treatment for the official and the spouse. Pensioners also get enhanced DR twice a year and a pension hike every 10 years based on the recommendations of the Pay Commission.

The Sixth Central Pay Commission offered a handsome compensation to pensioner with pensions being more than the pay drawn during service, with senior officers getting a few lakhs in arrears. That inflation swallowed a large chunk of the benefit is beside the point.

The Seventh Pay Commission has not given that much since dearness allowance (DA) already drawn is included in the enhanced pay/pension. The net increase is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 for very senior Civil Servants based on the formula of an ad hoc increase at the rate of 2.57%.

Some IRS officers who retired from senior posts earlier are, however, getting a raw deal. For instance, Chief Commissioners of Income Tax who retired before 2006 get a much less pension while those retiring after 2013-14 draw a higher amount.

This is on account of the post of Chief Commissioner of IT being upgraded to the pay scale of Rs 75,500-80,000 in May, 2013. Pensioner of the pre-2006 era were denied the benefit of a higher pay scale.

The pensioner of the pre-2006 and post-2006 periods should be treated on a par as per a decision by the Supreme Court and a circular issued by the DoPT dated July 30, 2015.

Many affected officers have filed representations before various authorities, including the Revenue Secretary, the Finance Minister and the PMO but to no avail. No senior officer is accessible on phone. Even CBDT officers turned a deaf ear to the pleas of their former senior colleagues oblivious of their impending retirement. The Government’s elaborate grievance redressal machinery proved a sham in such cases.

Many senior civil servants manage to get post-retirement jobs or become directors in PSUs or other reputed private companies. A few start consultancy services, while others join their family business or profession or even politics. Some are still occupying bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi even after 20 years of their superannuation.

However, senior Central Service Officers though equally qualified are unable to get any important post-retirement assignments due to the lack of any political patronage or even a place on a public company board.

FEEL A VACUUM IN LIFE

The picture is not as rosy as it may appear to those in business or professions where there is no upper age to retire. Officials retiring from peak Government positions suddenly feel a vacuum in their life with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

Pensioners face problems in availing themselves of medical benefits from the CGHS. Any medicine, test or treatment has to be prescribed by a “specialist” at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital or RML Hospital which are thronged by thousands of patients every day. There is lot of waiting at CGHS Wellness Centres to obtain permission/medicines.

Pensioners can avail themselves of cashless free treatment at approved private hospitals based on specialist prescription and permission from CMOs. The CGHS rates are low against their normal charges and hospital bills get delayed in clearance by authorities. Facing such problems, a few hospitals tend to withdraw cashless facilities to pensioners. Pensioners also face discriminatory attitude there.

The NDA Government should take more steps to promote the welfare of pensioners.

All serving bureaucrats need to be responsive to mails and phone calls of senior retired Government officers to begin with and gradually be accessible to all to resolve their grievances.

Source: Unedited version from bureaucracytoday

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