Sunday, April 4, 2021

Some Questions to Ponder

 

For the Kind Attention of BSNL VRS Pensioners

Some Questions to Ponder

1.     Whether Pension and Retirement Benefits are getting budgetary allocations?

Yes. Year wise the allocation is made and shown in the budgetary documents as per the demand of the respective ministry and in our case as per DOT Demand 

2.    Whether BSNL absorbed VR retires and VRS retirees are getting pension as per the same rules? 

We can say ‘No’. VR retirees are getting pension from their Voluntary retirement date as per 37 A CCS rules.  BSNL VRS retirees are getting their pension not as per CCA rules as per the clarification issued (dt march 9 2021) by DOT to the Pensioners’ association Viz All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association. The following is the exact wordings given by DOT .

  ‘Any generic reference of CCS pension Rules may adversely affect the unique benefits’ 

3.    Is there any assurance in that letter?

Yes. The letter reiterates that mentioning ‘BSNL VRS 2019 in PPO ‘ would not result in taking away any due retirement benefits as per the existing rules provided for, from the pensioners on a later date. 

4.    Whether all the BSNL retirees (superannuated/ VR/ VRS 2019) are allocated Pension and Retirement Benefits from a single Major Head?

Here also we need to say a big 'No'. CDA Pensioners, BSNL IDA Pensioners and MTNL IDA pensioners are getting their allocation as per the Major Head 2071 viz ‘Pensions and other Retirement Benefits’. BSNL VRS 2019 pensioners are not getting allocation as per this head. 

5.    Then from which head the VRS Pensioners are getting their allocation? 

The BSNL VRS 2019 Pensioners are getting their allocation from a different Major Head 3275  viz  'Other Communication Services'. The Exgratia is also allocated as per this Major Head only 

6.    In what name the Head contains ‘the item Pension’ for  VRS Retirees?

They named it as ‘Incremental Pension Payment to VR BSNL and MTNL Employees’. Separate accounts are shown to both BSNL and MTNL

 7.    What are the allocations? 

As per the Demand of DOT we get normally 4 figures viz Actual expenditure for 2019-20 ,  BE for 20-21 and RE for 20-21 and the future BE for 21-22. The respective figures for the major head 2071 are 13450.66 crore , BE 20-21 13981.68 cr,  RE 14481.08 cr ,For 21-22 BE 15350.00 cr. The same figures for Incremental Pension (for VRS 2019) as per Head 3275 are 2019-20 actual 295.01 cr, 20-21 BE 3294.70 cr, 20-21 RE 2160.30, future 21-22 BE 3000.00 cr.

 These figures are given to observe that RE was reduced from 3294.70 cr to 2160.30 cr in the Corona effect year 20-21 whereas this was increased in the head 2071from 13981.68 cr to 14481.08 cr. This reduction was observed by the parliamentary committee headed by Shri sashi Tharoor. 

The Exgratia allocation figures as per Head 3275  are actual 19-20 5000 cr, 20-21 BE 9889.65 cr, 20-21 RE 11206 cr  and future 21-22 the allocation is nil.

 8.    What the DOT memo about Revival of BSNL says w.r.t Pension for VRS 2019?

DOT OM dt Oct 29, 2019 as per the cabinet decision of Oct 23 states in para 2.iii

 The Payment of Exgratia on VRS Rs 17169 cr and preponed Pensionary liability Rs 12768 cr spread over a period of ten years is to be supported through budgetary allocation of GOI.... 

This OM speaks only about 'preponed pensionary liability to the tune of 12768 cr spread over for the period of 10 years is to be supported thro budgetary allocation'. This  preponed liability was now allocated in staggered figures for 19-20, 20-21 and the future 21-22 as of now with the naming 'Incremental pension Payment to VR of BSNL and MTNL employees'. The OM is silent about mentioning any rules for making this pension payment. We do not know what was transpired in the cabinet memo dt Oct 22 2019 sent for cabinet approval on Oct 23 2019.

 9.    What the BSNL VRS 2019 Scheme speaks about pension? 

The VRS Scheme speaks as per Para 6.2 Terminal benefits

“..The Employees voluntarily retiring under the scheme shall be entitled to terminal and other benefits as applicable to the said employees under existing rules. The payment of such benefits shall be made in the following manner.”

“6.2. a  The employees retiring under the Scheme shall be entitled to Pension/ FP, as applicable, w.e.f the date following date of the Effective VR and shall be authorized as per the existing procedure.”

 10. Who is the authority to clarify any ambiguity or authority over the meaning/ interpretation of the terms of this scheme? 

Para 9 of BSNL VRS 2019 Annexure 1 says " The decision of CMD BSNL shall be final and binding". Hence fot the term 6.2 also the CMD is the final authority to interpret the doubt/ ambiguity. If  any insisting to clarify the meaning of under Exiting Rules", CMD cannot evade his responsibility to mean what it is meant the existing rules. Name the Rules seems to be a simple one but difficult to get any answer.                                

4-4-2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

VR scheme 2019 of BSNL and Terminal Benefits- Issue of Pension

 

 

 


This is not an academic exercise to satiate any passion regarding the issue concerned…

DOT in its letter dated March 3, 2021 addressed to one of the GS of Pensioners ‘ Association clarified that mentioning of BSNL VR Scheme 2019 in PPO would not result in taking away any due retirement benefits as per the existing rules provided for, from the pensioners on a later date. That is they will continue to get  the due  retirement  benefits- especially pension.

Also expressed in that letter any generic reference of CCS Pension Rules 1972 may adversely affect the unique benefits of the VR Scheme of 2019 and accordingly, to identify and to ensure discharge of the unique benefits BSNL VR Scheme has been clearly mentioned in the PPO.

 

BSNL /MTNL VRS 2019 Scheme dated 4th Nov 2019 is stating  the issue of  pension  as per  the following  para

6.2

TERMINAL BENEFITS:

In addition to the lump-sum compensation or the amount of Ex-gratia as per Clause 6.1 of the Scheme, the employee(s) voluntarily retiring under the Scheme shall be entitled to terminal and other benefits, as applicable to the said employee(s) under existing rules. The payment of such benefits shall be made in the following manner:

(a) Pension/ Family pension: The employee(s) retiring under the Scheme shall be entitled to Pension/ Family pension, as applicable, with effect from the date following the effective date of voluntary retirement and shall be authorised as per existing procedure.

Provided that the employee(s) governed by the EPF and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 and EPS 1995, the pension shall be administered as per applicable rules.

For Direct Recruited the rules specifically mentioned as 1952 and 1995. But for absorbed, it is stated in a generalized way as per the existing rules and existing procedures. No specific rule is mentioned.

BSNL VRS 2019 optees after retirement started getting pension and PPOs also issued. Their getting pension is now part of the unique benefits mentioned as per the scheme  and the letter addressed to the Pensioners’ association reiterates the same.

DOT OM oct 29 2019 in para 2. iii speaks about preponed pension liability 12768 cr spread over 10 years. The approval for budgetary support  to this liability  is given by the cabinet decision dt oct 23 , 2019. The OM is silent about any pension entitlement as quoted by BSNL VR Scheme 2019 para 6.2 a. or as assured by the DOT letter addressed to the Pensioners’ association.

Other than this scheme of 2019 that is giving the unique benefits to the VR optees retired – and in the absence of    ‘generic of CCS Rules’ - if any rule DOT is having to sanction pension to these optees, then the same may be placed in the public domain for the benefit of the thousands of stakeholders.


If DOT is kind enough to share the copy( thro RTI) of the cabinet note dated oct 22, 2019 and the  cabinet approval of oct 23 2019,then  one may get more light on this issue.

9-3-2021

Monday, February 22, 2021

Petrol Price Who Said What

 

Petrol Price   Who Said   What

பிரதமர் மோடி

``நம்முடையை எரிபொருள் தேவைக்கு பெரும்பாலும் இறக்குமதியை நம்பியிருப்பதே பெட்ரோல், டீசல் விலை உயர்வுக்குக் காரணம். காங்கிரஸ் ஆட்சிக் காலத்தில் பெட்ரோல், டீசல் இறக்குமதி தொடர்பான கொள்கைகளில் கவனம் செலுத்தியிருந்தால் இந்த விலை ஏற்றம் நடந்திருக்கவே இருக்காது. இந்திய நாட்டின் நடுத்தர வர்க்க மக்களும் இந்த அளவுக்கு அவதிப்பட்டிருக்க மாட்டார்கள்

Minister Pradhan

 There was a total collapse in demand for petroleum across the world due to the COVID-19 lockdown and petroleum producers had to reduce production. “Now the economy has revived and India has returned almost to the pre-COVID position. However, the oil producers have not increased production.”

I am sorry to say oil rich countries are not looking into the interest of consuming countries. They created an artificial price mechanism. This is pinching the consuming countries,” Pradhan told reporters in response to a query on rising fuel prices in the country.

He cited the government’s increased spending in welfare and developmental programmes to justify the increase in the petroleum products. “Some components of the petroleum price are coming from the tax regime. We are passing through an unusual phase due to the COVID pandemic.”

The spending of the Union and state governments have gone up.There is a 34 per cent increase in capital expenditure in the budget. But we have to carry forward our economy and we need resources,” he said.

 


பாஜக

காங்கிரஸ் ஆட்சியில் சர்வதேச அளவில் கச்சா எண்ணெயின் விலை ஏற்ற இறக்கத்துக்கு ஏற்ப எண்ணெய் நிறுவனங்கள் விலையை நிர்ணயம் செய்துகொள்ளலாம் என்ற ஓர் அறிவிப்பு வெளியிடப்பட்டது. அதன் விளைவை இந்திய மக்கள் தற்போது வரை அனுபவித்துவருகிறார்கள். பெட்ரோல், டீசல் விலை உயர்வைக் கட்டுப்படுத்த அவற்றை ஜி.எஸ்.டி-க்குள் கொண்டுவர வேண்டும். அதுதான் மத்திய அரசின் விருப்பமும்கூட. இதைப் பல நேரங்களில் மத்திய அமைச்சர் தர்மேந்திர பிரதான் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் வலியுறுத்திப் பேசியிருக்கிறார். ஆனால், மது மற்றும் பெட்ரோல் விற்பனை மூலம் அதிக லாபம் பெறுவதால் அவை இரண்டுக்கும் பழைய வரி விதிப்பு முறையே நீடிக்க வேண்டும் என மாநிலங்கள் வலியுறுத்திவருகின்றன. ஆனால், அதற்கு காங்கிரஸ் உள்ளிட்ட எதிர்க்கட்சிகள்தான் தடையாக இருக்கின்றன"

காங்கிரஸ்

கடந்த 6 ஆண்டுகளில் பெட்ரோல், டீசல் மீதான உற்பத்தி வரியாக ரூ.20 லட்சம் கோடியை மத்திய அரசு வசூலித்துள்ளது. இதில் டீசல் மீதான விலை மட்டும் 820 சதவீதமும், பெட்ரோல் விலை 258 சதவீதமும் அதிகரித்துள்ளது.

சர்வதேச சந்தையில் பெட்ரோலிய கச்சா எண்ணெய் விலை உயர்ந்து வருவதையடுத்து, தொடர்ந்து 9-வது நாளாக பெட்ரோல், டீசல் விலையை எண்ணெய் நிறுவனங்கள் உயர்த்தி வருகின்றன. கடந்த 6 ஆண்டுகளில் உயர்த்தப்பட்ட உற்பத்தி வரியைக் குறைத்தாலே, பெட்ரோல் லிட்டர் ரூ.61.92 ஆகக் குறைந்துவிடும், டீசல் லிட்டர் ரூ.47.51 ஆகச் சரிந்துவிடும்

கடந்த 2014-ம் ஆண்டு காங்கிரஸ் கட்சி ஆட்சியிலிருந்து அகலும்போது, பிரதமராக மன்மோகன் சிங் இருந்தபோது, சர்வதேச சந்தையில் பெட்ரோலிய கச்சா எண்ணெய் விலை பேரல் 108 அமெரிக்க டாலராக இருந்தது. டெல்லியில் அப்போது பெட்ரோல் ஒரு லிட்டர் ரூ.71.51 ஆகவும், டீசல் விலை ஒரு லிட்டர் ரூ.57.28 ஆகவும் இருந்தது.

ஆனால், 2021,பிப்ரவரி 1-ம் தேதி நிலவரப்படி சர்வதேச சந்தையில் பெட்ரோலிய கச்சா எண்ணெய் விலை பேரல் 54.41 அமெரிக்க டாலர்கள்தான். ஆனால், பெட்ரோல் விலை டெல்லியில் ஒரு லிட்டர் ரூ.89.29 ஆகவும், டீசல் விலை ஒரு லிட்டர் ரூ.79.70 ஆகவும் அதிகரித்துள்ளது.

CPI(M)

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly denounces yet another hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.  These hikes in excise duties come at a time when international oil prices have fallen with the base price for petrol being Rs. 47.12 in 2014 to Rs. 29.34 in 2021, i.e., nearly 50 per cent.

The main reason for these escalating prices is the unbridled hike in the excise duties by the Central government, which today is 38 per cent of the cost of petrol.  The tax levied by the Centre increased by a whopping 217 per cent since this Modi government assumed office in 2014.

These hikes in the excise duties are clearly meant to offset the losses to government revenues due to the tax concessions provided to the corporates and income tax payees.  There is a significant reduction in the corporate and income tax revenues from 6.81 and 6.38 lakh crores respectively last year – a reduction to 5.47 and 5.61 lakh crores respectively, as shown in the 2020-21 budget.

The Modi government’s bonanza to the rich and its cronies is sought to be made up by these excise duty hikes imposing further burdens on the people, who are already groaning under the double whammy attack on their livelihoods by the pandemic and the economic recession.

Further, the hikes in prices of petroleum products will result in higher transportation costs which will increase the prices of all essential commodities.  The cascading inflationary effect will further worsen the economic recession. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon all Party units across the country to organize protest actions demanding that the Centre withdraw these excise duties.

CPI

The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India issued the following statement today (on February 19, 2021) condemning the steep hike in the prices of petroleum products:

The Communist Party of India strongly condemns the steep hike in the prices of all petroleum products, including cooking gas. The hike will have a cascading effect on the prices of all essential commodities, making the lives of people more miserable.

The Party urges the Modi government to immediately withdraw the hike and ensure that the masses get all essential commodities at affordable prices.

The National Secretariat calls upon all party units to come out in protest against the steep hike.

 

Indian Express

Retail petrol and diesel prices are in theory decontrolled — or linked to global crude oil prices. Which means that if crude prices fall, as has largely been the trend since February, retails prices should come down too, and vice versa.But this does not happen in practice, largely because oil price decontrol is a one-way street in India.The main beneficiary in this subversion of price decontrol is the government. The consumer is a clear loser, as are the fuel retailing companies.

சென்ற ஜனவரியிலிருந்து இந்த 2021 ஜனவரி விலை உயர்வை பார்த்தால் இங்கிலாந்தில் 1.8 %குற்ந்தும், அமெரிக்காவில் 7.5 % குறைந்தும், பிரேசிலில் 20% குறைந்தும் சீனாவில் 1.4 % குறைந்தும் இருந்தால் இந்தியாவில் 13.6 சதம் கூடியுள்ளதாக இந்தியன் எக்ஸ்பிரஸ் தெரிவித்தது. இந்தியாவில் சென்ற ஆண்டில் 19.98 இருந்த எக்சைஸ் வரியை பெட்ரோலில் ரு 32.98 ஆக மோடி ஆட்சி உய்ர்த்தியுள்ளது. டீசலிலும் இது 15.83லிருந்து 31.83 ஆக உய்ர்த்தப்பட்டது.

 இன்று பார்க்கையில் அடிப்படை விலையில் மத்திய மாநில வரிகள் 180 சதமாக பெட்ரோலிலும், டீசலில் 141 சதமாகவும் வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.

Hindustan Times

The government uses petrol sales for revenue purposes. This is an inevitable result of so few Indians paying income tax. But there is also a positive consequence of such high taxes. Namely, it helps keep India on a low-carbon path of development and encourages a shift to renewables. The Modi government rightly takes the threat of climate change seriously and has deliberately tried to raise the cost of polluting fuels.

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The BJP’s middle class vote bank has held steady even in the face of deepening economic distress.

While taxes and duties comprised only 49% of retail petrol price under the UPA, under Modi that figure stands at 67%, as per an analysis by Mint.This isn’t the only instance of the middle class getting squeezed with little political repercussions. For some time now, the Reserve Bank of India has kept interest rates low, in a bid to kickstart the sputtering Indian economy. While this policy helps large corporations access easy credit, it grievously impacts small savers. For example, the rate for a State Bank of India fixed deposit between five and 10 years stands today at only 5.4%. This is down from more than 9% when Bachchan was joking about the travails of the middle class in 2012.

What works additionally in favour of the BJP is the lack of any other party which attracts middle class support. The Congress, while traditionally a party that attracted middle class support, has seen its support collapse post 2014, with the BJP significantly increasing its standing amongst them between 2014 and 2019.