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