Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Letter to BSNL Pensioners


A Letter to BSNL Pensioners


Dear pensioners

My respects to all. Hope you are doing well and in good health. As everyone, I was also eagerly waiting for the outcome of DOT's Meeting with Associations regarding pension revision on 17th Oct 2022. I have to salute the leaders for their steadfastness and tireless efforts to bring DOT to the negotiating table.

Leaders  had gone all the way to Delhi, ignoring their age and health issues, their stay comforts and food availability. They had undergone these sufferings only for the sake of lakhs of pensioners waiting for their pension revision for the last many years.

Most of the Associations gone for the negotiation reported us that the outcome was positive to that extent on two major issues- acceptance of delinking from the pay revision   and  DOT is also not for zero percent fitment. On these accounts, all the associations are having near unanimity. I wish every success to the associations for steering the course further.

The difference is on the issue of 7th CPC or 3rd PRC. It is reported that DOT will take care of that including the issue of fitment. If the minutes of the meeting  issued, we can infer the mind of DOT.

I am one amongst the pensioners expecting the benefit. I always appreciate the honest efforts of the leaders of the associations. But when I feel the confusion in the letters or Memo to DOT, I start writing about that not with any ill intention but to enrich the perception and understanding amongst the pensioners in common.

'Interconnectedness' is a very valuable element in human life. Even associations are formed to strengthen this aspect only. After Nakara Supreme court Judgment, this interconnectedness amongst the pensioners was strengthened treating the pensioners as a class.

My appeal is that by ‘this delinking’ the spirit of this interconnectedness existing today amongst the BSNL family should not be disturbed.

There are 3 major categories (Pre 2017, post 2017 pensioners and employees) having their interconnectedness till this date. This was established during the earlier pension revision after the pay revision of the employees in 2007. That pension revision was not automatic as that of Pensioners of Central govt. It was separately pursued and orders issued separately and not along with pay revision. This I agree.

But this para of DOT OM dt 15-3-2011 is showing us the interconnectedness. That is at the behest of wage revision; pension revision was examined and solved.

"2.The matter regarding revision of pension in respect of BSNL IDA Pensioners, who retired from 1-10-2000 to 31-12-2006, pursuant to wage revision in BSNL w.e.f 1-1-2007 had been under consideration of the GOI"

The 9 Associations demanding 7th cpc fitment factor for pre 2017 pensioners in their signed letter on 17-10-2022, placed the last para like this for post 2017 pensioners

“20. For post 2017 retirees, in view of no pay revision, their pension may also be multiplied by the same multiplying factor of 2.515 to avoid any anomaly in pension"

AIBDPA in their memo in para 7  demanded pension revision for 15 % as per 3rd PRC and also delinking from pay revision. In Para 9 they mentioned

“Regarding the possibility of anomaly to the post 2017 retirees, it could be settled by giving the same fitment notionally to them and the financial effect with the drawal of pension.”

They have placed NE pay scales the one  proposed in the NE wage committee constituted by the BSNL- for the consideration of DOT for Pension revision to (NE) pensioners.

I come to know that BDPA and AICGPA also stood for 3rd PRC 15 % fitment

I was informed that AICGPA placed the following specifics in their memo.

“ 3. We pray for 15 percent benefit as recommended by 3rd PRC

4. Minimum revised pension may be equivalent to the 50 percent of the minimum of the respective new scales. This was given in the last 2007 pension revision by DOT

5. As Executives have new scales as that of 3rd PRC,  the new scales for NE need to be evolved for fixing the equivalent minimum”

About post 2017 pensioners AICGPA mentioned

“ 1. The benefit given to pre 2017 pensioners need to be given to to post 2017 pensioners also.

2. The date of effect for the benefit should be the same as that of pre 2017 pensioners.”

Those asking ‘delinking’ are damn sure that there will be no pay revision and so only they are asking for post 2017 pensioners the benefit from a different date. Fortunately the Central Govt pensioners association demanded the same benefit from the same date for post 2017 pensioners. This is possible only when there is pay enhancement on that 1-1-2017 date.

 I do not know why the ‘delinking demanders’ are presuming and announcing ‘no pay revision’ and with what authority they are saying so.  As the old practitioners of TU Movement, we should repose faith on the present TU practitioners- they are also trying their level best to settle the issue of Pay revision, though they supported and placed the demand of ‘delinking’. Let us wish them every success to settle their pay revision on the analogy of Pension revision either simultaneously or one by one thereby establishing the interconnectedness.

7th CPC fitment with delinking or 3rd PRC fitment with delinking in both the methods, the established interconnectedness may be diminished. When we demand Pension revision from 1-1-2017 for pre 2017 pensioners then they may get the benefit from 1-1-2017 if DOT settled the issue.

But for post 2017 pensioners when we start demanding a ‘different’ ‘different’ dates ( as the date of retirement of each is different) then  loss of benefit for them will be there.. We cannot demand pension revision for them from 1-1-2017 because they were not pensioners on that date, but employees. They can get the same benefit of pre 2017 pensioners from the same date 1-1-2017 , if only their pay enhancement from that date is given ( as employees on that date and later pensioners getting the name of post 2017 pensioners).

Different date and postponing their benefit means interconnectedness is disturbed. The ‘post 2017 pensioner’ means a person retiring even upto Dec 2026 and even beyond 2027 till 4th PRC or 8th CPC settled. Each ‘post 2017 pensioner’ will get a different date of benefit if the suggestion of associations is accepted. This may cause considerable loss to them. I wish this confusion need to be addressed by both the leaders and DOT officials.

Regarding ‘NE pay scales’ for Pre 2017 and post 2017 revision, I come to know AIBDPA, BDPA, AICGPA all demanded in that meeting and it seems that they got the reply  that BSNL will be informed accordingly. I wish the recognized Unions of BSNL who are going to the negotiating table may take cognizance of this matter and push pay revision settlement as early as they can. MTNL NE may also get their wage revision committee, I hope shortly for starting negotiation.

This aspect of ‘NE Pay scales’ is important for Pension revision to get the minimum pension above the said minimum of Rs 9000. I hope this aspect also will be taken care of.

Let us hope for the best to establish the interconnectedness in order to avoid getting benefit at the cost of post 2017 pensioners.

12.30 hrs  19-10-2022                                            Affectionately yours                                                                                                             R.Pattabiraman