Understanding the issues: Delinking- Applicability- Incorporation
BSNL Pensioners' Associations are in the hilarious mood and proud about their singular achievement of Delinking Pension Revision from Pay Revision of the Employees of that PSU. There are 3 trends of focus on demands. Let us see one by one.
Some Associations are demanding delinking from Pay Revision of BSNL but linking Pension Revision from 3rd PRC elements like date of effect 1-1-2017, IDA merger Points 119.5 % , 15% fitment. There is no confusion in their demand. For Post 2017, their demand is notional pay as on 1-1-2017 and as per 3rd PRC. The only question is about whether ‘notional Pay PPO’ is equivalent in merit to that of ‘Last pay drawn PPO’. The other issue is if there is any pay revision on the basis of 3rd PRC in any day in future, how these PPOs will be corrected. DOT is silent about this, though they are responsible for Executive Pay Revision.
Second Trend : Some other Associations are demanding delinking from Pay Revision of BSNL but linking Pension Revision from some 3rd PRC elements like date of effect 1-1-2017, IDA merger Points 119.5 % and again another linking of the element 2.515 fitment with 7th CPC. Here in their demand one can see double linking of elements both from PRC and CPC. If 7th CPC is not possible, then they are ready to go to 6th CPC linking 2nd PRC date of effect. This seems to me vague. Though they are ready to go to 6th CPC fitment from 1-1-2007, they are silent what to do for the earlier period IDA fixation from 1-10-2000 to 31-12-2006. If they are ready to go to CDA from 1-10-2000, it has its major impact on the quantum of Pension that the BSNL absorbed pensioners are getting today.
Their demand for Post 2017 is a loss making one and having discrimination in date of effect. For pre 2017 they want 1-1-2017 and for Post 2017 they postpone the date of effect to different dates to different pensioners creating confusion and bringing loss to them.
The third trend is very small one crying for simultaneous Pay and Pension revision from 1-1-2017 as per 3rd PRC. This people failed to impress upon DOT to move the note sheet in favour of this simultaneous advantages of all sections having interconnectivity.
The BSNL Trade Unions are also agreeing the demand of delinking Pension revision from pay revision and at the same time Non Executive Unions are struggling for Pay revision in their wage Committee. They are reporting that BSNL has sent the Pay scales to DOT but after this BSNL is not interested to hold wage committee meetings. It seems that Executive Associations are not in the picture at all and there is no pressure to DOT from their side for any Pay revision as per 3rd PRC.
The mind of DOT in delinking is clear. They use this phrase also. That is ' In the absence of Pay Revision'. In the name of delinking DOT is considering Pension Revision linking it with 3rd PRC elements like date of effect 1-1-2017, IDA merger Points 119.5, 3rd Pay Scales of Executives and BSNL sent scales of Non Executives. The one element they are deviating from 3rd PRC is nil or zero % fitment. DOT is pro active on Post 2017 pensioners issue and ready to consider notional pay on 1-1-2017 as per 3rd PRC scales, the same date of effect and benefits as that of Pre 2017. DOT is utilizing the loopholes ‘absence of any guidelines’ for Pension Revision for the BSNL Absorbed employees.
The above is today’s picture how delinking is viewed by different stakeholders differently
II Lest We forget
CPC is basically set up for recommending Pay Revision of Central Govt Employees and Pension revision of Central govt Pensioners retired as employees of Central Govt.
PRC is set up for recommending the Pay scales of PSU Executives.
On absorption in the BSNL PSU, due to wonderful efforts of com O P Gupta of NFTE and with the cooperation of FNTO leaders, BSNL absorbed employees from DOT got a special provision in the 37A that they will get the pension from the GOI. Though loosing Govt Employees status, we were given that special provision of getting pension from the GOI instead of from any Pension Trust. The other important provision on that is ‘as per Govt formula’.
37 A is basically for fixation of Pension and disbursement of Pension by GOI. The formula accepted is only for fixation of Pension and Retirement Benefits of the absorbed employee with that of CG employee retiring on that date . It is basically an assurance for comparison between the Absorbed and CG employees than any comparison between two types of Pensioners.
III Applicability And Incorporation
I begin here with the DOT OM given below issued for the applicability of 7th CPC to BSNL absorbees. This applicability was made only partially. This is for the post 2016 employees retiring from 1-1-2016. For ‘Applicability’ normally they gave the same date of effect 1—1-2016 but for ‘incorporation’ of certain other provisions of 7th CPC they may give the date of effect from 1-1-2017.
DOT's OM dated 16-3-2017 speaks about Implementation of 7th CPC recommendations: Applicability to the BSNL MTNL absorbees opting for pension for combined service governed under Rule 37 A 0f CCS PR 1972. This applicability is consequent to 7th CPC w.r.t DOPPW's OM No. 38/37/16- P& PW (A) (i) dated 4-8-2016.
para 2 of that OM
The rates for payment of death gratuity shall be revised as per para 6.1 of DOPPW O M 38/37/2016- P&PW ( A) (i) dated 4th Aug 2016. The maximum limit of Death/ Retirement Gratuity shall be Rs 20 lakh w.e.f 1-1-2016.
3rd Para of the OM is important
“There is no change in the formula for Pension/FP w.e.f 1.1.2016. BSNL/MTNL absorbee employees will therefore continue to get pension based on the same formula"
There will be no change in the provisions relating to commutation of Pension.
In this way that OM cleared the issues related with ‘Formula’.
In the above OM they have made change of ceiling of Gratuity only applicable to the absorbed as per 7th CPC. The date of Implementation is 1-1-2016. But other provision is not extended to us, as they cannot provide them. They may incorporate linkage of IDA for enhanced Gratuity as that of 6.2 once they issue Pension revision order.
Another para 6.2 is there and that is not made applicable to us by this 16th March order because our IDA is not changed to 3rd PRC pattern.
6.2 The maximum limit of Retirement gratuity shall be Rs 20 lakh. The ceiling on gratuity will increase by 25 % whenever the DA rises by 50 % of basic pay. DA linked portion is not coming automatically as Applicability. It will be incorporated later when they issue any pension order.
The provision for Minimum and Maximum Pension para is also not made applicable to us.
5.2 The amount of pension shall be subject to a minimum of Rs 9000 and the maximum pension would be 50 % of highest pay in the Govt (the highest pay is Rs 2,50,000 w.e.f 1.1.2016)
This will also get incorporated when they issue Pension revision order.
The above quoted DOPPW OM is issued for Post 2016 retiring CG Employees. And so applicability or incorporation would be accordingly done by DOT.
IV 7th CPC OM
The Pension revision OM issued for Pre 2016 is DOPPW/38/37/2016- P&PW (A) (ii).
4.1 of this OM speaks about 2.57 multiplication factor
"4.1 Existing pensioners, who have retired before 1-1-2016, the revised pension/FP w.e.f from 1-1-2016 shall be determined by multiplying the pension/FP , as had been fixed at the time of implementation of 6th CPC , by 2.57. The amount of revised pension/FP so arrived at shall be rounded off to next higher rupee"
Those demanding this 7th CPC factor on IDA ( as per 3rd PRC) and from 1-1-2017 ( as per 3rd PRC) is missing the intricacies of old sub rule 8 of 37A which compares only amongst employees of absorbed in PSU and CGE retiring on a particular date.
There is no provision for applicability of fitment or multiplication factor comparing CG Pensioner and Combined service BSNL IDA Pensioner. As on date there is no provision in old 37 A or new 37 of 2021. This does not mean a new amendment should not be made. But amendment on ‘what sub rule and where’ is the question that we need to ponder. The impact on the existing 37 A absorbed employees also a question needs to think over.
The basic understanding that we are missing on 37 A or the present 37 of 2021 is- it is essentially for fixing pension on a particular date for the employees becoming pensioner not for the existing pensioner for any pension revision.
V DOT Proposed Amendment
The ROD of 17-10-2022 with the Associations speaks about the need of amendment on this 37 (15) (A)
" The Official side explained that for paying pension on notional basis amendment in pension rule 37 (15) (A ) is required to be made by nodal Ministry.."
As per the PPT presented on 17-10-2022, the observation of DOPPW on this issue is
"The question of relaxation of rule 37 (15) may be considered as and when the need arises for allowing the pension fixation based on notional pay"
That is if the amendment is accepted and inserted in 37 of CCS 2021 in Rule 15, then the ‘similarity position with the CG employees retiring on that day’ guaranteed all along since 37 A of 2000 is going to be derailed in the name of delinking pension revision from Pay revision. Fixation of pension will be on notional pay for the absorbed employees retiring (post 2017) on a particular date while CG employees retiring on that date will get as that of emoluments actually drawn.
This they want to do for the sake of delinking Pension revision for the Pre 2017 pensioner who all enjoyed that benefit of old rule 8 of 37 A and the present 15 A of 37 of 2021. Pension revision at the cost of entire post 2017 employees who are all retiring till 2026 and going to continue beyond 2026.
If at all any benefit of Pension revision on 3rd PRC scales with fitment or without fitment is given w.e.f 1-1-2017 , the full benefit of that will be given to Pre 2017 pensioners from the day one. But in the case of Post 2017 the benefit will be from different dates as the retirement date varies and they can enjoy the benefit only after their date of retirement, if it is settled as demanded by some associations who are all sending memo with a wrong demand.
If an employee of BSNL retires in dec 2026, his benefit on pension will be after his retirement date because of absence of Pay revision. He has to loose in the entire period 2017-2026. Fortunately DOT is aware of this issue and so only coming forward to settle that issue with notional pay PPO.
It is my bounden duty to point out what I feel discrimination and disadvantageous to one section - the post 2017 section. They are very much part of BSNL family either by 37 A or in other way as DR Employees.
13 hrs 10-1- 2023 - R Pattabiraman