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Friday, September 26, 2014

Minutes of the 25th meeting of Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) held on 05th Sept, 2014 under the Chairmanship of Hon'ble MOS(PP)

MOST IMMEDIATE
SCOVA Matter
F. No. 42/29/2014-P&PW(G)
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare

3rd Floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan,
Khan Market, New Delhi – 110003
Date: 25th Sept, 2014
To


Please find enclosed herewith a copy of minutes of the 25th meeting of Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) held on 05th September, 2014 under the Chairmanship of Hon'ble MOS (PP) at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi for your kind perusal and necessary action.

Enel: as above

Sd/-
( Sujasha Choudhury)
 Dy. Secretary (P)
Tele No. : 24635979


Minutes of the 25th meeting of Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) held on 05.09.2014 under the Chairmanship of Hon'ble MOS (PP) at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi.

The list of Participants is at Annexure-(A)

2.      At the outset Joint Secretary (Pension) welcomed Hon'ble MOS (PP), Secretary, Pension & Pensioners' Welfare, representatives of Pensioners Associations and the participating officers of various Ministries/Departments. It was stated that this was the very first SCOVA meeting for the Hon'ble MOS(PP) as well as the Secretary and the SCOVA would make meaningful contribution under their able leadership. She mentioned that the Pensioners Associations had always played an important role by bringing forth issues of areas of interest to the pensioners. It was further added that the Department of Pension, in line with its vision of providing a life of dignity for retiring employees and pensioners has taken a number of initiatives. The most significant of these initiatives was the reduction in prescribed timeline for sanction and authorization of pension, streamlining of pension procedures and spread of ' Bhavishya' (online pension sanction and tracking system) in 23 Ministries/ Departments.

3.      The House paid tribute to the departed soul of Shri Umraomal Purohit, Secretary, National Council (JCM), Staff Side and ex-officio member of the SCOVA.

4.      Various Pensioners' Associations & JCM (staffside) made a few suggestions and requested the Departments to look into the same.

  1. Ministry of Railways was not posting their circulars on time on their website.

  1. D/o ESW need to be more sensitive and accessible to Defence pensioners and the recognized Associations by reintroducing quarterly meetings.

  1. Grievances are only getting closed and not getting disposed.

  1. The Associations had been provided with computer/scanner/printers in the year 2008-2009 and were obsolete now and need to be replaced. The licensed software’s such as Window 8 and MS Office latest version also be provided.

  1. Discrimination in medical/CGHS facilities between Central Government Pensioners.

  1. NPS employees should be given a fair deal.

  1. Most of the pensioners from Department of Posts are getting revised pension. However, they have not received the revised pension authority as yet.

  1. It was also requested that the authority for revision of pension/family pension being issued by Department of Post should cover both the revisions i.e from 1.1.2006 and also further revision from 24/09/2012.

  1. There should be no discrimination among the SCOVA members of the Committee in respect of reimbursement of TA. The present process is discriminatory and people living less than 1000 K.M away have not been allowed air fare. Further even the reimbursement of railway fare is depending on the post from which the member retired which places the members on an unequal footing.

  1. The issue of Computerisation of CGHS Wellness Centre Jammu was included as an Agenda Item in 23rd SCOVA meeting held in September, 2013. In the 24th SCOVA Meeting which was held on 5th February, 2014, it was reported that the "work was in progress'. This work is still not completed and needs to be expedited.

(Action:- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare)

5. Thereafter, Hon'ble MOS (PP), Chairman, SCOVA, addressed the members. He said that 28 years ago when SCOVA was formed, the number of pensioners was very small. Now the number of pensioners has increased manifold and is growing owing to the healthy life style. In addition the Department is also now addressing the needs of not only the pensioners but employees who are about to retire and specially those who are not mentally or psychologically ready to face retirement and life thereafter. This is being done through regular Pre-Retirement Counseling Session as well as focus on post retirement engagement through Sankalp. In this connection he suggested that some members of the association could be actively associated with this Department to provide services at the door steps to the elders wherever required in solving their grievances as well as reaching out to them. This Department could facilitate pensioners in holding Health Camps which are already being done by several associations. Overall, the Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare should have a wholesome and holistic approach, in fact, filling up the gap left by the breakdown of the joint family system.
He further stated that the aim of all Departments should be to address the grievances and not to close them, in keeping with the policy of the new Government not to evade the issues but address them. SCOVA members should be given an opportunity to provide inputs to be incorporated in the minutes which would become part of data bank. The minutes should also be posted on the website. On the issue of NPS the Minister stated that a note be given to JS(P). He further stated that the computers given to the association should be regularly replaced to avoid obsolescence.

6. Thereafter, the Action Taken Report of 24th SCOVA meeting and Fresh Agenda items of 25th SCOVA meeting were taken up for discussion.

7. Discussion on ATR of 24th SCOVA meeting:-

                                                 i) SI.No 1 of ATR: Status of issue of revised PPOs to pre-2006 pensioners.
                                                 
                        a) CPAO informed that as on date approximately 38,000 cases were pending for revision. Out of these 27,000 cases belong to pre-1990 retirees. Despite several efforts, no further information was coming forth in respect of the pre- 1990 PPOs. CPAO informed that they have approached banks and pensioners to obtain the missing information. CPAO was advised to hold meetings with individual Ministries and sort out cases issue wise so that solutions could be worked out and the pendency brought down to zero.

(Action: CPAO)

                        b) Ministry of Railways informed that as on date approximately 26,690 cases were pending which was very good progress when compared with the pendency at the time of the previous SCOVA meeting. It was stated by one Pensioners' Association that PPO signing powers should be with lower officers and not centralized as a part of systemic correction.

(Action: Ministry of Railways)

                        c) Improvement indicated by Department of Posts was quite significant. However, some of the pensioners association stated that large number of pensioners in the State of Maharashtra, West Bengal and in Madhya Pradesh circle have till date not received the revised PPOs copies. On detailed discussion, it emerged that though pension had been revised hard copies of corrigendum PPOs have not been issued to pensioners. Department of Posts will further investigate the matter and ensure that hard copies are made available to pensioners.
                         
(Action: Department of Posts)

                                                d) Department of Telecommunications informed that approximately 7637 PPOs were pending and the reasons for the pending PPOs was that the old records were not traceable. These pensioners could not also be contacted.
                                                 
(Action : Department of Telecom)

                                                e) Ministry of Defence intimated that a total of 85,000 cases are pending including Defence Civil pensioners. However, the pensioners associations did not agree with these figures and also stated that hard copies of PPOs were not being issued. It was also informed that the revised PPOs issued to the pensioners getting invalid pensions were showing wrong amount of pension as reckonable service is not relevant in these cases.
                                                 
(Action: Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare)

Secretary(P) stated that the pendency of revised PPOs was very high and requested all the Departments to launch a special drive involving field units so as to clear the pendency in 60 days time.

All the Departments will issue the revised PPOs by 31st Dec, 2014 after which the agenda item will be closed.

On the issue of pension adalat in North East, the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare intimated that a pension adalat in Shillong will be held on 17th and 18th Oct, 2014. The associations requested that the minutes of the adalats should be issued by all the Departments.

One pensioner association recommended that Lok Adalats should not be confined to cities but should also be held in the hinterland especially in places like Ladakh, upper reaches of Himachal, Uttrakhand and areas from where the other ranks abound. Suggestion was accepted by CGDA representative.

One of the Pensioners' Associations pointed out that Pension Adalat is not being held in the IncomeTax, Central Excise and Survey of India Departments.

(Action:- CPAO, M/o Railways, D/o Telecom, D/o Posts, M/o Defence , D/oPPW, D/o Revenue, Survey of India)

(ii)  SI.No 2 of ATR:-New dispensary for Panchkula.

As decided in the last meeting of the SCOVA, MOS (PP) took up the matter with Ministry of Health. Ministry of Health & FW intimated that the proposal was examined and due to resource constraints, it has not been agreed to. Ministry of Health was asked to send a formal reply to the Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare indicating the status/decision on the proposal.
The issue of increasing the number of CGHS dispensary will be taken up along with other issues on CGHS in a special meeting of JS(Pension) with AS&DG, CGHS. This item may, therefore, be closed.

( Action : Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and DoPPW)

(iii)             SI.No 3 of ATR Broad Banding of Disability Element for Pre-1996 cases.

The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare informed that the proposal had been approved by Department of Expenditure and the orders in this regard will be issued by the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare shortly. One pensioners association informed the Chair that the approved file had been with the Dept of ESW for over three weeks with no forward movement. The Department of ESW clarified that the file had been put up to the Minister and orders would be issued by the ensuing week.

(Action: D/o Ex-Servicemen Welfare)

(iv)             SI.No 4 of ATR:- Health Insurance Scheme for pensioners including those residing at non-CGHS areas.

Planning Commission has suggested re-casting of the EFC Memo .The Ministry of Health intimated that the Ministry of Health will submit the revised EFC Memo within two weeks.

(Action: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare)

(v)               SI.No 5 of ATR:- Dedicated day for pensioners.

Most of the Departments had fixed days for meeting the pensioners barring Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Railways and Department of Financial Service. Secretary (P) requested these Departments to fix days to meet the pensioners. Department of ESW should put in place an institutional mechanism for regular interaction with pensioners. Some pensioner associations brought out the fact that the veterans could not travel to Allahabad PCGDA every time they needed redressal. The Department of ESW should reintroduce the quarterly meetings with its ESM's as before to resolve issues and improve matters.

(Action : D/o of Financial Services, M/o Railways and D/o Ex-servicemen Welfare)

(VI)            SI.No 6 of ATR Special Family Pension for the Widows of Disabled War Veterans.

The Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare informed that it had not been possible to agree to the proposal. After discussion it was understood that the proposal considered by the Department of ESW should have been only for special family pension to the war casualties, not all disabled veterans. This number, it was stated, was not more than 3,000. Therefore, It was decided the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare will reconsider the proposal.
(Action: - M/o Defence, D/o of Ex-servicemen Welfare)

(vi)             SI.No 7 of ATR:- Grant of T.A. to Non-official Members attending the SCOVA meetings- Permission to perform journey by AIR and grant of actual expenses, when the journey performed is above 1,000 km.

The meeting was intimated that the Orders in respect of journey by Air when distance is above 1000 kms has been issued. The item may be closed.

(Action: DoPPW)

(vii)           SI.No 8 of ATR

( a ) The Orders of Ministry of Health reiterating that ail the pensioners are at liberty to opt themselves with any of the nearest CGHS hospital/ dispensary may be widely circulated. Arbitrary orders dated 01/08/1996 and 01/09/1996 issued by Ministry of Health and Director of CGHS may be withdrawn and the benefit of CGHS facilities be allowed to the pensioners of Department of Post and Department of Telecom.

(b) Medical facilities for existing P&T pensioners.

Ministry of Health informed that the matter was still sub-judice. It was suggested that Ministry of Health may re-consider this issue to see that there is no discrimination among the employees/pensioners from the various Departments of the Central Government.

(Action: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare)

(IX)             SI.No 9 of ATR:- Anomaly in fixation of pension to DoT employees absorbed in BSNL, who retired between 1.10.2000 and 31.7.2001.

DoT informed that the BSNL is collecting the requisite information sought by DoPPW from corporate offices of BSNL/MTNL. It was decided that the matter may be discussed in a meeting between DoP&PW and DOT to find a solution to the issue.

(Action: D/o Telecom & D/o P&PW)

(X)               SI No.10 of ATR :-Merger of 78.2% IDA with basic pension benefit to the absorbed BSNL Pensioners.

DoP&PW has already conveyed it's 'no objection' to the proposal. Department of Expenditure intimated that they will send their comments to DOT within a week.

(Action: D/o Telecom & D/o Expenditure)
(XI)             SI.No 11 of ATR :- Extension of benefit of upgraded Grade Pay to pre-2006 retirees of S-12 grade.

The matter is sub-judice.

(Action: D/o Expenditure & DoPPW)

(XII)           S.No.12 of ATR :- Extension of benefit of OM dt. 28.1.2013 w.e.f 1.1.2006 instead of 24.9.2012

The matter is sub-judice. Secretary(P) mentioned that as and when the Hon'ble Supreme Court decides the pending SLP, the orders of Hon'ble Supreme Court will be implemented.

(Action: D/o P&PW)

8. Discussion on fresh agenda points for the 25th SCOVA meeting:-

(25.1) Stepping up of Disability Element on the basis of Fitment Tables.

In respect of the civil pensioners the proposal has been agreed to by the Department of Expenditure and the orders will be issued shortly by the Department of Pension. In respect of ex-servicemen the file is under consideration of Ministry of Defence (Fin). It was requested that the matter be expedited.

(Action: D/o Ex-servicemen Welfare, DoPPW)

(25.2)     Income Certificate to be produced by the Family Pensioner.

Ministry of Railways were in general following these instructions except in a few zones like Southern Railway, particularly Divisions like Trichy, Madurai etc. Railways were requested to reiterate the existing instructions to accept self attestation for strict compliance.

(Action: Ministry of Railways)

(25.3)     and (25.4):- Extension Counter of CGHS Wellness Centre Jammu at Srinagar and Upgradation of facilities at CGHS Wellness Centre Jammu including Construction of CGHS Hospital on the plot of land allotted by J&K Govt, at Jammu.

Ministry of Health informed that due to resource and man power constraints, it is not possible to open a CGHS Wellness Centre at Srinagar.
It was decided that the issue of increasing the number of CGHS dispensary will be taken up along with other issues on CGHS in a special meeting of JS(Pension) with AS&DG, CGHS.

(Action: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, DoPPW)

 (25.5):- Delay in family pension to next eligible family member in case of death of widow.

It was noted in the meeting that procedure for payment of family pension to spouses has been streamlined resulting in smooth transition of payment to spouses. It was not possible to simplify the provision in respect of other categories. The SCOVA member who raised the issue was requested to give details of the 3 cases quoted where hardships were being faced in payment of family pension for further examination.

(Action: DoPPW)

(25.6)   Extension of CGHS facilities to retired BSNL employees -Issue of follow up order by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare & fixation of rates of contribution & ward entitlement by DoT.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare intimated that the orders extending the CGHS facilities to retired BSNL employees drawing pension from the Government were already issued on 9/1/2014. Pensioner Association requested that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may circulate the OM dtd 09.01.2014 to all concerned, especially to the CGHS, and supply a copy of the OM to the Pensioners' Associations under SCOVA. The item may be closed.

Pensioners' Association mentioned that in CGHS, monthly contribution is fixed on the basis of Grade Pay and ward entitlement on the basis of Pay in pay band. As there is no element of "Grade Pay" and "Pay in Pay band" in IDA pay scales the Department of Telecom / Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should evolve criteria in respect of BSNL retirees regarding monthly contribution and ward entitlement.

(Action : M/o Health and Family Welfare, Department of Telecom)




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