Saturday, February 25, 2017

NCCPA Circular and Staff Side Secretary's letter to Government on Option 1 and NPS

Website: nccpahq.blogspot.in.

13C, Feroze Shah Road,
 New Delhi. 110 001

President:                           Com. Shiv Gopal Misra.
Secretary General:          Com. K.KN. Kutty.

Dear Comrade,
On 10th February 2017, the Sub Committee 3 met the Staff Side JCM. As you are aware, the Government had set up a committee to streamline the NPS on the recommendations of the 7th  CPC. On a plain reading of the 7th CPC comments on NPS. It would be evident that the commission wanted the Govt to go into various grievances/ complaints raised by the stake-holders. The Commission had pointedly referred to the pension(Contributory) System prevalent in various other countries and the need for a minimum guarantee on the investments. The Staff Side had therefore nursed the hope that though the contributory system may not be scrapped the Govt. might bring about necessary changes so that the subscribers would be able to have a minimum guaranteed pension. In fact the official side had assured  the S/s in an earlier meeting that the benefit of annuity would not be less than the earlier defined pension benefit.. In other words they had expressed that the annuity would be more than 50% of the last Pay drawn. The Parliamentary Committee, which considered the PFRDA bill had opined that the subscribers must be provided with such a guarantee. The committee was headed by Shri. Yeswant Sinha , former Finance Minister and BJP MP. The UPA II Govt. rejected this demand while passing the Bill for which BJP voted in favour. Despite all these happenings one    still  nurses the  hope. That is what optimism is all about.

In the first meeting of the committee chaired   by the secondary Pension, Staff Side was given an opportunity along with many others to present their case. There had been many who had gate crashed into that meeting, mostly the Associations representing all India and organised Group A services. Every one of the spoke and spoke elaborately of the various facets and defects of the Scheme, but not suggesting   any  remedial  measures. To a specific quarry, the spokesperson of the Finance Ministry categorically stated that no guaranteed minimum pension could be stipulated and quoted the provisions to that effect in the Act itself. In our last circular we had enclosed the copy of the submissionsmade by the Staff Side.  During the deliberations of the Sub Committee 3 also Staff side has presented its views on various queries raised by the official side. A copy of the Staff Side letter is enclosed. The official side has made it categorically clear  that it was not in their province to make any changes in the basic features of NPS and therefore no guaranteed pension or  annuity  could be offered.

The significant feature of the discussion was as to how to import the punitive provisions of the CCS(pension) Rules 1972, when an individual employee is proceeded against under the CCS(CCA) Rules. The Staff Side has categorically and emphatically pointed out that the contributory Pension Scheme is a financial transaction   between the employer and  the employee and the money so collected stands  transferred to the investment company, with clear  instructions on the pattern of  investment.  In that situation, it would not be possible for any party to amend or rescind any of the instructions issued to the investment company or withhold the proceeds thereof.  The sub-committee will now make over its report in all probability without giving any cognizance of the staff side view as they have done in the case of Option No. 1

As we had indicated in our earlier communication, in the case of option No. 1 which has been rejected by the pension Department stating the most untenable argument of infeasibility, we are left with no option but to knock at the doors of courts. As a preliminary measure we must now collect the names of those persons who would stand to benefit if option No.1 is implemented. Before we decide to file the  Secretariat of NCCPA will discuss the matter and will take appropriate decision.

In the meantime as you are aware the CGEs under the banner of Confederation will be on Strike on 16.03.2017 inter alia  raising  the issue of Option No.1 and NPS. We must express our solidarity and support to the striking workers. We may suggest that in all state capitals the affiliates of NCCPA may jointly organise demonstrate in front of an identified Central Government office by wearing badges with the following inscription on it.

Allow Option 1. For Pension Fixation
Exclude CGEs from NPS

With greetings,
Yours fraternally,

Secretary General.

Copy of letter from the Secretary staff Side to the Chairman, Sub-Committee III of NPS Committee.

No.NC-JCM-2016/Pension (NPS)              -  February 10, 2017

The Chairman,
Sub-Committee III on NPS
Dept of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare
3rd Floor, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market,
New Delhi

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for your letter No 57/2016-P&PW(B) dated 31st January 2017 and the decision to reschedule the meeting at our request.

We find from your letter cited that the Committee set up by the Government to streamline the NPS has delegated the task to different Sub-Committees and we are before the Sub-Committee No III. Since the identified task of each subcommittee is not made known, nor even as to how such many sub committees are set up, we may not be able to make a comprehensive presentation on NPS. On 20th January 2017, we had made a written presentation of our views in the matter. We attach the said letter to this communication and reiterate the views conveyed therein. 

1.            The entire Central and State Govt Employees of the Country must be excluded                 from the purview of the NPS and consequently of PFRDA Act for the elaborate reasons mentioned in our Memorandum to 7 CPC.  The National Pension                Scheme which is based on defined mandatory contribution from the employees was introduced without causing any consultation with the employees organizations in the JCM forum and amounts to unilateral and arbitrary                 withdrawal of an existing benefit, which is clearly impermissible.  We give hereunder our comments on each of the issues raised in the letter  cited.

2.            Without compromising on the above position,. We request that benefits defined under the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 as amended on date must be the pension                 and other entitlements in the case of all Central And State Govt. employees. In other words, every employee who retires after completion of 20 years of service must be given -

Pension @50% of the last pay drawn or average emoluments of the last               10 months whichever is beneficial to the employee along with the appropriate Dearness Relief, subject to the minimum pension under the Rules as is amended from time to time.

On his death as Pensioner, family members shall be entitled to family    Pension, subject to the specified minimum amount of family pension,           stipulated by the Government from time to time along with appropriate Dearness Relief. Besides, all persons on retirement will be entitled to Gratuity as specified under extant Rules.

(A)                Framing of rules on service matters of NPS employees including the following:

(i)            Provision of an option for entitlements under old pension scheme on death,      disability or invalidation during service

There cannot be a provision for option. The stipulation of pensionary benefit afforded under the extant rules / CCS(Pension) Rules be extended to them. The provisional pension benefit orders issued by the Govt. is to be continued or made permanent.

Family for the purpose of payment of annuity

Family definition must be as is provided for the present CCS (Pension) Rules
(iii)          Contribution during suspension, extra ordinary leave (i.e. leave without              pay),      unauthorized absence

Contribution during suspension : 10% of the subsistence allowance and Govt. contributes 10% of the entitled full salary
Extra Ordinary leave – No contribution
Unauthorized absence – No contribution

iv)           Entitlements/deductions on dismissal / removal during service
Entitlement/deduction on dismissal/removal during service – Return of the Contributions made by the official and the Govt on his behalf.

If he purchases an annuity by investing the funds so received,  the said annuity must not be in any case less than 1/3rd of the last  pay drawn by the dismissed/removed official.

(v)          Withholding of NPS funds due to departmental / judicial proceedings pending at              the time of retirement.

Neither the Pension fund be withheld nor the entitled defined benefit pension. In other words, pension must be delinked from any disciplinary proceedings.

(vi)         Departmental proceedings after retirement for the alleged misconduct during service

It must not have any bearing on the Pension entitlements of an official who is subscriber to NPS

(vii)        Withholding of annuity on account of future misconduct

Does not deserve any comment

(viii)       Voluntary retirement of NPS employees

Voluntary retirement is presently afforded after 20 years of service. Therefore, the official will be entitled for full pension

(ix)         Commercial employment of  NPS employees after retirement.

Must not have any bearing on pension entitlement.

B.            Provision of GPF for the NPS employees

May be provided as a voluntary option to all officials.

Thanking You,

                 Yours faithfully,
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)