ANOMALY IN PENSION – DOT FINALLY ISSUED ORDERS.
Department of Telecommunications has issued the orders on 7th October,2021 settling the long pending anomaly in pension to those retired within ten months of formation of BSNL.
1st pay revision was implemented with effect from 01-10-2000, the date on which BSNL formed. There was a significant and advantageous change in the pay scales. IDA pay scales, comparetavily, higher than CDA pay scales were granted with quarterly dearness allowance to BSNL absorbed employees.This was achieved after marathon discussions with the government and the crucial role was taken by the progressive section of the Telecom Unions under the leadership of Com. V A N Namboodiri defeating the reformist proposals of Com.O.P.Gupta. OPG had argued for lesser pay scales and pension in CDA pay scales. The IDA pay, point to point fixation and Pension on IDA pay benefitted the BSNL absorbed employees much.
However, as in the cases of other pay revisions, anomaly was occurred. Pension was being given during the pre 2006 period on the basis of the average of the last ten month’s pay. Hence, those who retired between October,2000 to June 2001 were drawing less pension as they had not drawn IDA pay for ten months.
BSNL Employees Union took up the issue seriously with the BSNL management and Department of Telecommunications and put forward constructive and practical proposals for the settlement of the anomaly.
The anomaly occurred of similar nature after implementation of 5th Pay Commission recommendations was settled by giving revised pay notionally for the months of prerevised pay.
The issue was prominently included in the Charter of Demands of BSNL Employees Union and several agitations including strikes were conducted. After All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association was formed on 21-10-2009, the Charter of Demands adopted by the formation Conference, this demand of anomaly was included. AIBDPA held serious discussion with the Minister of Communications and the concerned authorities. AIBDPA did not hesitate to launch agitations including Sanchar Bhavan March for the settlement.
But we have to understand the fundamental fact that we are dealing with a capitalist government with the class charector being pro- capitalist and anti- worker and the bureaucracy playing an active role to deny or delay even the legitimate rights of the workers and pensioners.
The 5th pay commission recommendations were implemented with effect from 01-01-1996. But the anomaly was settled after about four years. So also our Pension Revision due from 01-01-2007 could be settled only in 2011.
Seeking legal remedy should be the last resort for the following reasons;
(1) It is time consuming and nobody can predict the time limit.
(2) The Court case involves huge expenditure.
(3) Approaching the court is a double edged sword. The verdict may be favourable or against also.
(4) When somebody approaches the court, it gives the government and bureaucracy an opportunity to shunt the demand to the freezer pleading subjudice.
That is what exactly happened. The DoT had issued an order in 2011, granting 50% of the minimum of the revised pay scale as pension to the affected retirees after the original proposal was rejected by Department of Expenditure. AIBDPA strongly protested against this unilateral order and wrote to the Minister and pursued vigorously. However, DoT refused to discuss the issue after a court case was filed by one of the Pensioners Organisations.
Though the DoT issued the orders based on Honourable Supreme Court’s Order, the huge delay of 21 years is a big question mark.
Now our Circle Secretaries and District Secretaries have to see that the order is implemented at the earliest so that the benefit is paid to the affected Pensioners. If the Pensioner has expired, care should be taken to ensure payment of the benefit to the respective nominee/ legal heirs.