Monday, February 20, 2017
SIGNIFICANCE OF CONFEDERATION’S ONE DAY STRIKE ON 16-03-2017
WHY NJCA SHOULD REVIVE THE DEFERRED INDEFINITE STRIKE ?
15-02-2017........... (contd. from 17-02-17)
1.GOVT. MADE IT CLEAR THAT WITHDRAWL OF NPS IS NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF NPS COMMITTEE. YOUNGER GENERATION EMPLOYEES CHEATED:
Withdrawal of NPS or exemption from NPS was one of the most important demand of the NJCA in the 11th July 2016 deferred indefinite strike. In the statement issued by NJCA on 06-07-2016 after deferring the indefinite strike, it stated as follows:
“The NJCA particularly notes that the Government has set up a separate committee for reviewing the New Pension Scheme, which has been a matter of concern to all employees and workers who are recruited to Government service on or after 01-01-2004”.
It is true that Government has constituted an NPS Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Pension). This created a lot of hope among the younger generation employees as they have been made to believe that the committee will consider the demand of NJCA to scrap the NPS or at least exempt Central Government employees from NPS. But to the dismay of all, in the agenda notified by NPS Committee for discussion with staff side (JCM) on 10-02-2017, the main issues such as (1) Scrapping of NPS (2) Guaranteed minimum pension to NPS subscribers ie; 50% of the last pay drawn should be guaranteed by Government as minimum pension, even if the returns from the annuity insurance scheme is less than 50% and (3) exemption of Central Government employees from the purview of NPS, are not included as agenda for discussion in the meeting. During the discussion with staff side on 10-02-2017, Additional Secretary (Pension) informed the following:
(1) Withdrawal of NPS is not within the purview of NPS Committee.
(2) There are three sub committees constituted on NPS (i) Committee chaired by Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services to look into investment, benefit and taxation, (ii) Committee chaired by Joint Secretary (Expenditure), Finance Ministry, with regard to finalising the accounting, implementation procedure and grievance redressal. (iii) Committee chaired by Additional Secretary (Pension) to formulate Rules and Regulations with regard to various benefits from NPS.
Thus it is made clear without any ambiguity that NPS Committee is constituted by the Government for further strengthening NPS and not for scrapping NPS or exempting from NPS as demanded by NJCA. Everybody knows that whether it is pay commission or NPS Committee, it cannot and will not make recommedations on any issue which are not included in the terms of reference of the Commission/Committee, specifically by the Government. Submitting memorandum to the NPS committee demanding scrapping ofNPS or exemption from NPS may not serve any purpose, unless Government give clear mandate to the Committee to examine such a demand also. Thus, NDA Government has rejected the demand of NJCA either to scrap NPS or exempt from NPS. This is the real fact and there need not be any confusion in the mind of the employees. In order to compel the Government to accept the demand, there is no short-cut, other than reviving the indefinite strike.
Railway Federations demand also rejected:
Railway Federations have demanded exemption of Railway employees from the purview of NPS. Railway Ministers of UPA and NDA Government had forwarded the demand to the Government with their recommendations stating that Railways is second line of defence and as Military Personnel are already exempted from NPS, Railway employees should also be exempted from NPS. Earlier in a letter dated 15th May 2015 addressed to Railway Board, the Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services has informed as follows:-
“It may kindly be noted that, earlier a proposal to exempt paramilitary forces (ie. CRPF, BSF etc.) from the ambit of NPS was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) and was finally not approved by the Government............
You will agree that moving away from the earlier defined benefit based pension system was a concious decision of the Government taken in view of the unsustainable pension liability of the Central Government....... In view of the above, request of the recognised Federations (AIRF & NFIR) for seeking exemption of the Railway Servants appointed on or after 01-01-2004 from the application of the NPS does not seem to be a feasible proposition.”
From the above reply, it is clear that Government is not going to exempt Railway employees or other Central Government employees from the purview of NPS, unless NJCA revive the indefinite strike and compell the Government to negotiate and settle the demand.
2. OPTION - I FOR PRE-2016 PENSIONERS REJECTED:
In the meeting held on 30-06-2016, with Group of Ministers by JCM staff side, the Finance Minister had also clarified that Government has taken the decision to implement the recommendation of 7th CPC to bring about parity between past and present pensioners. (Vide NJCA Statement issued on 06-07-2016). Finance Minister categorically assured the NJCA leaders on 30-06-2016 that the Government has accepted the recommendation in toto and Pension department has only been asked to sort out the difficulties in implementation of Option-I, if any.
NJCA wrote to Finance Minister on 16-07-2016, as follows:
“The issue of acceptance of Option-I and II was discussed with your goodself at the residence of Hon’ble Home Minister (Govt. of India) wherein Hon’ble Minister for Railways and Hon’ble MoS Railways were present. You had categorically agreed our demand that no dilution would be made in the options given to the Pensioners by the 7th CPC. It is unfortunate that a rider “subject to feasibility” has been imposed on Option-I. Sir, this is very unfair and we will appreciate, if you kindly get the sentence “subject to feasibility” removed from that order, to keep your promise also”.
But, Finance Minister had gone back from his assurance to JCM Staff side leaders and he refused to withdraw the condition “subject to feasibility”. In the letter dated 17-10-2016, addressed to Chairman of the “Pension Option-I Committee”, the
Secretary, JCM staff side requested as follows:
“The attempt therefore must be to explore the ways and means of implementing the said recommendation which is beneficial to a large number of pensioners, especially those retired prior to 1996. In view of this, the staff side is of the firm view that the Government issue orders for implementation of Option-I as there is no room for stating that the recommendation is impossible to be implemented for those who are benefitted by the said option”.
Finally NJCA wrote a letter to Hon’ble Home Minister Shri. Rajnath Singh on 17-01-2017, requesting intervention. The letter reads as follows:
“The Central Government Pensioners numbering presently more than the working employees are aggrieved of the fact that the one and the only recommendation of the 7th CPC which was in their favour ie; Option-I have been recommended to be rejected by the Pension Department to the Government”.
Inspite of all these, the proposal is submitted to cabinet to reject Option-I. This underlines the fact that unless NJCA revive its deferred indefinite strike, the Government will not allow Option-I to pensioners, as assured by Finance Minister.