Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pension cases of ex-servicemen pile up in banks

Seema Sharma Tribune News Service Dehradun, March 14, 2011
Cases related to the pension and arrears of ex-servicemen continue to pile up in nationalised banks as the backlog has still not been cleared after it got blocked due to the fresh recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission in 2008.

Another reason doled out by bank personnel for the stuck-up matters is the highly complex and complicated detailing with regard to the positions of the officers and other ranks and other appendages that have to be taken into account to streamline the collective financial package to be given to them at the end of the month.

Representative of the Centralised Pension Processing Centre (CPPC) of the SBI said, “The problems of ex-servicemen’s pension cases crop up for two reasons. One was the sudden change in the entire pension and arrear packages due to the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission. The entire package of each one was reworked keeping the minutest details in view. The second was the convergence of all the cases regarding pension and arrears of Central Government employees and ex-servicemen of the whole country to the CPPC, Chandni Chowk. The system was bound to slow down”.

In view of the high number of ex-servicemen living in the state, a separate section was created in the SBI branch at Garhi Cantt that is manned by officer Manoj Sharma.

As per the figures provided by the District Soldier Board, Uttarakhand has 23,000 registered ex-servicemen, 2,998 widows, 123 war veterans, 104 widows of war veterans and 23 World War veterans.

“It took me a lot of time to really become conversant with the intricate tables of the pension and arrears of ex-servicemen. I have to keep track of the details other than their ranks and positions, such as of gallantary awards, war veterans, disability factor, widows, who are further categorised into war widows or World War widows, their age etc. Having mastered the trick now, I am able to deal with the complaints that I receive from ex-servicemen and at times solve them at my level only,” said Sharma.

He also asserted that a backlog was smoothly being cleared up with the system now finally falling into place.

However, Manager, Punjab National Bank, Sunita Diwan, who handles other banking transactions, along with salaries of the serving and pension cases of the ex-servicemen said, “Dealing with the salary or pension cases of defence personnel is quite intricate for someone who has nothing to do with these services. Therefore, for any query, if I contact the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pension), Allahabad, who is responsible for the release of any government order/corrigendum related to any change in salary/pensions of ex-servicemen, it is not responsive or accessible to the extent it should be”.

“The department does not give any contact numbers despite repeated requests, nor do they reply to the written queries before three to four months. If only they launch a helpline or give us their contact numbers, many queries can be sorted out within 5 minutes,” she added. Notably, the banks are paid just Rs 45 for each case to look after the cases of the ex-servicemen.
Pension cases of ex-servicemen pile up in banks
Comment: Slew of MOD instructions to speed up payment of entitled Pensions by Banks proves futile and negated. Pension delivery to the most deserving is scuttled due unintelligible/ undecipherable Pension Tables!

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