Monday, July 17, 2017

Launching of Super Top Med claim Insurance Policy designed by New India Assu. Co. Ltd For Bank Retirees

Circular issued by AIBRF on the above subject is reproduced below.
Quote
Ref:2017/78                                        Date: 15.07.2017
The office Bearers/ Central Committee Members/ State Body Chiefs

A.I.B.R.F

Dear Comrades,

Re: Launching of Super Top Med claim Insurance Policy designed by New India Assu. Co. Ltd For Bank Retirees


As all of you are aware, Indian Bank Association had introduced Group Med Claim Insurance Policy designed by United India Insurance Company for bank retirees with effect from 1st November, 2015. The policy is in operation in the second year and next renewal of this group policy is due after about 14 weeks, on 1st November, 2017
2. We find that in the scheme of IBA there is no provision for top up facility for the retirees which is common option given to the insured by the insurance companies nowadays to meet individual needs. AIBRF had approached IBA at the time of last renewal to consider providing option of Top facility to those retirees who need it and want to go for it. We also pointed out that premium will ultimately be borne by the retiree so IBA should not have any problem in this regard and it will be good insurance business for United India Insurance Company. However, our request in this regard was not  considered favourably. As all of you know, AIBRF/ Retiree representatives have not been involved at any stage in
designing or implementing it by IBA despite the fact that entire cost of premium running in to crores of rupees is borne by the retirees  from their pockets.
3. We have been receiving continuous several representations  from individual members/ affiliates  requesting AIBRF to take initiative in
launching super top up policy for bank retirees as group to take care of their future requirement to meet increasing cost of treatment due to inflation/introduction of new technology in
medical science and the fact that increased insurance cover will not be easily available to the retirees subsequently at the advancing age.
4. Considering the above genuine requirement of our membership for effective health management in coming days, AIBRF took steps to approach insurance companies to design top up scheme for bank retiree group which is suitable to them and in conformity to the terms and conditions of the basic policy of United India Insurance Co. Ltd. We gave the following mandate to the broking firm to consider them and invariably include them in the final product. (a) Term and Conditions of the Super Top policy should be 100 per
cent identical to the basic policy of United India Insurance
Company to make both policies as integrated product for the
retirees with seamless benefits. In other words, there should
not be any age bar to join it, all deceases/ illness give in the
basic policy should be included for claim, claim ratio under
various heads should be similar to the basic policy.
(b) There should not be any condition for medical test to join top up policy
(c) It should be floater family policy to include retiree and his/ her spouse and widows of deceased retirees.
(d) Premium should be affordable and reasonable.
5. We are now happy to inform you that after prolonged
discussions, exchange of information/ several documents, hard negotiations with several insurance companies, we have been now able to finalise the scheme of top up policy for bank retirees with New India Assurance Company Limited. Main features of the scheme are as under:
MAIN FEATURES OF TOP UP POLICY OF NEW INDIA ASSURANCE CO.
(a)New India Insurance Company is the public sector and largest insurance player in the country.
(b) Top up policy designed for bank retirees will have 100 per cent same terms and conditions and will be completely identical to the basic policy.
(c) All bank retirees who are currently members of group insurance policy of United India Insurance Co. will be eligible to purchase top up insurance policy with no age bar.
(d) There will be two slabs for sum insured on the lines of basic policy. It will be 3 lakhs for award staff retirees and 4 lakhs for officer staff retirees.
(e) Premium for top policy will be Rs. 2975 for 3 lakhs limit and Rs.3225 for 4 lakhs limit plus applicable taxes. In other words, premium will be less than 1 per cent of some insured for top policy.
(f) Policy will cover only hospitalisation charges with 30 days prehospitalisation and 90 days post hospitalisation expenses on the lines of basic policy. However domiciliary benefits will not be available under top up policy.
(g) The policy will become operative from 1st November,2017 to coincide with due date for next renewal for basic policy subject to getting minimum 10000 applications with premium payment before the date .
(h) Both the policies put together will give seamless cover of Rs.6/ 8 lakhs to the retiree and spouse at the reasonable premium of about 2.15 per cent of sum insured (about 4 per cent for basic policy and 0.98 for top up policy). It will be much cheaper compared to the United India Insurance Company policy given to the retirees of SBI.
(i) Insurance of Rs. 6/8 lakhs will take care of all future
eventualities in the area of health management for senior citizens at least for next 10 years if not more without any botheration.
(j) We enclose 3 annexures giving complete details/ background of the scheme for your information/ information of members.
6. We find that some of our affiliates have entered arrangements for top up policy for the members. On-going through terms and conditions of the policy we find that there are some restrictive clauses in it like co-pay clause, restrictions on sum assured for major surgeries etc. putting the retiree in some disadvantageous position in claim settlement. In this regard proposed policy of New India Insurance Co. is superior in settlement of claim amount.
7. We now request our affiliates/ office bearers/ central committee members/ other activists to take the following steps
(a) Make publicity of the scheme based on enclosed documents among the primary members
(b) Meetings can be held at local level to explain the scheme to the membership.
(c) All affiliates are requested to send their initial estimate on the likely membership under the scheme before 30th August,
2017.
(d) Give feedback about the scheme, if any.
8. We shall issue detailed circular about implementation of the scheme in coordination of the insurance company after some time.
With Regards,
Yours Sincerely,
( S.C.JAIN)
GENERAL SECRETARY 
Unquote

For more details click on the following links






Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Irregularities in maintenance of Employees Pension Fund in Punjab National Bank

 We reproduce below two letters on he above subject , addressed to CMD, Punjab National Bank and Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Govt of India , by Conveners CBPRO

 QUOTE :
Date: 04.07.2017
To
The Chairman & Managing Director
Punjab National Bank
New Delhi
Dear Sir,
Sub: Pension Fund
It has been brought to our notice that a sum of Rs. 2056 crores has been written back from Pension Fund and  Gratuity Fund to Bank’s Profit & Loss A/c reportedly on actuarial valuation but allegedly to shore up the bottom line. We are equally concerned about the bottom line of every bank not because the livelihood of most of our members depend on the well being of these banks but more because our past is inextricably linked to these banks and that the bondage is unbreakable. While every retiree will be too glad to place their services at the disposal of their respective banks they also expect the banks to respect the contract regarding terminal benefits. The PNB Employees Pension Regulations, 1995 speaking about pension fund, to ensure prompt payment of pension states in Regulation 11 as under:
Actuarial Investigation of the Fund- The Bank shall cause an investigation to be made by an Actuary into the financial condition of the Fund every financial year, on the 31st day of March, and make such additional annual contributions to the Fund as may be required to secure payment of the benefits under these regulations.
Provided that the Bank shall cause an investigation to be made by an Actuary into the financial condition of the Fund, as on the 31st day of March immediately following the financial year in which the Fund is constituted.”
From the above it is clear that the actuarial investigation is made only to identify shortfall if any so that the bank shall make good the same by providing adequate additional contributions. There is no provision to reverse the money already credited to the Pension Fund.
We have no reason to suspect the findings of the actuary or to believe the rumors that a doctored actuarial valuation was obtained at your instance to shore up the bottom-line artificially. If there has been truly a reversal of any amount from the Pension Fund, we find it hard to accept the same because Pension Fund is a Trust created to ensure payment of pension to pensioners. Pension Fund being a Trust Fund is expected to be managed in conformity with Pension Regulations which is a subordinate legislation. Bottom-line considerations though important and necessary cannot overlook a statute. The Bank could have thought of alternatives to bring out the true state of affairs without violating the Pension Regulations. The Pension Fund that was made a trust to guarantee the pension of senior citizens (retirees) cannot be made to lose its meaning however bonafide the motive has been. This one aberration has come as a rude shock to us and we feel this aberration should be avoided. We hope and trust you would understand our anxiety.
We request you to immediately initiate appropriate steps to set right the aberration and safe guard Pension Fund & Gratuity Fund and set at rest the anxiety caused to the retirees and all those employees and officers serving in your Bank who have opted for pension. Please treat the matter most urgent.
Thanking you,
With regards,
A.Ramesh Babu    K.V.Acharya
Joint Conveners
UNQUOTE

***********************************************************************

 Quote :
07.07.2017
Mrs. Anjuli C. Duggal,
Secretary,
Department of Financial Services,
Ministry of Finance,
Government of India,
New Delhi.
Respected Madam,

Irregularities in maintenance of Employees Pension Fund in Punjab National Bank

It has been brought to our notice that the management of Punjab National Bank has written back a sum of Rs  2026.60 from Pension and Gratuity Funds adopting a different accounting method within the accounting standards
for the first time ever so as to improve its operating profits as on 31.3.2017 in an artificial manner. This amount was consequently utilized to increase the provision for Non-Performing Assets by Rs 1920.85 crores and thereby
reduce the Net NPAs as on 31.3.2017. It appears that the management has done so after causing an investigation
by the actuary into the financial condition of the fund in terms of Regulation 11 of the Pension Regulations. The action of the management is ultra virus of the regulations in as much as the actuary's investigation is required to help the bank make additional annual contributions to the fund as may be required to secure the payment of benefits under the regulations (Regulation 11). It does not permit or even remotely provide for the write back of earlier contributions made to the Fund.
Regulation 13 provides for the payments out of funds viz." the payment of benefits by the Trust shall be administered for grant of pensionary benefits to the employees of the bank or the family pension to the families of the deceased employees of the bank". There is no regulation in the Pension Regulations which could be construed to authorise the Management or the Trust to Debit the fund on account of any other purpose including a write back of the earlier contributions made by the bank to the fund. In the absence of any express provision authorising such write back, the action of the management/trust would amount to misappropriation of the Employees Pension Fund. Such an action if not rectified/reversed immediately could entail legal/criminal liability for breach of trust and misappropriation of employees' pension and gratuity funds.
As you are aware, many Public Sector Banks have been under stress for the last 8-10 quarters. We apprehend that
there could be some other banks who have indulged in similar acts of impermissible nature and also not adequately contributed towards Pension Fund including their share of contribution towards Second Option which was amortised for over 5 years from 2010. We therefore request you to look into the matter and ascertain the facts from all the Public Sector Banks so as to initiate suitable corrective action in this regard. It is imperative to underscore that the managements of the banks cannot be allowed to use the Employees' Funds as a floating provision to be utilised whimsically to tide over their financial difficulties during the period of stress by writing
back the contributions made earlier to the employees' pension/gratuity funds.
We earnestly seek your kind intervention in the matter.
Thanking you,
Yours faith fully,
A RAMESH BABU    K V ACHARYA
Joint Convenors
unquote

Source : AIBPRC Website


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Meeting held with IBA on 5th June 2017, Common Charter of Demands petaining to Bank Pensioners

In the Meeting held with IBA on 5th June 2017, all the Workmen Unions and all the Officers Organisations submitted their Common Charter of Demands.

                                          From the management side IBA submitted the demands of the management.

OFFICERS COD pertaining to Bank Pensioners is furnished here under:

PART IV
SUPERANNUATION BENEFITS:
 The improvements made in the Pension scheme in the areas like updation and upgradation of the Pension, the rationalization of Dearness Allowance, Family Pension etc., needs to be implemented in the banking industry as our pension scheme amply speaks of being in the lines of central govt. pension scheme. The seventh Pay commission has analysed the issue as given below. Constitutional Provisions and Judicial Position Article 366(17) of the Constitution defines pension as: “Pension means a pension, whether contributory or not, of any kind whatsoever payable to or in respect of any person, and includes retired pay so payable, a gratuity so payable and any sum or sums so payable by way of the return, with or without interest thereon or any other addition thereto, of subscriptions to a Provident Fund.” Pension has been the subject matter of a number of landmark judgements by the Supreme Court of India in which its nature, obligations of the government thereon and the recognition of distinctiveness in categories of pensions and pensioners has been settled. In its judgment in D.S. Nakara and others Vs Union of India [AIR 1983 SC 130] the Supreme Court held that a pension scheme consistent with available resources must provide that a pensioner would be able to live free from want, with decency, independence and self respect and standard equivalent at pre-retirement level. It held that pension is not an ex-gratia payment but payment for past services rendered. At the same time in Indian Ex-Services League & Others Vs Union of India & Others [(1991) 2 SSC 104] the Supreme Court held that the decision in the Nakara case has to be read as one of a limited application and its ambit cannot be enlarged to cover all claims made by the pension retirees or a demand for an identical amount of pension to every retiree from the same rank irrespective of the date of retirement, even though the reckonable emoluments for computation of their pension be different. In the judgement in Vasant Gangaramsachandan Vs State of Maharashtra & Others [(1996) 10 SSC 148] Supreme Court reiterated that pension is not a bounty of the State. It is earned by the employee for service rendered to fall back upon after retirement. It is attached to the office and it cannot be arbitrarily denied. In the case of petitioners who were retired Railway employees, covered by or who opted for the Railway Contribution Fund Pension Scheme, the Supreme Court in Krishna Kumar Vs Union of India and Others [(1990) 4 SSC 207] averred that it was never held that both the pension retirees and PF retirees formed a homogenous class and that any further classification Report of the Seventh CPC 382 Index among them (viz., pension retirees and PF retirees) would be violative of Article 14. Under the Pension Scheme, the government's obligation does not begin until the employee retires but it begins on his/her retirement and then continues till the death of the employee. Thus, on the retirement of an employee, government's legal obligation under the PF account ends while under the Pension Scheme it begins. The rules governing the PF and its 49 contribution are entirely different from the rules governing pension. An imaginary definition of obligation to include all the government retirees in a class was not decided and could not form the basis for any classification for this case. th Analysis and Recommendations: The 7 Pay Commission sought the views of the government in this regard. The Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare stated that the VI CPC had recommended calculation of Pension Report of the Seventh CPC recommended pension @ 50 percent of last pay or the average emoluments (for last 10 months) whichever is more beneficial. The Commission also recommended delinking of pension from qualifying service of 33 years. Effectively the dispensation on pension has already been liberalised by the VI CPC. Further the recommendations of this Commission in relation to pay of both the civilian and defence forces personnel will lead to a significant increase in the pay drawn and therefore in the 'last pay drawn'/'reckonable emoluments.' Therefore the Commission does not recommend any further increase in the rate of pension and family pension from the existing levels. Quantum of Minimum Pension should Equal the Minimum Wage. In representations/depositions before the Commission it has been stated that the existing minimum pension fixed at Rs.3,500 is low and it has been argued that minimum pension be fixed equal to minimum pay for sustenance. The Commission sought the views of the government in this regard. The Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare stated that as per the orders issued after V CPC, the minimum pension in the government was Rs. 1,275. The normal revised consolidated pension of a pre-2006 pensioner is 2.26 of the prerevised basic pension. The revised minimum pension of Rs. 3,500 is much more than 2.26 time of the pre-revised pension of Rs. 1,275. Further the recommendations of this Commission in relation to pay of personnel will lead to a significant increase in the minimum pay from the existing Rs.7,000 per month to Rs.18,000 per month. This, based on the computation of pension, will raise minimum pension from the existing Rs.3,500 to Rs.9,000. The minimum pension based on the recommendations of this Commission will increase by 2.57 times over the existing level. In Civil APPEAL 1123 OF 2015 THE HONOURABLE Supreme Court has clearly stated that pension is not a bounty, it should be 50% of the pay and there can be no question of capacity to pay. Hence we demand revision in pension, family pension and the principle of one rank one pension. Please note that today many officers salary is less than the pension of their parents who are Central Govt Pensioners.

 GENERAL: The voluntary retirement provided in the Officers Service Rules should be incorporated in the Pension rules and they should also be made eligible for Pension without any discrimination. Pension scheme should be extended to all those who have been denied earlier on the basis of the misinterpretation of the understandings reached with IBA in 50 particular those who retired under voluntary retirement scheme as per the service regulations / resigned after completing 20 years. (Full Pension Eligibility Period to be made 20 years.:: The full pension eligibility period in Central Government and RBI / NABARD are now revised to 20 years. However in Banks , full pension eligibility period continues to be 33 years. Hence the relevant clauses in Pension Regulations to be amended to make full pension eligibility period to be 20 years.) Pension should be revised for retirees in all Banks including SBI alongwith wage revision as done for retirees from central government. The officers who joined the bank between 01.11.1993 and 26.01.1996 have to be covered under the pension regulations. Provision of additional service as per the Pension Regulations to the extent of 5 years should be extended to each and every retirees in the banking industry. Those having relaxation of age at the time of recruitment on account of disability etc., also to be extended additional period of 5 years to his / her service qualifying for pension. Also, for Ex-servicemen their past services rendered in the Armed Force should be added to his / her service for qualifying for pension. (Counting of Military Service Period of Short Service Commissioned Officer joining the Bank : Short Service Commissioned Officer are not drawing any pension for their services rendered in Military. They are paid gratuity at the time of release from Military. Such Officers when they join Central Government and Organisations like RBI/ NABARD are given the option to remit the gratuity received by them to the Employer Bank / Organisation at the time of joining so that the period of service rendered in Military is counted towards eligibility of pension in Bank. However this provision is not available to Short Service Commissioned Officers joining Public Sector Banks. Hence we demand that Short Service Commissioned Officers joining PSB may be allowed to remit the gratuity received by them at the time of release from Military so that their period of service in Military is counted towards eligibility period for pension in PSBS. For existing Short Service Commissioned Officers who are already in the service of the PSBs, may be given a one time option to return the gratuity received at the time of release with simple interest @ 6 % from the date of receipt of gratuity till date payment to the Bank for availing inclusion of Military Service Period toward pension eligibility.)

FAMILY PENSION: The Family Pension should be on par with the Government and be at 30% of last drawn pay by the officer across the board to every one. The regular family pension will be payable till death. Up to the age of 67 years or 10 years after death full pension.

 51 NEW PENSION SCHEME The employees and officers who joined the banking industry on or after th 01.04.2010 should be governed by the original pension settlement signed on 29 October 1993 and Gazetted in the year 1995. The seventh pay commission has recommended as below. Pension has been one of the key Terms of Reference (TORs) for successive Pay Commissions. While the VI CPC was the first Pay Commission to have been constituted after the introduction of the National Pension System (NPS) which came into effect on 01.01.2004, the VII CPC is the first one to be constituted after some experience has been gained on this count. Pension Related TOR of the Commission. The TOR of the present Commission - to examine the principles which should govern the structure of pension and other retirement benefits, keeping in view that retirement benefits of all Central Government employees appointed on and after 01.01.2004 are covered by the National Pension System (NPS)–limits the mandate of this Commission only to the Old Pension System (OPS). However, during its interaction with staff associations and other stakeholders, the Commission received many grievances/suggestions relating to both the OPS and the NPS. It has also been averred, inter alia, that NPS is proving to be an impediment in attracting and subsequently retaining the best talent for the Central Civil Services/All India Services (AIS). In this backdrop, the Commission decided to address the grievances related to NPS, which have been discussed in this chapter. Issues relating to OPS and other retirement benefits have been dealt in Chapter 10.1 and Chapter

10.2. NPS Background - The Commission notes that the NPS is the culmination of a series of social security and pension related reform initiatives in India. As in many other countries, pension reforms in India were driven by the fiscal constraints of supporting a public pension system and the longer-term problems of an ageing population. Government of India, in 1998, set up the Committee for Old Age Social and Income Security (OASIS). The OASIS committee concluded, among other things, that the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), serving the Central Government retirees, is unaffordable for government and it should be replaced by a Defined Contribution Scheme (DCS). The Commission notes that the total pension liability on account of Central Government employees had risen from 0.6 percent of GDP (at constant prices) in 1993-94 to 1.66 percent of GDP (at constant prices) in 2002-03. Pension expenditure of the Central Government grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent during the period 1990 to 2001. This was also reflected in the increasing fiscal deficits. Further, in the DBS, pensions were wage indexed, and thus the outgo on this account would have increased manifold. The stressed fiscal situation, thus, set the stage for introduction of the NPS in India. The Bhattacharya Committee Report of the Seventh CPC 422 Index Report (HLE Group on NPS) (Feb 2002) recommended that an unfunded Defined Benefit (DB), Pay As You Go (PAYG) scheme or a pure Defined Contribution (DC) scheme would not be suitable and therefore recommended a hybrid DB/DC scheme to meet the requirements of central civil servants. 52 International Experience on Pension Reforms Pension reforms, in recent times, have been initiated in many countries across the world. The Commission notes that an aging population, changing social structures, uncertain and inadequate social security benefits and rising fiscal liabilities have been the major causes behind pension reforms, especially for a transition from DBS to DCS. Introduction of NPS On the basis of various reports, the Central Government made the decision to place all new recruits into Central Government from 01.01.2004 onwards (excluding Defence Forces) under NPS. NPS is managed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which was initially set up as an interim authority. The PFRDA Act was passed by Parliament and notified w.e.f. 01.02.2014, bestowing statutory status on the authority. Under the NPS, employees contribute 10 percent of their monthly salary (basic plus DA) towards their pension with matching contribution from Central Government. In respect of the AIS officers working under them, the matching contribution is made by the State Governments. Three professional Pension Fund Managers invest the funds under NPS following an asset allocation framework mandated by government. The Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) maintains a separate pension account for each individual employee identified by a unique Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN). Individual employees have been given online access through the CRA website to view the status of their pension wealth. Under the NPS, upon superannuation, the individual is required to invest at least 40 percent of pension wealth for purchase of annuity and the remaining up to 60 percent is paid to him as lump sum. The annuity provides for pension for the lifetime of the employee. Individual subscribers to the NPS are not covered under the General Provident Fund. Regulations issued by the PFRDA now provide for partial withdrawals up to 25 percent of the contribution made by the subscriber to his individual account after at least ten years from the date of joining, up to a maximum of three times during the tenure of the subscription for certain specified purposes, before superannuation. The regulations issued by PFRDA also provide that if the employee dies in service, then at least 80 percent of the accumulated pension wealth shall be mandatorily utilized for purchase of annuity and the balance amount would be paid to the nominee(s)/legal heirs. Report of the Seventh CPC 423 Index Performance of the NPS Over 13 lakh Central Government subscribers have accumulated pension wealth of over Rs.24,000 crore by the end of 2013-14. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of returns on the scheme are tabulated below:- (in percent) Year 2008- 09 2009- 10 2010- 11 2011- 12 2012- 13 2013- 14 2014- 15 CAGR (Central Govt.) The Commission further notes that all State Governments (with the exception of Tripura and West Bengal) have switched to NPS on the Central Government pattern. Grievances against the NPS- The NPS has now been in effect for over 10 years. During this period, there has been perceptible progress in putting together the architecture and providing information to subscribers. Major concerns, however, remain. Broadly, these are as under: i. The larger federations and staff 53 associations advocated scrapping the NPS on the ground that it discriminates between two sets of government employees. ii. Individuals covered under NPS have pleaded for reverting to the OPS on the grounds of uncertainty regarding the actual value of their future pension in the face of market related risks. iii. Individuals have pointed out that under NPS, the effective salary becomes less since the employee has to mandatorily contribute 10 percent of pay towards the pension fund. iv. Individuals have stated that grievance redressal facility is not effective and consultation with stakeholders has been non-existent. This communication gap has generated insecurity in the minds of stakeholders including staff and Group 'A' officers of Central Government as well as All India Service Officers. v. Associations have complained that Family Pension after the death of the employee is not ensured in the NPS. Moreover, if an employee dies at an early age, the family would suffer since annuity from the contribution would be grossly inadequate. vi. Individuals have complained that NPS subscribers have no recourse to GPF for their savings. Their personal savings (10% of salary) are considered part of a larger corpus. It has been pointed out that the right approach would be to consider only government's contribution and the returns earned on it as the effective amount available for purchase of annuities. vii. Associations have pointed out that unlike the facility under GPF, it is not possible to take refundable advances under NPS, even to meet obligatory social expenditure. This forces employees towards increased indebtedness as they have to borrow from elsewhere. viii. Grievances also relate to tax treatment under NPS. While contributions and accumulations in NPS are exempt, lump sum withdrawals from NPS at any time are taxable at par with any other income. In addition, there is a service tax liability on any amount utilised for purchase of annuity. It has been pointed out that though NPS became effective from 2004, detailed instructions were issued only in late 2009 and in many cases the credit of contributions began from 2012. In the case of AIS officers in some States, contributions by the concerned State Government are yet to be fully made and deployed. The net result of this has been that contributions for the period 2004-2012 have not been made in full or have earned simple interest and did not get any market linked returns. Because of the prevailing confusion, contributions made by some AIS officer have been returned to them without interest. This will have a huge impact on the eventual corpus as the benefits of compounding were not available for the first 8 -9 years. x. Individuals, in their presentation before the Commission, stated that annuities under NPS have no compensation for inflation unlike dearness relief under OPS. Further, in the case of OPS there is a revision in basic pension itself after every Pay Commission. This too is not available in respect of annuity of NPS subscribers. xi. It has been pointed out that government employees are not given freedom of choice in choosing their fund manager based on performance and track record as the contributions are divided in a pre-specified ratio among selected Pension Fund Managers. It has been stated that government employees have no say in asset allocation of their money. xii. Concerns were raised that the contribution of 10% + 10% will not be sufficient to create a corpus which provides reasonable assurance that pension will be 50 percent of the last pay drawn. 54 Analysis of the Issues by the Commission - The Commission has examined these concerns raised by the stakeholders. The Commission also interacted with Chairman, PFRDA, and representatives of the Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare (DPPW), Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Department of Expenditure (DoE) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS). In so far as the future value of pension under NPS is concerned, the Commission notes that this would depend upon a combination of factors: (i) performance of the invested fund, which in turn would depend on the asset mix of the investment and general economic situation of the country, (ii) cost of financial intermediation, (iii) contribution rates, (iv) period of contribution, (v) performance of the fund manager and (vi) development of the annuity market. Analysis of the Asset Mix of Investments - On asset mix of the investment, the pension funds, the world over, are invested in different assets including government and corporate bonds, equities, foreign securities etc. government bonds are generally the lowest risk and lowest yield. Corporate bonds and equities are higher risk and higher yield. Typically, systems use a mix of at least two types of assets– Government Bonds and Corporate Bonds/Equities. As per the investment guidelines stipulated by the government for Central Government employees under NPS, up to 55 percent can be invested in government bonds, up to 40 percent in corporate debt securities, up to 15 percent in equities and up to 5 percent in money market instruments. International experiences on asset mix vary across countries which have adopted the DCS. The Commission notes that an innovative approach to investment under the DCS is the Life Cycle Approach. Under this, the asset mix of each individual changes based on his/her age. The underlying assumption under this approach is that younger workers are better able to absorb year on year volatility and therefore can undertake risk while older workers should reduce risk as they approach retirement. A carefully selected asset mix is the sine qua non to higher returns. The Commission recommends that the investment choices under NPS be calibrated on a life cycle approach and the choices be offered in a simple manner so that any lay person can understand and act accordingly. The Commission also recommends that government, in consultation with PFRDA, come up with different options for investment mix and provide subscribers a range of options. Contribution Rates - In DCS, typically, the employees as well as the employers contribute towards a pension fund. As discussed earlier, the quantum of pension payouts would also depend upon the contribution rates. Higher the contribution rate, better would be the pension payouts. The contribution rates for both the employees and the employers vary across the globe. The Commission has received suggestions that the government's contribution should be enhanced from the present 10 percent in aid of a higher payout under the NPS. Associations and individuals have made presentations before the Commission highlighting that forecasts suggest that a 10 percent contribution from government will not be adequate to provide reasonable post retirement financial security in all cases. The 55 Commission, therefore, recommends that this important aspect should be reexamined in detail by an expert body for making course corrections if required. Period of Contribution - The Commission notes that time is of the essence in building up a reasonable corpus and ensuring that effects of compounding are significant. It is therefore essential that contributions by individuals and corresponding contributions by government are made in time, and more importantly, are deployed without any loss of time. Any delays in this respect, particularly in the initial years can have a large impact on the eventual corpus. 2004-2011 Entrants 10.3.20 Government employees who have joined service between 2004 and 2011 have suffered due to delay in finalizing the structure of the NPS and the issue of detailed instructions. Although they have made regular contributions, in many cases, this money and/or counterpart contributions were not deployed in the market. In the case of AIS officers, some states are yet to release counterpart contributions or pay interest on delayed contributions. This has led to a situation where the accumulated corpus even after 11 years of service could be meagre. It is necessary that this situation which arose during the transition from OPS to NPS be addressed. The Commission therefore recommends that Central Governments and State Governments should, in a time bound manner, ensure that all the due contribution along with compounded interest, where contributions have been delayed, be deposited in the accounts of the beneficiaries. Advisories should be issued to the State Governments to deposit amounts, if not already done, in respect of NPS beneficiaries belonging to All India Services. Many Association have pointed out that unlike the facility under GPF, it is not possible to make withdrawals under NPS, even to meet obligatory social expenditure. This forces employees towards increased indebtedness as they have to borrow from elsewhere. The Commission notes that under the NPS Tier-I account, a subscriber is permitted to make partial withdrawal of twenty five percent of the contributions made to his/her individual pension account for certain specified purposes. Such withdrawals are permitted a maximum of three times during the entire tenure of subscription and a period of at least five years should have elapsed between two such withdrawals. The Commission further notes that there exists a voluntary Tier-II account. Under this account, a subscriber can, at any time, withdraw the accumulated wealth either in full or part and there is no limit on such withdrawals provided the account has sufficient balance of accumulated pension wealth to cover the amount being withdrawn. However, the Tier-II account is yet to be made operational. The Commission therefore recommends that PFRDA should take steps to make the Tier-II accounts operational as early as possible to enable the NPS subscribers the facility of withdrawals from their accounts in case of requirement. 56 Transparency under NPS- Many associations and individuals have complained that the information relating to the NPS is inadequate, resulting in high degree of uncertainty in the minds of contributors about post-retirement benefits. The Commission noted that PFRDA sends a communication to every participant each month with the current pension wealth and the latest contribution that has been credited. The Commission recommends that focused efforts be made to capture email addresses and mobile numbers of subscribers so that seamless communication is ensured for all subscribers. The Commission recommends that consultation with stakeholders should also be held periodically in different parts of the country. The Commission notes that no department of Government of India is taking ownership of the NPS. The Commission recommends that a Committee consisting of Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Secretary, Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare and Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances may be constituted to review the progress of implementation of NPS. The Commission also recommends that steps should be taken for establishment of an Ombudsman for redressing individual grievances relating to NPS. Tax Treatment under the NPS - NPS is under the Exempt–Exempt - Tax (EET) regime while the General Provident Fund under the OPS is under Exempt–Exempt–Exempt (EEE) dispensation. Under the NPS, while the contributions and the accumulations are tax-exempt, withdrawals are taxable. As such, this is an inferior tax treatment when compared to other pension programmes such as General Provident Fund, Contributory Provident Fund, Employees Provident Fund and Public Provident Fund wherein contributions, accumulations and withdrawals are tax-exempt. The Commission feels that tax neutrality should be ensured across various avenues for long term savings for post retirement incomes so that the employees covered by NPS are not at a disadvantage. The Commission therefore recommends that withdrawals under the NPS should be tax-exempt to place NPS at par with other pension schemes. The Commission also recommends that the service tax levied at the time of annuity purchase by NPS subscribers should be exempted. Issue of Family Pension In Case Of Death of the Subscriber Another complaint received by the Commission from staff associations and individuals is that Family Pension after the death of the employee is not ensured in the NPS. The Commission notes that the government had provisionally extended benefits under the Central Civil Service (Extraordinary Pension) Rules, Family Pension/Extraordinary Family Pension/Liberalised Pensionary Award to government servants appointed on or after 01.01.2004. Rules regulating these benefits have now been notified by the PFRDA. PFRDA regulations provide for an exit option from NPS in case of premature death of the subscriber by availing of additional relief from government, in which case the entire accumulated pension wealth inclusive of subscriber's contribution would be transferred to government. The Commission recommends notification of a scheme by government for provision of additional relief in such cases consequent to exit from NPS. 57 Framing of Rules and Regulations - The Commission notes that rules and regulating relating to NPS are being framed and notified by PFRDA from time to time. Associations and individual officers have raised the issue of the need for greater involvement of stakeholders in finalizing these regulations The Commission recommends that government encourage the PFRDA to set up a strong consultative mechanism involving the DPPW, DoPT, DFS and some associations of employees for a review of regulations and for finalizing future regulations to bring clarity and remove uncertainty relating to NPS. The Commission also recommends that draft regulations should be widely publicized to enable subscribers to respond to any proposed changes, as normally done by other regulatory authorities. So there is a need to go back to the old scheme or convert NPS into an assured pension scheme. If the pension contribution is Rs1000 per month for 20 years the accumulated interest and Principal at 12% will be Rs1000000 and the Bank will be able to pay Rs10000 per month as Pension at 12% Interest. In fact banks had a Perenial Pension Plan in which this was provided. When most of the loan schemes fetch more than 12% this is very much feasible. Each Bank can maintain the fund themselves and lend it for loans with Interest rate of 12% or above and will be able to pay an assured pension. Instead of allowing the funds to be invested in markets, Banks should be allowed to manage them and the Banks should pay 50% of the last drawn pay as pension. This is very much feasible.

 GRATUITY: The Gratuity should be paid at the rate of one month salary and allowances without any ceiling. The gratuity should be completely exempt from payment of income tax. The calculation of gratuity should be changed as we move over to 5 day week. There is an anomaly between SBI and other Banks. Even within SBI Group, the associate Banks are covered under the service gratuity whereas SBI is covered under Act gratuity. We demand that all officers and employees be covered under the service Gratuity.

 PROVIDENT FUND: Based on the principles of retirement benefits which allot Provident Fund, Gratuity and Pension for different purposes, the Provident Fund should be at the rate of 12% of the total salary and allowances. The Provident Fund should be payable to all employees. ENCASHMENT OF LEAVE: Encashment of entire leave at credit should also be permitted on resignation, removal and compulsory retirement. Now, half permitted on resignation & full on compulsory retirement. The existing ceiling on encashment of leave should be removed at the time of resignation / superannuation as directed by the Court judgement. The entire 58 amount should be exempted from income tax as in the case of the Central Government Employees. Encashment of PL should be allowed without any ceiling.

 MEDICAL BENEFIT SCHEME: A comprehensive Medical Scheme for pensioners/ retirees should be framed and introduced in all the banks as available now in the case of executive directors and CMDs of the Banks, and the medical insurance scheme is to be reversed.

WELFARE ACTIVITIES: A separate allocation of funds for improvements to welfare of the pensioners should be made every year. The facilities like Holiday Home, clinics, Transit House etc., should be made eligible for pensioners also. Present ceiling of 3 % of net profit to be given to welfare activities should be raised to 5 % of operating profit to be given to welfare activities. Suitable life cover should be taken for normal as well as accidental death of employees.

LFC/ HTC FACILITY: LFC / HTC Facility should be extended to the retirees also at par with serving employees or at least once in 5 years.

NEWS PAPER: News paper and fitness allowance can be provided to the pensioners. 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

AIBRF Joining 100 Per Cent Dearness Allowance Case In the Supreme Court


We reproduce below circular issued by AIBRF on above subject.
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Ref:2017/64                                            Date: 16.05.2017

The office Bearers/ Central Committee Members/ State
Body Chiefs   A.I.B.R.F

Dear Comrades,

Re: AIBRF Joining 100 Per Cent Dearness  Allowance Case In the Supreme Court.

As you are aware, Kolkata High Court some time back have passed order in favour of the retirees to grant 100 per cent DA to the pensioners who retired before November 2002 as per RBI formula as provided in clause no 6 of 1993 Bipartite Settlement signed between Unions & IBA. This Judgement was given by the single bench and confirmed by the Division Bench of Kolkata High Court.

2. Instead of implementing the Court order by United Bank of India Management / IBA to settle this matter pending for last more than 12 years, the bank management/ IBA decided to file SLP in the Supreme Court dragging the retirees for further legal battle.
 
 3. AIBRF have approached several times IBA/ Unions in last two years and earlier to settle the issues through negotiation as per the commitment given in Record Note dated 25.05.2015. After disposal of SLP of retirees from Tamilnadu in February, 2017 and order of Kolkata in favour of retirees in the matter, we expected that IBA and Unions would take steps to settle the matter through discussion as per their own commitment. AIBRF had written letters to IBA for discussion for implementing Kolkata High Court judgement. But unfortunately, IBA has decided for legal fight and is not ready to keep its own commitment given in the Record Note. Unions are also maintaining silence without any initiative on their part to share their strategy for solution of the issue which can provide some comfort to the retirees.

4. In view of the above, as per the decision taken at Indore Office Bearers Meeting , AIBRF has since moved application in the Supreme Court to become party in this case to express our solidarity and support to the comrades of United Bank Retired Employees Welfare Association and to protect interest of large number of membership from AIBRF/ bank retiree fraternity effectively.

5.AIBRF has engaged two senior counsel who have expertise in service matters/constitution to argue the case on behalf of AIBRF and UBIRWA and other individual retirees in coordinated manner.
 
 6. Next date of the hearing fixed in this matter is 7th July, 2017. We shall inform developments in the case in Supreme Court after hearing on this date.

With Warm Greetings,

Yours Sincerely,
( S.C.JAIN)
GENERAL SECRETARY
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

SLP filed by United Bank of India Management against decision of Kolkata High Court decision In the matter of 100 per cent DA Hearing on 31.03.2017

We reproduce below the circular issued by AIBRF on the above subject.
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Ref:2017/47                                   Date: 31.03.2017

The Office Bearers/ Central Committee Members/ State Body Chiefs
A.I.B.R.F

Dear Comrades,
Re  SLP filed by United Bank of India Management against decision of Kolkata High Court decision In the matter of 100 per cent DA Hearing on 31.03.2017 

The above SLP came up for hearing in the Supreme Court today to decide on its admission.

2. Considering the importance of issue involved in it affecting large number of retirees, it is decided that AIBRF would take all steps to handle in Supreme Court in consultation with the United Bank of India Retired employees Welfare Association who are the original petitioner in this case. Accordingly AIBRF has engaged Senior Counsel to argue the case in today’s hearing.

3. In today’s proceedings , after hearing both the parties, the bench has decided to hear other parties of SLP namely IBA, Government of India before taking decision on its admission for regular hearing.

4. AIBRF shall take necessary steps to effectively and forcefully place all relevant facts before the court on the next date of hearing and will obtain legal opinion from some more senior advocates expert in service matters for this purpose. AIBRF will also consider joining the SLP if needed as per the legal opinion.

5. Next date of hearing is yet to announced by the court. All affiliates are requested to circulate only this communication of AIBRF in this matter.

With Greetings,

Yours Sincerely,

( S.C.JAIN)

GENERAL SECRETARY
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Source: AIBRF Website