Sunday, July 26, 2020

Letter by BANK EMPLOYEES FEDERATION OF INDIA to IBA Chief Executive regarding Improvement of Family Pension and Updation/Revision of Pension

 Cirular by BEFI is reproduced below

Circular  No.45/2020

  Dear  Comrade,

 25th  July  2020

 Improvement  of  Family  Pension  and  Updation/Revision  of  Pension

We  have  written  a  letter  to  the  IBA  Chief  Executive  today  on  the  captioned subject. 

 Text  of  the  letter  is  appended  below  which  is  self  explanatory. With  greetings,
Yours  comradely, .
  (Debasish  Basu  Chaudhury) General  Secretary


A  Minute  has  been  signed  on  22nd  July  2020  between  IBA  representing Management  of  banks  which  are  parties  to  the  11th  Bipartite  Settlement  and Workmen  Unions  and  Officers'  Associations  on  wage  revision.    We  like  to  draw your  attention  on  the  following  issues.

Improvement  of  family  pension

We  came  across  a  Tweet  posted  on  behalf  of  Chief  Executive,  IBA  on  22.07.2020 (assuming  that  the  referred  Twitter  handle  is  not  a  fake  one)  where  it  was written  inter  alia,  “Today  IBA  &  UFBU  have  signed  an  MoU  for  15% increase  in  pay  slip  component  of  Bank  Employees,  in  Principal agreement  to  remove  cap  &  offer  30%  of  Basic  Pay  as  family Pension,….”.  (Emphasis  made  by  us)
 We  may  recall  that  on  22nd  July  2020,  the  Chairman  of  Indian  Banks'  Association appeared  in  the  discussion  and  stated  that  IBA  agreed  in  principle  to  enhance the  Family  Pension  to  30%  without  ceiling.   

IBA  Chairman  also  said  that  IBA  is pursuing  the  matter  in  right  earnest  with  the  Govt.  of  India  to  get  the  same approved.    We  suggested  incorporation  of  version  of  IBA  stating  in  principle
agreement  to  enhance  family  pension  to  30%  without  ceiling  subject  to  Govt approval  in  the  MOU.    But  that  was  not  done.             Now,  we  are  observing  some  reports  claimed  to  have  been  issued  on  the contents  of  the  discussion;  where  it  was  mentioned  that  increase  of  family pension  to  30%  has  been  agreed  on  22nd  July  2020.    Some  communications/ circulars  are  also  available  where  it  has  been  claimed  that,  Govt.  has  agreed  to increase  family  pension  from  15%  to  30%  without  ceiling. We  understand  that  the  status  narrated  by  the  IBA  Chairman  on  22nd  July  2020 is  factual  which  means  approval  of  Govt.  of  India  towards  proposed  increase  will be  obtained  in  due  course.    Further,  during  the  meeting  of  the  Negotiation Committee  held  on  29th  February  2020  the  IBA  informed  that  the recommendation  for  improvement  of  family  pension  had  been  sent  to  the  Govt. for  necessary  approval. Now,  the  language  of  the  above  mentioned  Tweet  tagging  ‘in  principle agreement’  with  the  MoU  signed  on  22nd  July  2020  and  the  reports  as  well  as  the communications/circulars  issued  that  the  Govt.  has  already  agreed  are  creating impression  amongst  the  bank  employees  and  retirees  that  all  formalities  for improvement  of  family  pension  has  been  completed. Had  such  been  the  situation,  we  feel  that,  it  certainly  would  have  found  a  place in  the  Minutes  signed  on  22nd  July  2020.

   Now,  the  Indian  Banks'  Association should  come  out  with  a  statement  narrating  prevailing  situation  regarding improvement  of  family  pension.   Moreover,  with  such  communications, expectations  have  developed  within  the  minds  of  the  hapless  family  pensioners, many  of  whom  are  living  in  financially  distressed  condition. 
  We  strongly  urge upon  you  to  take  all  necessary  initiatives  to  obtain  the  approval  from  the  Govt. of  India  at  the  earliest;  before  the  finalisation  of  11th  Bipartite  Settlement.

Updation/Revision  of  pension

 You  may  recall  that  during  the  negotiation,  continuing  for  more  than  3  years now,  the  IBA  negotiating  team  had  been  informing  the  Unions/Associations  that updation/revision  of  pension  require  huge  amount  of  fund. During  the  course  of  negotiation,  the  Unions/Associations,  time  and  again, requested  for  sharing  relevant  data  for  necessary  actuarial  calculation.
   It  was also  suggested  that  there  may  be  joint  actuarial  exercise  similar  to  that  done during  another  option  for  pension.    On  5th  Dec.  2019,  the  IBA  agreed  to  share
 data  with  the  actuary  recommended  by  UFBU. 

 But  no  data  was  shared  with  the UFBU  by  IBA  till  date,  as  assured. On  29th  Feb.  2020,  IBA  agreed  that  some  improvement  in  the  Pension  would  be worked  out  for  the  retirees  of  earlier  settlements  period  by  working  out  the  cost. 

 It  was  also stated  that  revision,  in  some  form,  would  be  implemented  in  phases. In  subsequent  period,  this  agenda  wasn’t  dealt  for  further  progress. 

 In  the  last round  of  negotiation  on  22nd  July  2020,  IBA  negotiating  team  formally  discussed only  on  the  load  factor  keeping  all  other  issues  aside. You’ll  certainly  appreciate  that  since  revision  of  pension  took  place  in  Reserve Bank  of  India,  the  pensioners  have  become  elated  expecting  extension  of  similar benefits  in  IBA  member  banks  also.

In  the  mean  time,  the  retirees  Associations,  besides  approaching  all  concerned for  revision  of  pension,  collected  bank-wise  data  from  different  sources  including through  Right  to  Information  (RTI)  Act  2005. 
  We  are  informed  that  one  such Retiree  Federation  collected  data  from  different  member  banks  (except  a  very few  who  did  not  respond  to  the  notice  served,  for  reasons  best  known  to  them) as  on  31.03.2017  and  31.03.2018  under  RTI  Act,  2005  and  forwarded  to  you last  year  for  having  actuarial  exercise  to  ascertain  the  cost  involvement  for revision  of  pension  as  per  formula  adopted  in  RBI.
It  is  fact  that,  despite  assurances  given  to  the  Unions/Associations  during  the course  of  negotiation,  the  IBA  did  not  share  any  data  for  actuarial  calculation.   We  are  already  having  experience  of  difference  between  hypothetical  data  and actuarial  data  during  the  exercise  on  another  option  for  pension  in  2009. We  believe  that  pension  is  a  social  security.    We  also feel  that  revision  of  pension should  not  be  considered  in  terms  of  financial  liability.    The  sanctity  of  bilateral negotiation  is  of  utmost  importance  to  us.

    With  this  understanding,  we  strongly demand  to  initiate  joint  actuarial  exercise  immediately  to  ascertain  cost involvement  for  updation/revision  of  pension  as  per  formula  of  RBI,  so  that discussion  on  this  subject  can  be  taken  forward  before  finalisation  of  11th Bipartite  Settlement. Awaiting  your  early  response  on  the  subject  matter.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

11th Bipartite Settlement Signing of MOU.

 AIBRF circular on the above subject is reproduced below
The office Bearers/ Central committee members/ State committee Chiefs.
Dear Comrades
Re; 11th Bipartite Settlement .
Re: Signing of MOU.
We are happy to inform you IBA and UFBU has signed MOU on 11th Wage Settlement in Mumbai on 22.07.2020. According to this MOU, wage increase of 15 percent has been agreed. Copy of the MOU giving complete details is enclosed for your ready reference.
(1) IMPROVEMENT IN FAMILY PENSION: We are very pleased to inform you that as per the information received, Government/ IBA have accorded approval for improvement in Family pension from present to 30 per cent of last pay drawn without any ceiling. It will provide significant increase in monthly pension of about 72000 family pensioners. This approval of 30 per cent increase without celling is better than family pension of RBI. As you know, 95 per cent of family pensioners are females who will be benefited. It is step towards woman empowerment too. Full details in this regard are awaited.
As you know, AIBRF has been raising demand of improvement in family pension for last several years and to achieve it launched several action programs from time to time, details of which are known to all of you. It is big success coming out of sustained and continuous organisational efforts. We congratulate and complement our membership and cadre for this achievement.
We convey our sincere thanks and gratitude to the Government, Indian Bank association and leadership of UFBU for accepting this demand of retirees and taking steps for final sanction.

(2) PENSION UPDATION: we understand that pension updation issue is also being addressed while working details of the settlement in next 90 days. We hope this issue will also move forward in this settlement.
(3) OTHER ISSUES: Other pending issues like improvement in ex-gratia payment to pre- 1986 retirees and their spouses , reduction in premium rates for group insurance policy are receiving attention of IBA/ UFBU and hope solution on them will come in near future.
On this occasion, We appeal to membership to show confidence in the organisation and organisational efforts .We are sure our journey to provide more and more respect and dignity to bank retirees will continue and our struggle to achieve other pending demands will continue.
With Revolutionary Greetings,
Yours Sincerely,

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Letter written by AIBPARC to Hon’ble minister of State for Finance, Government of India

We are reproducing hereunder the letter written  by AIBPARC to Hon’ble minister of State for Finance, Government of India dated – 29/06/20 ,
Shri. Anurag Singh Thakur
 Honorable Minister of State for Finance,
 Govt of India,
 New Delhi 

Respected Sir, 

                                      Pending Issues of Bank Pensioners & Retirees We wish to profusely thank you for giving us an opportunity to hand you over our humble contribution of Rs. 2.12 Crores by a bank draft in favour of PM-CARES FUND to demonstrate our resolve to strengthen the efforts of our Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi ji in nation's fight against Covid 19 - a global pandemic. Sir, it was heartening to note that your good self not only lent an ear to listen to our grievances but also evinced keen interest by seeking certain details and clarifications about the issues which need early resolution. We are confident that your intervention into the matter will prove to be a boon to the Senior and Super Senior Citizens of the Banking industry who have been the important vehicles for transforming the economy of the country and also the social upliftment of the poor sections of the society who were hitherto neglected. The success of PMJDY and Mudra Loans are only to mention a few. As explained to your goodself during our meeting on 24.06.2020 at your office, we have many pending issues to be resolved by the Government & Indian Banks’ Association some of which are under consideration at different stages. Out of all the pending issues, the following long pending issues deserve immediate and favourable consideration more so because our members are a vanishing tribe and many have already left the world without their legitimate dreams having been realized. It is with this compassion; we earnestly request your goodself to resolve at least the 
  following issues to provide succour to our members who are senior & super senior citizens in the their twilight years: 

1. Improvements in family pension at par with Government & RBI pensioners Even though the Banks’ Pension Scheme was drawn on the lines of Government & RBI Pension Schemes, the family pension in Banks is quite inferior as it provides for a tapering slab rate ranging from 30% to 15% where higher basic pay above a specified threshold attracts only 15% of last drawn basic pay that too with a ceiling/cap as against 30% uniform rate without any ceiling or cap in case of Government & RBI family pension. Consequent to our taking up the issue with IBA & DFS, IBA was kind enough to agree to our request and accordingly have sent their recommendations to DFS for revising the family pension in Banks to 30% at par with Government & RBI family pension about a year ago. Sir you will appreciate that most of the family pensioners are elderly widows and hence deserve utmost compassion and sympathy. We, therefore request you to get the same approved by the Government at the earliest. 

2. 100% DA Neutralisation to Pre November 2002-Retirees: The Officer retirees in the Banks were getting tapered DA on their Basis pension. This anomaly was rectified at the time of salary revision settlement in May 2005. However, while implementing 100% DA Neutralisation, the benefit was not given to those who had retired before November 2002. Sir, you will appreciate that price rise affects all pensioners in equal measures and hence an artificial classification on the basis of the date of retirement violates Article 14 of the constitution. The arbitrary denial of the benefit of 100% DA Neutralisation to the oldest of the pensioners is therefore unreasonable and unfair more so when the benefit of 100% DA Neutralisation has been extended to Government and RBI Pensioners. We therefore request your intervention in advising IBA & DFS to remove the anomaly and oblige. 

3. Pension Updation/Revision Pension scheme in the banks was introduced in 1995 with effect from 1.1.1986. Pension Regulation 35(1) provided that Basic pension and additional pension shall be updated in respect of those who retired between 1.1.1986 & 31.10.1987 as per the formula given in Appendix-I. Accordingly the updation was implemented. With a view to facilitating updation alongwith future salary revisions, Pension Regulation 35(1) was amended vide Gazette Notification No.9 Dated 1st March 2003 as follows: “Basic Pension & Additional Pension, wherever applicable, shall be updated as per the formula given in Appendix I” This amendment to Pension Regulations made the provision for updation an open ended one. However, it remains unimplemented. Sir, you will appreciate that even the Honourable Supreme Court has held that wage revision and pension revision are inseparable. The Govt of India has already implemented Pension updation/revision in Reserve Bank of India with effect from 1.4.2019 on the intervention of the Court by adopting the updation factors of 1.76, 2.44 & 3 3.63 for those who retired between the period 2007-2012, 2002-2007 & 1997-2002 respectively. 

Sir, you will appreciate that unlike RBI, our Pension Regulations, which are Subordinate Legislation, provide for an updation formula which obtains in the Central Government, but we are agreeable to accept the updation factors which have been granted to RBI Pensioners. It is also pertinent to submit that Pension Funds in Banks including State Bank are quite strong and have a balance close to Rs.3.00 lakhs crores as on 31.3.2020. For a ready reference the pension payments in all the banks including SBI for the year 2018-19 were Rs.17,415.16 crores as against the Interest income and annual contribution by the banks amounting to Rs.32,023.00 crores. It is thus clear that there is fairly healthy corpus to absorb the additional cost of pension updation using the same factors as allowed in case of RBI. In as much as our pension scheme is akin to Government Pension Scheme & RBI pension scheme and Banks Pension Regulation 56 provides that in case of doubt, a reference may be made to Central Civil Services Rules and Commutation of Pension Rules, we request you to consider the pending pension updation issue favourably and oblige. 
4. Medical Insurance Scheme for Bank Retirees The Department of Financial Services advised IBA & the Banks vide its letter dt. 24.2.2012 to evolve a medical insurance scheme - both for serving & retired employees. 
Accordingly, a new medical scheme was introduced at the behest of IBA in the year 2015-16. While introducing the New medical insurance scheme, the premium was borne by the banks for serving employees and the retired employees who deserved the benefit of medical insurance scheme the most, were given the option to join the scheme only on payment of premium by individual retirees. Since the communication from DFS did not stipulate the payment of premium by the beneficiaries, the implementation was a distortion which adversely affected the pensioners. We have been demanding for the premium to be borne by the banks in respect of retirees too. Alternatively, we should be covered under a scheme on the lines of CGHS for which one-time fixed contribution may be collected from the retirees at the time of retirement from the service. It is pertinent to mention here that the medical insurance premium for the retirees was Rs 7500/- with OPD facility at the time of introduction of the scheme in 2015-16 but it has now been successively enhanced to more than Rs 95000/- with OPD facilities during the year 2019-20. With the meagre fixed pension, the pensioners & family pensioners are finding it difficult to make both the ends meet and hence many have been driven out of the scheme on the grounds of unaffordability. The hefty premium charged to Banks’ pensioners and retirees is evidently unaffordable. A levy of 18% GST on the premium and also on hospitalization bills comes as a bolt from the blue. We request your urgent help in this regard as the due date for payment of renewal premium would be in the month of October 2020. 
5. Reckoning of Special Allowance for Superannuation benefits In the last salary revision (wef 1.11.2012), a special allowance as a specified percentage of basic pay and also attracting DA was introduced. However, it was not reckoned for superannuation benefits viz. pension & gratuity. Such exclusion is ultravires and ex-facie illegal. Honourable Supreme Court has held that there cannot be two pays- one for monthly salary & other for computation of pension. In another case, it was held by the Honourable Supreme Court that any allowance which is attracting DA and is of permanent nature, not assigned to performance of any specific duties and also paid during the period when the employee is on leave is to be treated as 
  a part of basic pay. The banks are reckoning this allowance for the purpose of encashment of leave also. The special allowance paid by the bank fulfils the criteria laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court. We therefore request that the said special allowance may please be reckoned for computation of pension & gratuity in respect of those pensioners who have retired after 1.11.2012. 

We once again take this opportunity to profusely thank you for the opportunity given. 

With Regards,
 Yours faithfully,
 K.V.Acharya                      S.Sarkar 
PRESIDENT AIBPARC    General Secretary