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Jawans win pension battle

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The battle was fought over a decade during which hundreds of war medals had been surrendered and many courted arrests but the struggle of the former jawans of the Indian defence services ended only today with a victory.

Pranab Mukherjee, the country’s finance minister finally announced the government’s decision to accept the one-rank-one-pension system for retired personnel. This essentially means that all jawans of a particular rank will get the same pension irrespective of their year of retirement.

Jawans who retired after 1997 — just after the Fifth Pay Commission in 1995 — had been getting more pension than their counterparts who retired before the cut-odd year of 1997. The Sixth pay Commission only widened the gap.

Mukherjee, during his budget speech today, said: “Our country owes a deep debt of gratitude to our valiant ex-servicemen. The committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary on OROP (one rank one pension) has submitted its report and the recommendations of the committee have been accepted”.

The minister also spelt out the details of the OROP during his speech: “On the basis of these recommendations, the government has decided to substantially improve the pension of pre-1.1.2006 defence pensioners below officer rank (PBOR) and bring pre 10.10.1997 pensioners on par with post 10.10.1997 pensioners.

“Both these decisions will be implemented from 1st July 2009 resulting in enhanced pension for more than 12 lakh jawans and JCOs.”

For people, like Col (retd) K. Tshering, the president of the Indian Ex-Services League (Darjeeling branch), the announcement is momentous.

“We have been agitating for so long. In February, we went to the Jantar Mantar and staged a dharna there. More than 3,600 ex-servicemen surrendered their war medals to the President of India to demand implementation of this OROP system.

“Lt General (retd) Raj Kadyan, who has been leading the movement, had also courted arrest. Ultimately, our movement has borne fruit,” Tshering told The Telegraph over the phone from Cooch Behar.

“There was a huge gap,” he said.

According to Tshering, havildars who had retired before 1997 were getting a monthly pension of about Rs 3,700 while a jawan of the same rank is now entitled to Rs 7.600 as his monthly annuity benefit.

In fact, the decision to implement the OROP scheme will benefit around 40,000 retired jawans in the hills.

Before the Lok Sabha elections this year, the BJP, had in its manifesto promised to implement the OROP if voted to power. The UPA manifesto, was however, silent on the ex-serviceman’s demand.

Tshering said the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement for the welfare of retired soldiers has been fighting for five demands. “One of the most important one has now been fulfilled.”

The other four demands are:

1.Employment in the army till the age of 60 (jawans now retire at 33 years)

2.Setting up of a separate Army Pay Commission

3.An Army Welfare Commission on the lines of the Minority Commission

4.Annual Leave Travel Concession to continue after retirement like the Indian Railways does for its employees

Source: The Telegraph

Concerted effort to increase representation of women in Central Government Jobs

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No. 35021/2/2009-Estt.(C)


Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

(Department of Personnel and Training)

North Block,New Delhi,
dated the 3rd July, 2009


Sub: Concerted effort to increase representation of women in Central Government Jobs.


The undersigned is directed to say that the President's address to the joint Session of Parliament inter-alia,. made the following commitment:

" Concerted effort to increase representation of women in Central Government Jobs "

2. As a part of the Action Plan of this Department approved by the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions for implementing the above commitment, this Department has already issued instructions vide a.M.No.3502112/2009-Estt(C) dated 30 th June,2009 making it mandatory to have one woman member in the Selection Boards/Committees for making recruitment to 10 or more vacancies and where lady candidates are expected to be available for the service/post. under the Central Government Even where the vacancies are less than 10, no effort should be spared in including a lady officer in such CommitteeslBoards.

3. In order to ensure that adequate lady candidates are attracted to Central Government jobs and to encourage them to apply for vacancies in the Central Government, it has now been decided that all advertisements/circulars for recruitment to Central Government jobs should invariably mention prominently that "Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply."

4. Accordingly all MinistrieslDeptts.lRecruiting agencies are requested to ensure that all vacancies advertisements/circulars for posts in Central Government contain the above message prominently. Every effort may also be made to give wide publicity to the extent feasible about all women friendly policies and concessions/facilities available to women empolyees in the Central Government,while making recruitment to posts in the Central Government.

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Booster dose for NPS

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The government today gave a booster dose to to its recently introduced pension system for all citizens to make it more acceptable.

The new pension system introduced this May has received only a lukewarm response so far. In the Budget tabled in Parliament, the government said pension trusts would not have to pay the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) if they invested in the securities markets.

It also said the interim pension regulator would get Rs 8 crore to run an advertising campaign to familiarise people about the scheme.The Budget said that self-employed persons subscribing to the NPS would be subjected to tax only at the time of withdrawal.Other subscribers are already under this kind of tax treatment. The Budget also proposed to exempt the income of the pension trust from income tax and also the donor of dividend to the trust from the dividend distribution tax. All purchase and sale of equity shares and derivatives by the NPS trust will be exempted from the securities transaction tax, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his Budget speech.

From May 1 this year, the interim pension regulator, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) extended the NPS to all citizens. But the new scheme did not attract a good response. It has collected just Rs 80 lakh in the first two months of its launch.

Commenting on the measures taken by the government, a senior PFRDA official said, "We are happy with the incentives given to the NPS, but we would have liked it to be more." The official said the PFRDA had sought tax exemption under the exempt-exempt-exempt model, which means the subscriber would not be taxed even at the time of withdrawing money.

The PFRDA had earlier asked the government to bear the cost of maintaining accounts of policy holders under the NPS.However, nothing has been done in this direction, the official said.Under the present structure, a subscriber has to pay at least Rs 470, as initial charges in the first year and Rs 350 annually to the National Securities Depository (NSDL). Source: PTI

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