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Angry court joins battle

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Angry court joins battle

The Supreme Court has slammed the government for treating army personnel “bravely defending the country even at the cost of their lives” shabbily and upheld a higher disability pension to an officer who lost his hand in the Siachen.

“This is a pittance (Rs 1,000 a month, plus dearness allowance). If this is the manner in which the army personnel are treated, it is extremely unfortunate…. We regret to say army officers and armymen in our country are being treated in a shabby manner by the government,” Justices Markandey Katju and A.K. Patnaik said.

The government had appealed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order giving C.S. Sidhua higher pension.

The apex court found no reason to interfere with the order. Instead, it was scathing in its criticism of the government for trying to justify such a meagre disability pension. “If a person goes to any part of Delhi and sits for begging, he will earn Rs 1,000 every day and you are offering a pittance of Rs 1,000 per month for a man who fought for the country in the high altitudes and whose arm was amputated?” the two-judge bench said.

Sidhu had joined as a short-service commission officer on June 22, 1968. On November 21, 1970, he met with an accident in the Siachen after which his right arm had to be amputated. He also suffered a compound fracture of the femur (thigh bone) and fracture of the mandible (jaw bone). He was released from service on June 23, 1978.

The army authorities insisted on taking into account the period from June 22, 1968, to November 21, 1970, to calculate his pension. But the high court said the entire commissioned service, from June 22, 1968, to June 23, 1978, should be counted and ordered the authorities to pay the disability pension and other benefits accordingly.

The apex court, upholding the high court order, asked the authorities to clear the arrears within three months, along with interest at the rate of 8 per cent annually. “Army personnel should be treated in a better and more humane manner by the government authorities, particularly, in respect of their emoluments, pension and other benefits,” the bench said.

At yesterday’s hearing, the government was represented by an additional solicitor-general. Sidhu was not present, but the apex court dismissed the government’s appeal without waiting for the officer to place his version.

“… We are in full agreement with the high court that for the purpose of qualifying service for disability pension, the entire period of commissioned service rendered by the respondent has to be taken into account,” it said.

Source: Telegraph India

Stop treating army men like 'beggars', SC tells Govt

The Supreme Court has slammed the union government for treating army personnel like "beggars" in respect of emoluments and pension and asked the authorities to adopt a more "humane approach" towards those bravely defending the country's borders.

"If a person goes to any part of Delhi and sits for begging, he will earn Rs 1000 every day and you are offering a pittance of Rs 1000 per month for a man who fought for the country in the high altitudes and whose arm was amputated?

"Is this the way you treat those brave army officers? It is unfortunate that you are treating them like beggars," a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and A K Patnaik said in verbal comments while passing the order.

Govt gives assent to new penion system

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Govt gives assent to new penion system

Giving approval to appoint New Pension Systems (NPS) Trust for fund management and other services and the Draft Agreement for signing the New Pension System (NPS) Trust, New Delhi and to adopt the scheme for fund management on the pattern of Government of India a recent state cabinet meeting has pledged to do everything in its power to promote the welfare of the employees of the state.

According a highly placed official source, with a view to introduce pension reform and establishing a solid and sustainable social security arrangement in the country, the Central government notified the Defined Contribution Pension System (New Pension Scheme) for the new entrants to Central government services, except for the Armed Forces, replacing the existing system of Defined Benefit Pension System with effect from January 1, 2004.

The source further mentioned that the matter was tabled in a recent cabinet meeting as an agenda for signing of agreement between the state government and the New Pension System (NPS) Trust, to keep pace with the Central government, as state government also introduced the said New Pension Scheme with effect from January 1, 2005.

Necessary instructions had been issued for recovery of 10% of Pay, Dearness Pay and Dearness Allowances from the monthly salaries of employees appointed on or after January 1, 2005 and for crediting to government account number 8342, other deposit and for debiting the equal share of the state government for Tier-I.

The source said the system is mandatory for all new recruit to the state government service and the existing provision of the Defined Benefit Pension and GPF would not be available to the new recruits.

In addition to the above Tier-I pension account, each individual may also have a voluntary Tier-II withdrawable account at his option.

But, the scheme for voluntary contributions under Tier-II will be made operative during the period of interim arrangement and therefore no recoveries will be made from the salaries of the employees on this account.

The official source further mentioned that as per the agreed guidelines of New Pensions System Trust, an individual can normally exit at the age of 59 or 60 as the case may be. At exit the individual would be mandatorily required to invest 40% of the pesnsion wealth to purchase an annuity (from an IRDA-regulated Life Insurance Company) which will provide for pension for the lifetime of the employees and his/her dependent parents/spouse at the time of retirement. The individual would receive a limp-sum of the remaining pension wealth, which he would be free to utilize in any manner.

Individuals would have the flexibility to leave the pension system prior to age 59 or 60, as the case may be. However, in this case, the mandatory annuitisation would be 80% of the pension wealth.

The guidelines of the trust, further mentioned that, a pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) has been appointed under executive order of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India pending passing of the PFRDA Bill by the Parliament. PFRDA has signed a contract agreement with the National Security Depository Limited (NSDL) as Central Record keeping agency for administration and customer service for all subscribers of the NPS, issue of unique Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) to each subscriber, maintaining a database of alls Prans issued and recording transactions relating to each subscriber’s PRAN and action as an operational interface between PFRDA and others NPS intermediaries, such as Pension Funds, Annuity Service Providers, Trustee Banks etc.

The official source further mentioned that while tabling the issues before the recent cabinet meeting, it has been mentioned that the CRA system has become operational with effect from June 2, 2008 for Central government employees. The state government of Manipur has already decided to avail the services of the CRA and an agreement has been signed with the NSDL on November 12, 2009 last year.

So far, there are 5,813 new entrants who are appointed under state government on or after January 1, 2005 in 32 departments. Of these recoveries salaries of 5,459 employees have been made but government’s matching share has not been paid by most of the department.

Reconciliation of accounts with those of AG’s figure shall be carried out before the transfer is effected to the trustee Bank. With this elaborate submissions of guidelines of the trust, the recent cabinet meeting has approved to solicit to appoint New Pension System (NPS) Trust for fund management and other services and the Draft Agreement for signing with the New Pension System Trust, New Delhi and adopt the scheme for Fund Management.

Source: Kanglaonline

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