Among the numerous personalities of our city who have rendered yeoman service to society is this Seva Dhureena, who has been the messiah for several families who faced difficulties in getting their pensions from the Central Government for various reasons — bureaucratic red-tapism being one of them.
Meet Dr. T.S. Sathyanarayana Rao (Dr. T.S.S. Rao for short), President of Central Government Pensioners’ Association, Mysore, who has been conferred Pensioners’ Seva Dhureena title in recognition of his services.
Dr. Rao, after retiring from a meritorious service with the Defence Food & Research Laboratory (DFRL) as the Deputy Chief Scientific Officer, took up the cause of Central Government pensioners, especially those having problems in approaching the officials concerned in Bangalore, corresponding with them and doing follow up work.
“There are many cases in which, after the death of the Central Government employee, neither their widows nor their children know about the different provisions under pension scheme like the family pension, widow pension, pension for physically and mentally challenged etc,” said Dr. Rao, in an interview with SOM recently.
The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare, deals with this aspect. Generally, the Pension Payment Order (PPO) contains details of the next of kin who is eligible to receive family pension. Claimants need to submit Form 14 along with PPO, death certificate and other documents. This is where Dr. Rao and other office-bearers of the Association come in. They assist the family members in getting the pension with minimum of hassles.
Dr. Rao retired from service on Oct. 31, 1994. He joined the Pensioners’ Association started by the Postal Department and a year later, he was elected as the President of Mysore District Central Government Pensioners’ Association, having 20 members and a corpus fund of Rs. 4,000. Now, after eight years, Dr. Rao continues to be the President, having 900 members and a corpus fund of more than Rs. 4 lakh.
“We raised a sum of Rs. 4 lakh through donations from the public of which Rs. 50,000 was donated to Sadvidya Educational Institutions (of which Dr. Rao is a Governing Council member). As a mark of gratitude, Sadvidya allows Pensioners’ Association to hold meetings in one of its rooms on second Wednesday of every month and also to celebrate Pensioners’ Day and such other functions,” said Dr. Rao.
“The remaining sum, which reached Rs. 4 lakh, has been kept as a fixed deposit in the bank, the interest on which (around Rs. 20,000) is used for the conduct of Annual General Body Meeting and Pensioners’ Day celebration,” he said.
“The pension for retired employees is a legacy of the British empire, handed over to the Government of India in the form of several million dollars corpus fund, the interest on which was paid to the retired government employees as pension,” said Dr. Rao who added that the corpus fund was utilised by the successive governments for some other purpose and now, employees are made to contribute to the pension fund, which is paid back with interest to the pensioners.
The National Pension System (NPS) is a defined contribution-based pension system launched by Government of India, with effect from Jan. 1, 2004 to protect the elderly against economic deprivation, through a contribution based pension system.
Dr. Rao said that there were many instances of families who had not claimed for pension for years out of ignorance; but with the help of the Association, got lakhs of rupees as arrears of pension. He cited the example of one Narahari and his family that lived in city a few years ago. After serving in the Central Government Building Re-search Institute in Rourkela, he retired and died in a short while. His wife was ignorant about the family pension scheme until someone guided her to approach the Pensioners’ Association. With Dr. Rao’s efforts, she got about Rs. 15 lakh as arrears.
Meanwhile, her son, who was a brilliant student, became mentally challenged following an accident. He was later provided the handicapped persons’ pension with great effort, probably this being the first case in the entire State of Karnataka. A State Board was newly created for this purpose and pension was sanctioned after a year-long correspondence.
In a couple of years, Mrs. Narahari died. Her daughter lived in the US and so, the mentally challenged son was put in an asylum in Bangalore. Thanks to pension, his aunt admitted the boy to a hostel and took care of him.
Now, the greatest challenge before the Pensioners’ Association in city is to get the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) facility, which is presently available only in major cities including Bangalore.
“Mysore, despite being called the Pensioners’ Paradise, lacks this facility,” said Dr. Rao and recalled his meeting with the Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, along with former Minister C.H. Vijayashankar, urging for CGHS.
“Unlike his predecessors who gave only assurances, Ramadoss said that the facility could not be provided as the Department lacked funds for it and that other districts too would raise similar demands,” said Dr. Rao and added that Ramadoss however assured to introduce the Health Insurance Scheme, which is yet to materialise.
Meanwhile, when the Pensioners’ Association urged for recognising some hospitals in Mysore for CGHS facility, if not providing it exclusively, the government gave recognition to six hospitals to cater to the health needs of Central pensioners, K.R. Hospital being one of them.
Dr. Rao expressed gratitude to MLC Vijayashankar, members of the Pensioners’ Association and others, including SOM for supporting his service activities.
Dr. Rao and his wife Dr. Padmavathi, a retired bank officer, now reside in Yadavagiri, spending time with their grandchildren Dhrushi and Akshar. Dr. Rao’s son Subhash is a dentist in city and daughter-in-law Dr. Vanishree is a Pathologist at JSS Hospital while his daughter Srividya lives with her husband in Muscat.
[Dr. Rao may be contacted on Ph:2514284]