Grievances pertaining to Authorization, sanction and processing of pension: Chapter 4 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

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Grievances pertaining to Authorization, sanction and processing of pension: Chapter 4 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

Grievances pertaining to Authorization, sanction and processing of pension: Chapter 4 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grieva

Government Settled Pension Related Complaints: Dr. Jitendra Singh
Mandatory use of CompDDO for processing of salary payment of Govt. employees: DoPPW Instructions to All Ministries/Departments
Processing of Pension cases mandatorily through Bhavishya, Retiring employees to submit the online application w.e.f 01/01/2017

Grievances pertaining to Authorization, sanction and processing of pension: Chapter 4 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

CHAPTER 4

Grievances pertaining to Authorization, sanction and processing of pension 

Authorization, Sanction and Processing of pension

4.0 As per the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 and orders/instructions issued by the Government, the authorities/agencies involved in the process of preparation and payment of pensionary benefits to the pensioners and their respective role in this regard is described in ensuing paras:

4.1 Each individual Ministry/Department of Govt. of India is responsible for the Pension processing, sanction and payment of pensionary benefits of its retiring employees. Within each of the Ministries/Departments, the following authorities are involved in the process:

I Head of Office of the concerned Ministry/Department

Head of Office functions under the overall supervision and control of the concerned Administrative Ministry/Department. The Head of Office in a Ministry/Department is a Gazetted officer declared as such under the Delegation of Financial Powers Rules, 1978. He is required to perform the following duties:

(i) Authorisation of pension

    • To obtain and maintain the nomination forms of the Government servant for gratuity, GPF, CGEGIS, Commutation of pension, etc.,
    • To verify the service qualifying for pension and gratuity, if necessary, in consultation with the Department/offices where the Government servant had worked in the past.
    • To obtain No Dues certificate from Directorate of Estates, in respect of the Government accommodation occupied by the Government servant.
    • To obtain the forms/pension papers from the retiring Government servant six months before his/her date of retirement.
    • To determine the emoluments and qualifying service for determining the amount of pension and gratuity.
    • To determine the amount of Government dues (like House Building Advance & other advances, excess payment of pay and allowances, etc.) to be recovered from the gratuity and intimating the same to Pay & Accounts Office.
    • To communicate the fact regarding pendency of departmental/judicial proceedings against the retiring Government servant.
    • To forward the pension papers to the Pay & Accounts Office for Authorisation of pension, gratuity, and commutation of pension by issuing a Pension Payment Order.
    • To sanction Provisional pension and provisional gratuity in cases where there is likely to be a delay in authorisation of pension & issue of PPO.
    • To make payment of Retirement Gratuity (after adjusting the Government dues) and Commuted value of pension after authorisation by Pay & Accounts Office.

View: Standing Committee Report Summary on Pension Grievances: Recommendations on CPENGRAMS, CGEGIS, Additional Pension, Medical Facilities, Provisional Pension & Family Pension

(ii) Authorisation of Family Pension on death of a serving Government servant

    • To obtain claim for family pension//death certificate in respect of the deceased Government servant from the eligible family member.
    • To determine the emoluments for determining the amount of family pension and death gratuity.
    • To determine the amount of Government dues to be recovered from death gratuity and intimating the same to Pay & Accounts Office.
    • To verify the eligibility of the claimant for family pension.
    • To forward the pension papers to the Pay & Accounts Office for Authorisation of family pension and death gratuity by issuing a Pension Payment Order.
    • To sanction Provisional family pension pending authorisation of regular family pension & issue of PPO.
    • To make payment of Death Gratuity (after adjusting the Government dues) in accordance with the nominations/relevant rules, after authorisation by Pay & Accounts Office.

(iii) Authorisation of Family Pension on death of a pensioner/family pensioner

    • To obtain claim for family pension/death certificate in respect of the deceased pensioner/family pensioner from the eligible family member, in cases where the name of family pensioner is not included in the PPO to the pensioner.
    • To verify the eligibility of the claimant for family pension.
    • To forward the pension papers to the Pay & Accounts Office for Authorisation of family pension and death gratuity by issuing a Pension Payment Order.

(iv) Revision of Pension/family pension

    • To prepare the case for revision of pension/family pension in accordance with the instructions issued by the Government on the recommendations of the Pay Commission and to send it to Pay& Accounts Office for issuing a revised Pension Payment Authority.

II Pay & Accounts Office of the concerned Ministry/Department

Pay & Accounts Offices attached to every Ministry/Department function under the overall supervision and control of the Controller General of Accounts, Department of Expenditure. The PAO attached to the concerned Ministry/Department is required to perform the following duties in regard to authorisation of pension/family pension and revision of pension/family pension:

  • To apply the requisite checks on the pension and family pension case/papers sent by the HOD.
  • To assess the amount of pension, family pension/family pension and gratuity and to issue the pension payment order.
  • To indicate in the Pension Payment Order, the name of the spouse of the Government servant, if alive, as family pensioner.
  • To indicate in the Pension Payment Order, the names of the permanently disabled child or children and dependent parents and disabled siblings as family pensioners if there is no other member of family to whom family pension may become payable before such disabled child or children or dependent parents or disabled siblings.
  • To intimate to the Head of Office the amount of gratuity and commuted value of pension, as determined by the Accounts Officer, with the remarks that the amount of the gratuity may be drawn and disbursed by the Head of Office to the retired Government servant after adjusting the Government dues, if any, and the amount to be withheld, if any, as per the intimation of Directorate of Estates.
  • To forward a copy of the Pension Payment Order or the Revised Pension Payment Authority to the Central Pension Accounting Office for issuing a Special Seal of Authority.
  • To authorize a provisional pension, in case any departmental or judicial proceedings are pending against the Government servant, and no gratuity shall be paid to the Government servant until the conclusion of the departmental or judicial proceedings and issue of final orders thereon.

III Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO), Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure

Central Pension Accounting Office is required to perform the following duties:

  • To issue the Special Seal of Authority and forward the same to the Pension Disbursing Authority/Bank along with the copy of the Pension Payment Order or the Revised Pension Payment Authority issued by the Accounts Officer.

4.2 The Committee deliberated with the Secretary, Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare and the Controller General of Accounts regarding the grievances arising from authorization and processing of pensions.

Read also: Introduction – Category of Pensioners : Chapter 1 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

End-to-end Digitization

4.3 DoPPW has apprised the Committee that it has taken various measures for simplification of procedures to reduce delays in processing, disbursal and revision of pensionary benefits such as:

    1. A common Pension processing software ‘BHAVISHYA’ was created with pre-fed Rules for Pension calculations for all Central Ministries. This has not only simplified the pension processing procedure, but also reduced the delays by the respective Ministries and each stage of the Pension processing can be monitored by the concerned Ministry. BHAVISHYA has been made mandatory for all Central Civil Pensioners w.e.f. 01.01.2017 for Pension settlement. Pension process tracking has ensured seamless and accurate pension processing for all Central Govt. Employees.
    2. This has made ‘End to End Digitization’ of the Pension settlement possible resulting in the issue of electronic PPOs. The Department went a step further and now e-PPO can be sent directly to the Digi Locker of the Pensioner to enable quick retrieval of the PPO.

4.4 Bhavishya software allows online filing of application for pension by the retiring employees, encapsulates the Pension Rules required for processing pension cases and generates all forms necessary for finalizing pension cases as well as reports needed for monitoring by the Departments. The software has laid down strict timelines for various stages of pension processing across all stakeholders involved and keeps throwing up alerts to the pensioner on mobile as well as to the stakeholder for meeting out the deadlines prescribed for various stages. By keeping track of the progress as well as close monitoring of each pension case, it introduces transparency and accountability into the system thereby plugging delays. Thus, the Bhavishya software benefits the retiring employees, pensioners and the Government authorities equally.

4.5 The disbursal of pension by banks is monitored by Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO), Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance through e-scroll software in which CPAO examines the scroll received from the banks and analyses the delay in disbursal and the correct amount of pension etc. However, Bhavishya has the facility to only show the first credit of pension in the retiree’s account.

4.6 Pensioners’ Associations have apprised the Committee that there is much delay, mainly on the part of parent departments/offices in processing pension papers from where the pensioner has retired. The delay is due to pending digitization of old office records and difficulties in manual retrieval of data.

4.7 The Committee is of the view that end-to-end digitization of the pension process, right from the stage of submission of pension papers by the retiring Government servant to Head of Office to the stage of forwarding of PPO and Special seal of Authority to the Pension Disbursing authority by Central Pension accounting Office will smoothen the pension process further, arrest the minutest of delays besides significantly bringing down the volume of grievances being registered on CPENGRAMS. The Committee recommends the Department to apprise it whether Bhavishya software renders end-to-end digitization of the whole pension process possible in its Action Taken Replies. The Department may also inform the Committee about the status of implementation of Bhavishya Software by non-civil Ministries in its Action Taken Replies.

Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO)Web utility

4.8 CPAO has apprised the Committee that it has developed a mobile responsive web utility i.e. Web Responsive Pensioners’ Service. Pensioners can avail the following services after registration & login on CPAO website:

a) Pensioner Profile: Pensioners can view their own basic details and also view bank and PAO details. They can update/provide their contact details like mobile number, email, and Aadhaar number.

b) Digital Record of Pension & Revision Orders: Pensioners can view list of all Pension Payments & Revision Orders sent to banks from CPAO, authorization of payment of pension with details like PPO& SSA No. and date sent from CPAO to bank.

c) Download Facility of Pension/Revision Orders Sent to Banks: Pensioners can download the Pension/Revision Orders sent to Banks from CPAO.

Read also: Effectiveness of CPENGRAMS and Pension Adalats – Way Forward: Chapter 2 of of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

d) Pension Processing Status Tracking: Both retired and retiring pensioners can track status of their pension cases both in fresh as well as revision cases like date of receipt of their cases in CPAO and date sent from CPAO to bank.

e) Monthly Details of Pension Payment: Pensioners can view the details of monthly payments of pension, which are credited to their accounts by the bank, i.e. their basic pension, dearness relief, medical allowance, arrear payments, etc.

f) Grievance Redressal: Apart from Desktop, Pensioners can now lodge their grievances from their mobile devices and view/track the status of their grievances. Besides lodging their grievances online on CPAO website, facility to lodge grievance by letter, fax, email, Toll free Number and personal visits and tracking the status is already provided. After receiving the grievances from pensioners; CPAO forwards the same online to the banks and field offices for redressal and status is updated in its website for the information of pensioners.

g) SMS Facility: Pensioners are now provided SMS facility for pension process status at CPAO and at the stage of grievance registration & disposal.

h) Links to Jeevan Pramaan, Bhavishya and CPENGRAMS Portals: To facilitate the pensioners for submission of Digital Life Certificate (DLC) in the month of November, a link to Jeevan Pramaan Portal has been provided on CPAO website. For those Government servants who are going to retire soon, a link has been established with Bhavishya Portal of DP&PW to enable them to track the status of their pension cases even before it reaches CPAO. A link to CPENGRAMS (Central Pension Grievance Redress and Monitoring System) has also been provided so that if pensioners desire, they can lodge and track their grievances in CPENGRAMS portal.

4.9 The Committee notes that CPAO’s web responsive Pensioners’ service offers a single point web solution for pensioners to obtain comprehensive information relating to status of pensions and pension payments. However, the Committee observes that this web portal needs more publicity. The Committee is of the view that the success of any initiative depends upon the extent of its reachability to the targeted population groups. The Committee also emphasizes that CPAO should publicise the portal through all possible means including the print and electronic media so that the benefits of the portal reach targeted beneficiaries.

Simplification of procedure

4.10. On being asked about the procedure for claiming family pension, DPPW has stated that in accordance with the extant rules/ instructions, a pensioner is required to open a joint account with his/her spouse. On death of a pensioner, family pension to the spouse, whose name is included in the PPO, is commenced by the Bank on submission of application on plain paper along with the death certificate of the deceased pensioner; whereas family pension to a member of the family, whose name is not included in the PPO, is commenced by the Bank after a fresh PPO is issued by the concerned Pension sanctioning authority.

Read also: Grievances pertaining to Pension Policy, Pension Structure and other Retirement Benefits: Chapter 3 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

4.11 On being asked about the procedure for claiming family pension by the children of a Government Servant suffering from physical or mental infirmities, the Department replied as under:

‘As per Rule 54 (6) of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, if the son or daughter of a Government servant is suffering from any disorder or disability of mind including the mentally retarded or is physically crippled or disabled so as to render him or her unable to earn a living even after attaining the age of twenty-five years, the family pension is payable to such son or daughter for life subject to the fulfilment of the conditions laid down in the said rules. Further, before allowing the family pension for life to any such son or daughter, the appointing authority is to satisfy that the handicap is of such a nature so as to prevent him or her from earning his or her livelihood and the same should be evidenced by a certificate obtained from a Medical Board comprising of a Medical Superintendent or a Principal or a Director or Head of the Institution or his nominee as Chairman and two other members, out of which at least one shall be a Specialist in the particular area of mental or physical disability including mental retardation setting out, as far as possible, the exact mental or physical condition of the child. Further, the authority competent to issue disability certificate would be as specified in the guidelines issued by the M/o Health & Family Welfare. Any hospital or institution specified as Medical Authority for the purposes with the person with disabilities (equal opportunities protection of rights and full participation) Act by notification by the Central Government or State Government or a Union Territory Administration can issue disability certificate.’

4.12 The Department has informed the Committee vide its written submission that the following difficulties are encountered by the Children while obtaining disability certificate for the purpose of claiming family pension:

  • Delay due to taking decision by Pension Sanctioning authority/Appointing authority handicap is of such a nature so as to prevent him or her from earning his or her livelihood.
  • Delay in start of family pension by the banks.

4.13 The Committee recommends the Department to instruct the Ministries/Departments of the Central Government to be proactive, reach out to the family pensioners and also assist them in claiming family pension. The Committee notes that the procedure of obtaining medical certificate/disability certificate by children of a deceased Government Servant is Kafkaesque and needs to be simplified.

View: Grievances pertaining to disbursement of pension: Chapter 5 of 110th Report of Parliamentary Committee on Pensioner’s Grievances

4.14. The Committee is of the view that Head of Office in a Ministry/Department may consider obtaining the forms/ pension papers from the retiring Government servant one year instead of six months before his or her date of retirement and determining the amount of Government dues (like House Building Advance & other advances, excess payment of pay and allowances, etc.) to be recovered from the gratuity and intimating the same to Pay & Accounts Office. Besides, in cases of authorization of Family Pension on death of a serving Government servant, the concerned Ministry/Department may keep a record of dependents of serving employees in a descending order in terms of their eligibility as it will help fast pace verification and decision in regard to the eligible claimant for family pension.

4.15. The Committee also expresses its concern with regard to discontinuation/ delay in disbursement of Family Pension, especially in the case of pensioners and family pensioners of paramilitary forces based in rural areas due to various reasons. Further, as per the existing instructions, the last place of posting is considered as place of pension disbursement leading to harassment of family pensioners of paramilitary forces who have laid their life in the line of duty. The Committee, accordingly, recommends that for the benefit of pensioners/family pensioners’ of paramilitary forces, the Battalion Headquarter should be made place of pension’s disbursement, instead of last place of posting. Further, the Committee also feels that Department needs to explore the feasibility of giving a choice to pensioners to choose place of pension disbursement in case of transferable job.

grievances-pertaining-to-authorization-sanction-and-processing-of-pension

View: Pensioner’s Grievances-Impact of Pension Adalats and CPENGRAMS: 110th Report by Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice  

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