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Letters: Review pension system

Employees who were in service as on December 31, 2003, who will continue to enjoy the benefits

Business Standard 

Review system

Ramanath Nakhate’s letter captioned “United fight for pension” (July 24) gives deep insight into the plight of a section of pensioners who retired from some public sector institutions. The reasons for the government of India (GoI) and organisations like Life Insurance Corporation, Reserve Bank of India and public sector banks in which schemes had been introduced during the 1990s, lending a deaf ear to genuine demands for revision, may be different from those being shared in public. To understand that, one may have to look at the status of scheme applicable to central government employees. By an executive order issued in December 2003, the GoI divided central government employees into three classes for the purpose of benefits:

* Employees who were in service as on December 31, 2003, who will continue to enjoy the benefits of “defined benefit scheme” that was in existence on that day, for life (assuming the employee who joined on December 31, 2003, at the age of 25 may retire in 2038 and assuming the person lives up to the age of 80, the scheme will remain in force till 2058).

* Defence personnel: Serving and new defence personnel (joining after December 31, 2003) will continue to enjoy the benefits of defined benefit scheme.

* Central government employees joining service on or after January 1, 2004, will be covered by a “defined contribution-based scheme” called NPS (New Scheme, rechristened as National System) where employees’ contribution of 10 per cent of salary will be augmented with a matching contribution of 10 per cent by the employer. NPS differs from the old Contributory Provident Fund only in regard to certain details in regard to provisions relating to investment/fund management/withdrawal.

The reason given for the introduction of NPS was rising liabilities. The liability may start tapering only after a few more decades. All these call for a comprehensive review of the Indian system to make it capable of ensuring reasonable retirement benefits to all who are in regular employment. NPS is no substitute for the scheme it has replaced. Pensioners’ demand for periodic upward revision factoring in the changes in costs and living conditions is genuine.

M G Warrier, Mumbai

Political animal

With reference to “BJP MLA’s cow remark meant to bolster communal activities: CPM” (July 23), the claim of the Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Madhya Pradesh that stray cows are a menace for the state’s farmers and his “solution” exposes the hollowness of his ideology.

Since the state’s farmers reportedly discard their cows when they lose their usefulness, forcing families with below poverty line cards to rear cows is ludicrous, impractical and illogical. The thugs professing to be gau rakshaks and having links with communal outfits must desist from lynchings over beef and help the authorities to resolve the stray cow problem by taking the cattle under their protection. But it is unlikely to be so, as the cow is mere a political animal for the so-called gau rakshaks and their masters.

Samiul Hassan Quadri, Bikaner

Incorrect allusion

Permit me a small diversion in these grim times of intolerance and sundry mayhem. The Chinese Whispers item “A ‘ban’ on the lay-off question” (July 24) mentions Abidali Neemuchwala’s reference to the question “When did you last beat your wife?” The correct allusion should have been to the predicament posed by being asked to reply yes or no to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” either answer to which would damn the respondent as a confirmed spouse-abuser!

Shreekant Sambrani, Vadodara

Aloof bureaucracy

The Aurangabad district magistrate’s appeal to villagers to sell their wives if they can’t afford to build toilet shows the dark side of 19th century Weberian bureaucracy being followed in India, where an administrator becomes so blinded by the government targets that he is divorced from social realities and human emotions. We need civil servants to be dedicated to government schemes, but it is foolish to believe sustainable change can be brought 
about by being aloof from society.

Ashutosh, Gaya

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First Published: Mon, July 24 2017. 22:43 IST