Some of our friends and certain associations have been asking why pension revision w.e.f. 01-01-2017 for BSNL retirees should be demanded on the basis of III PRC instead of on the basis of VII CPC? In this connection certain points are given below, which gives a clear picture in the matter.

When BSNL was formed in 2000, the entire employees working in the Department of Telecommunications were absorbed in BSNL with assurance of better prospects and pension from consolidated fund of the government of India. Rule 37A was incorporated with the CCS (Pension) Rules , 1972 to ensure them government pension is granted. The pension revision was given to them with 30% fitment , recommended by the 2nd PRC for the PSU employees from 01-01-2007. If the pay revision and pension revision was as per VII CPC, it would be from 01-01-2006 and also on CDA scale. But as per PRC II it was granted on IDA scales w.e.f. 01-012017.Later, they were also granted pension revision based on the 78.2% IDA fitment at par with the working employees of BSNL. But both these revisions were much delayed due to a condition of 60:40 stipulated by the government for payment of pensionary benefits. However with much efforts and struggles, this condition was annulled by the Cabinet and the order issued vide No.40-13/2013-Pen (T) dated 20-07-2016. It is stated in the order, Para 2 (b) that “The liability towards pensionary benefits including family pension to the BSNL employees (excepting those recruited after 01-10-2000), as per sub rule, 22 of Rule 37-a of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, lies with the government.”

The 3rd PRC has recommended 15% fitment for the pay revision of PSU employees with effect from 01-01-2017 which has been approved by the government. The BSNL absorbed government retirees are fully justified to get their pension revised with 15% fitment from 01-01-2017 without linking to the wage revision of BSNL employees. Wage revision of BSNL employees is being delayed due to the affordability condition laid down by the 3rd PRC and on the plea of loss to the company. The pension revision of BSNL absorbed government retirees has nothing to do with the finance of BSNL, as the entire liability lies with the central government. The Department of Telecommunications, despite the assurance by the hon’ble Minister of Communications for early pension revision, is adopting a negative approach and their mindset , even after a series of discussions and struggles, is for the pension revision only after pay revision of BSNL employees. The central government pensioners have already got their pension revised from 01-01-2016 as per the recommendations of 7th CPC. So it is a great injustice being meted out to the BSNL absorbed government retirees by denying the due pension revision w.e.f. 01-01-2017, even after two years of their counterparts in central service got their pension revision.

Certain discussions are going among the pensioners and in social media about how to get the pension revision with effect from 01.01.2017 for BSNL pensioners. Some pensioners unions have demanded for continuing the pension revision as was done w. e. f. 01.01.2007 as this was much beneficial compared to CG Pensioners pension revision. It is most justified and logical too. Some have demanded that it should be on the basis of VII CPC. certain relevant points are given below:

2. The pay revision and pension revision of CG employees were w.e.f. 2006, while the same for BSNL employees and pensioners w.e.f 2007. In the same way it will be in 2016 for CG employees and pensioners and from 2017 for BSNL employees and pensioners.

3. The payscales for CG employees and pension revision are on the basis CDA scales recommended by CPCs. For BSNL employees it is based on IDA scales as per PRC which is higher.The CPC recommends pay scale on CDA and Pay Revision Committee on IDA scale.

4. Periodical CDA for CG employees and pensioners are granted after every six months on the basis of cost of living index. For BSNL staff and pensioners it is in every three months. From experience, we have seen that the latter is better.

5. Since pension was agreed to by the govt. at the time of formation of BSNL,
the govt was thinking of the same pay scales as in govt.as granted to FCI employees etc.when it was made a public sector. Later Door Darshan also followed suit. But all the unions and associations were emphatic that since we are a PSU, we should get PSU scales on IDA. After a bitter struggle, better wage revision was got. Another serious struggle had to be organised for getting pension on the basis of the higher wages than that of CPC

6. This method continued in next wage revision. CG employees got pay revision and pension revision on CDA scales w.e.f. 2006 and BSNL employeers and pensioners as per II PRC on IDA scales wef 2006, which was higher. Sustained struggles had to be organised for getting both wage and pension revision.

7. Further struggles were organised to get 78.2 % IDA wage and pension fixation for BSNL which was higher than that of CGE.

8. All these demands were raised and struggles organised unanimously to achieve the demands. Nobody and no unions that of employees or pensioners demanded that the wage and pension revision should be based on CDA scales on the basis of CPC from 2006 etc., because the wage / pension revision as per PRC was better and beneficial.

9. Coming to the wage revision from 2017 onwards, the workers demanded wage revision with 15% fitment as recommended by III PRC for PSUs. The AUAB demanded that affordability condition should be dropped. The management has recommended the IDA scales for executives and wage negotiation for non executives are going on.

10. Due to the struggles and notice for Indefinite strike by AUAB, the Communications Minister had discussion with AUAB on the major demands raised including wage revision and pension revision. Some are settled and the discussion on wage revision is going on.

11. As per VII CPC, the minimum wage granted for CG employee is Rs.18,000 while the scales demanded for BSNL employeee is Rs. 19590. This IDA scale is better than the CDA scale of Rs.18,000 and consequently pension also.

12. Due to the affordability clause in the III PRC, some comrades felt that there may not be wage revision in BSNL and raised a demand of pension revision be made on the basis of VII CPC. They contended that there may not be any more PRC in the future. It is true that govt. will try any mischief w.r.t to CPC or PRC. In the past also some CPCs stated that there is no need for future CPCs. The workers have thwarted this attack in the past and will do so in future also. We have belief in the workers and their struggle.

13. The government will be only too happy if the wage revision and pension revision is done in BSNL on tbe basis of CPCs. The wage will be less, the pension will be less and three monthly DA increase need not be paid. Of course, the workers will never agree to such reduction. Pension can not be reduced as per present rules, but the government may impose the CDA scale as the basis for future pension as they calculated BSNL payscales for MTNL pensioners, when they demanded full govt.pension as in the case of BSNL pensioners, instead of pro rata pension.

14. Why should a demand be raised for CDA pension as per CPC, when the existing pattern on the basis of PRC is available and has been implemented in the past? Why should anybody go back to a lower payscale or lower pension or stagnation when a serious struggle is going on by tbe AUAB for the entire workers and pensioners?

15. The demand for CDA pension on the basis of VII CPC will result in umpteen anomalies creating a lot of hardship and differences to the workers. It will also be a handle to the govt to distance the pensioners from the workers.

16. Pension contribution from BSNL is collected by the Government on the maximum of the BSNL IDA scale. Why the government should be given a chance to change it to the lower CDA scale and consequent pension?

16. In all the central PSUs where VII CPC is implemented, it is only on the basis of the CDA scales and not on IDA scales. Pension also accordingly.

17. I am sure that nobody will want to go to the government CDA payscale and pension from the present IDA scale and consequent pension.

18. Let us have confidence in the united strength of the workers’ and pensioners’ organisations to clinch a better deal for the workers and pensioners. Going back to a system which we have discarded from a better existing position will not be worthwhile. Some comrades may feel that it is impossible to achieve our demands in the present situation. I would only state that we have faced much more worse situation earlier and have come out successful. Let us continue our struggle for a better future. Many times we have made impossible in to possible.