Pension Revision of BSNL retirees on the basis of III PRC or VII CPC?
BSNL Retirees are due for Pension Revision wef 01.01.2017. Last revision was wef 2007. Fifteen years are over. But it is being delayed on the plea by the government that Pay Revision of the BSNL employees have not been done. Pay Revision for working employees and Pension Revision for retired employees are their right and a must. Recognised Unions of BSNL as well as AUAB are making all efforts for Pay Revision and Retired Employees Associations are making all efforts for Pension Revision.
The Pensioners’ Organisations have told the government, that the delay in pay revision of BSNL employees should not delay pension revision as also that pensioners are fully justified for pension revision as per Rule 37 A, Remittance of Pension Contribution by BSNL to DOT, Cancellation of 60: 40 condition and as such, full liability lies with the government etc.
The continuous discussion by the pensioners associations with the DOT, Minister, Issues taken by the M.P.s, historic Sanchar Bhawan March on 24th August 2022 participated by more than two thousand BSNL pensioners etc. etc. have compelled the DOT to call for a meeting and discuss the issue with associations. During the discussion, the DOT had stated that Pension Revision is delinked with pay revision as demanded by all associations. The discussion was based on 3rd PRC and the proposal of zero percent fitment was protested and rejected by all the pensioners organisations. The associations which participated in the discussion with DOT as well as the joint meeting of associations have given their report to their members which is well known.
There is unanimity among the associations that there should be pension revision wef 01-01-2017 and that It need not wait for Pay Revision. But there are two opinions on how to implement pension revision. AIBDPA and certain other associations have demanded for Pension Revision with 15% fitment as per III PRC, while AIBSNLPWA and certain other associations have demanded Pension Revision as per VII CPC. There would not have been a different approach among the pensioners associations had the Pay Revision of the BSNL employees been done and pension revision done based on the same. The non-pay revision has created the present situation.
A look in to the past pension revisions after formation of BSNL will be helpful.
1. Pay Revision wef 01.10.2000 was made converting from CDA scales to increased IDA scales demanded unanimously by all BSNL unions after thorough discussion amongst themselves. The pension revision was also made accordingly. It was an improvement from V CPC of 1996, which benefitted both workers & Pensioners. Pay scales were higher, IDA increase getting every three months, instead of 6 months for CG employees & pensioners. No union insisted to continue with the payscales recommended by the V CPC.
2. Pay Revision and consequent Pension Revision as per II PRC wef 01.01.2007 benefitted both workers & BSNL Retirees. No demand by any union of workers or associations of BSNL Retirees for pay revision / pension revision as per VI CPC as for central govt employees / pensioners. This also benefitted the workers and pensioners of BSNL.
3. III PRC recommended 15 % fitment for executives. Negotiations start for non executives. Pay scales suggested. BSNL refuses pay revision on the plea that BSNL is in loss. Pension Revision is also not done on the plea that pay revision is not done. This created the present situation of non-revision of pension. Had Pay Revision been done for employees, pension revision would have automatically followed.
4. In this situation, all pensioners associations demanded delinking of pension revision from wage revision since wages are to be paid by BSNL and pension is to be paid by govt as per 37A, as also cancellation of 60:40 condition which could be achieved after long struggles. AIBDPA and some other pensioners unions demand pension revision as per III PRC with 15 % fitment. Some other associations demand pension revision as per VII CPC.
5. Now that pension revision is delinked and that govt has the fitment of III PRC, without any complication, govt can give pension revision as was done wef 2007.
6.For pension revision as per VII CPC, the hurdles are many. BSNL Pensioners are getting pensions based on IDA scales while CPC scales are on CDA. BSNL pensioners are getting DR revised every three months, while as per CPC it is only once in six months. Reconversion from IDA to CDA will create innumerable anomalies. (It is to be noted that even after about two decades, some of the serious anomalies due to conversion from CDA to IDA scales are yet to be settled).
7.The fitment benefit of both III PRC and VII CPC is almost equal. While there are umpteen problems for pension revision based on VII CPC, the only problem for pension revision by III PRC is that pay revision is not done. Once delinking is effected, this problem is no more. How to remove the anomaly between pre-2007 pensioners and post-2017 pensioners are to be settled by giving them notional fixation with the same fitment at the time of retirement, if the pay revision is not made before that as per III PRC.
8.By demanding Pension Revision as per III PRC, the complications are almost nil as it is following the pension revision of 2007.
9. In the meeting on 17-10-2022 ,it is made clear that DoT and DOP&PW are thinking of pension revision on the basis of III PRC.
The above situation indicates that all pensioners associations can unitedly demand for pension revision as per III PRC with 15% fitment which is more achievable and beneficial to pensioners, as was done at the time of pension revision from 2000 and 2007.
Advisor, AIBDPA.