AIBDPA/DA-PM/2020 April 25th, 2020
Shri Narendra Modi Ji
Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Government of India
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi – 110 001
Sub: – Freezing of Dearness Allowance to Central Government Employees and Dearness Relief to Central Government Pensioners at current rates till July, 2021 – reg.
Please refer to the O.M. No. 1/1/2020-EII (B) dated 23rd April, 2020 issued by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance in view of the crisis arising out of the pandemic Covid -19, ordering that the Dearness Relief to Central Government Pensioners will be frozen at the current rates till July, 2021.
In this connection, we on behalf of the All India BSNL – DOT Pensioners Association submit the following for your kind consideration and early necessary action.
Immediately on your appeal for donation to combat the spread of the pandemic Covid-19, the BSNL – DOT pensioners of more than two lakhs had voluntarily contributed to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund or the respective Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the best of their ability. About Rs. Fifty lakh have been donated by pensioners belonging to our association, through the association or directly, to these relief funds, including about Rs. Twenty lakhs to Kerala Chief Minister’s Relief Fund alone. Pensioners, as you are aware, are senior Citizens mostly inflicted with several diseases and physical debilities and are presently directed by the authorities to be confined to their homes. They are prohibited to go out and are depended upon others for their daily needs. Pension being only 50% of the last drawn salary or even less, they are seldom able to make both ends meet. The condition of the family pensioners are worse.
The above cited order of the Government of India has been a bolt from the blue for many pensioners. Since they are depended upon others for all their needs, the procurement of medicines, visiting hospitals, collecting groceries etc, they have to spend more. The expenditure has become more than what it was a few months back. In fact, presently they are in dire need of extra allowances to pull on. They, along with the millions of people all over the world, want the pandemic to end and therefore, support every decision of the Government especially the restrictions imposed on their movement and donation to PM CARES Fund etc.
The decision of the Government to freeze the Dearness Relief which had become due on 1st January, 2020 is unprecedented. We earnestly feel that the country’s economy has not reached such a situation that the Government needs to curtail the meagre pension of the old people. Never in the history of the country, even when it’s very existence was threatened by external aggression or during the worst financial crisis of 1990s, had the Government resorted to confiscate the pension income of senior citizens. No doubt, our country like many other Nations of the world is fighting to wipe out the pandemic, and the Lock Down has halted all economic activities. We feel that our country’s economy is comparatively robust and is capable of facing the challenges without resort to pauperizing the pensioners. While benefit packages are extended to considerably well to-do segments in the society, the denial of the due entitlements to the pensioners is extremely painful.
From the order it is seen that the Government has not only decided to freeze the DR entitlements but would also not release the arrears even after the normalcy in the economic activities is restored.
It would, therefore, be appropriate that the pensioners are excluded from the purview of the O.M.cited above. The decision to impound the arrears of Dearness Relief till July,2021 is extremely harsh on low income pensioners and family pensioners. Impounding the Dearness Relief, in our opinion, is not legally tenable without the consent of the concerned pensioner. The Finance Ministry is well aware of the rule that the entitled pension cannot be curtailed. Whoever has advised the Government that the Dearness Relief on pension should not be construed as pension is wrong and their interpretation is not at all tenable.
The Prime Minister himself has several times mentioned about the vulnerability of the senior citizens and the need to protect them and help them by the society, which has been completely ignored by the Finance ministry, while issuing the order.
We, therefore, appeal to your kind self that, for the reasons stated by us in the preceding paragraphs, the order issued by the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure cited, may be directed to be withdrawn forthwith.
K G Jayaraj
(from AIBDPA website)