The central government is busy preparing to present the interim budget on February 1. Before this, central employees and retired people have also conveyed their demands to the government. While serving personnel are raising their voice for restoration of old pension, pensioners have also put forward their demands before the government. SC Maheshwari, General Secretary of 'Bharat Pensioner Samaj' (BPS) has sent a letter in this regard to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and DoPT Minister on January 12 and put forward his demands. These also include the demand for increasing the old pension.
At present, after retirement, central employees get 50 percent of their last drawn salary as pension. There has been a demand to increase this share from 50 to 67 percent. Also, there should be no tax on OPS. Also, 'Bharat Pensioner Samaj' has demanded to implement the recommendations of Tata Economic Consultancy Services (TECS), which assists the Central Pay Commission (5th CPC) in the pension system.
Retired people struggling with inadequate pension
SC Maheshwari, general secretary of 'Bharat Pensioner Samaj' (BPS), in his letter said, it is imperative for the policy makers to take conscious steps towards revising the pension scheme of senior citizens and related financial policies. These changes are not just about numbers and percentages. These are about maintaining the dignity of retirees, ensuring their comfort and recognizing the contribution of a generation that has significantly shaped our society. Now is the time when the government should take concrete steps to improve the safety and satisfaction of many such people in their final years.
As SC Maheshwari notes, financial uncertainties often overshadow the golden years of retirement. Retired people have to struggle with inadequate pension. The central government should take immediate action in this matter.
Serious shortcomings of pension system exposed
Tata Economic Consultancy Services (TECS) for the Fifth Central Pay Commission (5th CPC) had highlighted several serious shortcomings in the existing pension system. Along with this, a serious deficiency in the pension system was also revealed in the historic announcement of the Supreme Court in a case of DS Nakara vs. Government of India. No work has been done on that yet. The crux of the issue lies in the declining purchasing power of pensions. Over time, inflation, the rising cost of essentials like food and medical care, steadily reduces the value of a pension. This phenomenon traps many retirees in a financial quagmire. This makes it challenging for them to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to while they were employed.
It is necessary to get 67 percent pension
TECS, in its consultation with the 5th CPC, had stated that a retired person is required to receive 67 percent of his last drawn pay as pension to maintain his pre-retirement standard of living. The pension currently being received is only 50 percent of the last salary drawn. This difference is not just a statistic. This reveals a tangible decline in the quality of life of countless senior citizens. Another aspect that adds to this bad situation is the taxation of pensions. That means pension is taxed. Old age income tax relief exists, but it is insufficient to bridge the growing gap due to inflation. There is an urgent need for the Ministry of Finance, Government of India to reconsider the recommendations of the STH CPC, especially para 167.11. Providing income tax exemption to pension along with dearness relief (DR) and fixed medical allowance (FMA) can provide significant relief.
Insurance of deposits of senior citizens
'Bharat Pensioner Samaj' has said in a letter to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and DoPT Minister that it is important to revise the interest rates for the deposits of senior citizens. The standard rate on deposits, currently ranging from 0.25% to 0.50%, and a revision of 2% more, can effectively offset the decline in the purchase price of their savings. Additionally, extending comprehensive insurance coverage to deposits of senior citizens in banks and post offices will provide an additional safety net. This will ensure greater financial security for senior people. That means the savings of senior citizens should be insured. Many times, the savings of senior citizens come at risk due to the bank being locked or any other problem. To protect themselves from this, their deposits should be insured.