GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM & PENSION ADALATS
Pensioners’ grievance mechanism has also been strengthened. The Department has started running a very effective online grievance portal entitled CPENGRAMS (Centralized Pension Grievance Redressal & Monitoring Mechanism).
In this system, any Central Government Pensioner can register a complaint and the same is monitored by DoPPW and are pursued effectively for their targeted final resolution by the Pension settling Department/Ministry within a 60 days of deadline.
The average disposal time of the 40,000 grievances received per annum has been brought down to 31 days. Such grievances can be registered through the Department’s mobile App, as well as postally.
TOLL-FREE CALL CENTRE
DoPPW went a step further and started a Toll-free call centre on its number 1800-11-1960, which has become immensely popular since its launch in June 2019 and more than 4800 grievances have been lodged through this mode already.
The Department also counsels senior citizens on their Pension related problems on this number. This has come as a huge relief especially to those elderly, who live alone and are not digitally savvy. From 2017 onwards, the disposal rate of the grievances is more than 90% annually.
In its zeal for doing even better, the Department got a deep-dive/root-cause analysis conducted by an independent third party. It was observed that some cases grievances are closed without qualitative resolution. It has, therefore launched a of on-the-spot resolution model for grievances redressal entitled Pension Adalat.
Chronic cases were culled out of the CPENGRAM system and also by giving advertisements in newspapers. The concept of Pension Adalat entails on-the-spot resolution of the grievances of pensioners.
These grievances are short-listed in advance for taking up in the Adalat.
This model has been evolved for speedy justice for the pensioner and avoiding court cases and undue harassment of the pensioner, who has failed to get the grievance resolved after approaching his department or/and various other stake-holders involved in the case.
After giving advance notice to all the stake-holders, which may involve the Head of Office (HOO), Pay and Account Office (PAO), Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO), Pension Disbursing Bank/treasury etc. they are called on a common platform in the presence of the pensioner/family pensioner or his/her representative during the Adalat to give an on-the-spot resolution.
FOUR ADALATS CONDUCTED
Four such Adalats have been conducted by DoPPW till now, the last one being conducted in the Union Territory of Jammu the very first outside the National Capital.
In the Adalat conducted all over India, in all Ministries on September 18, 2019, out of 12,849 grievances 10,982 grievances were resolved in a single day; in the Adalat held on August 23, 2019, a total of 4000 grievances got resolved. In the latter, video conferencing was done with 50 live locations outside Delhi in which DoPPW interacted directly with the Pensioners.
To overcome the problem of Pensioners and authorities in travelling, the Department took the initiative to take the Adalat to the states, where the grievance holders were located and already conducted first Adalat outside Delhi at Jammu Adalat on February 29, 2020, which resulted in the disposal of 290 listed matters across the table.
This has come as a relief to both the Pensioners as well as the Departments and will radically bring down the number of Pension related court cases.
NATIONAL PENSION SYSTEM
The NPS (National Pension System) falls within the jurisdiction of the Department of Financial Services. For this, DoPPW decided to start Awareness workshops for Central Govt employees.
It’s first Awareness program was conducted at Jammu to educate the subscribers about the provisions of NPS and also to educate the different Departments on the Dos & Don’ts with respect to the system.
In the detailed Q & A session, which followed on, several doubts of the employees as well as the staff of different Departments handling the NPS were clarified.
NPS cases pertaining to Central Government Employees, as well as those of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose accounts have certain irregularity were taken up and their respective Pr. AOs (Principal Accounts Officers) and DDOs (Drawing and Disbursing Officers) were advised corrective action, so that the subscribers do not suffer continuous loss, resulting in lower annuity value, post their retirement.
It was informed that there were 5756 cases of NIL credit to the NPS accounts of the employees of the UT of J & K, 5936 cases in which there was no nomination available and 36% subscribers’ NPS accounts were not getting credited by the 7th of the subsequent month.
J&K REQUESTS FOR TRAINING SESSION
The UT of J & K has requested for a training session of their DDOs, with reference to Central Government employees in Jammu, only 5 cases had NIL credit, 15 PRANS (Permanent Retirement Account Numbers) had no nomination.
Keeping in view the representations/court cases filed by several Central Government officials covered under the NPS (National Pension Service) whose recruitment had been completed before 01.01.2004, but due to some reasons, administrative or otherwise, could join service only on or after 01.01.2004. Now, an option has been given vide circular issued on 17.02.2020 to join the old pension system, if they so desire by giving one-time option up to 31.05.2020.
ONLINE PENSION SETTLING SYSTEM BHAVISHYA
Pensioners & Portal was immensely strengthened by adding the facility of online pension sanction process – ‘BHAVISHYA’ which is a software with a digitized end to end solution for Pension settlement. Bhavishya, has been made mandatory for all Civil Ministries/Departments w.e.f. 01-01-2017 which means that all cases have to be settled on this platform.
The retiree fills the forms online and every file movement is marked with an SMS to the retiree. There are strict time-lines set for every stake-holder to deal with the Pension settlement. Integration of Bhavishya software with all stake holders viz. PFMS and PARAS and e-Awas which has enabled generation of e-PPO. This has made the concept of e-PPO possible and approximately 16500 e-PPO have already been generated.
The e-PPO system is a landmark in digitization of pension processing and the Department is now tying up with Digi Locker so that the e-PPO goes directly to the Pensioners’ DigiLocker and remains a permanent record.
As of now more than 1 lakh cases have already been processed through BHAVISHYA software. In addition, more than 36,306 cases are at various stages of processing through 802 offices covering around 7109 DDOs of civil Ministries/ Departments on-board. Scope being expanded to cover Union Territories (UTs).
PRE-RETIREMENT COUNSELLING – SANKALP
With a view to reorient pensioners towards an active post retired life and to gainfully utilize their skill and experience towards nation building activities and social work, a new initiative namely SANKALP undertaken.
Under SANKALP Pre-Retirement Counselling (PRCs) are being organized for those employees who are about to retire in a year. In Pre-Retirement Counselling apart from their pension dues, information are also being shared about Active post retirement life. These sessions which are conducted all over the country have become immensely popular. Pre-Retirement Counselling Workshops (PRCs) were held for retirees, especially those Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) posted in far flung areas, deployed at the frontiers including Shillong, Jaisalmer, Jammu etc. 47 such sessions have been conducted by DoPPW so far.
Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops conducted and a pool of 760 Master trainers created. These Master trainers are able to further conduct Pre-Retirement Counselling (PRC) for their employees within Departments.
The Pensioners were involved in 24 cities to obtain Life Certificate through digital devices from home and hospitals of those Pensioners who were unable to go and personally give LCs in Banks. 4100 such DLCs were collected from home and hospitals.
1224 pensioners engaged by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) as inspecting officers/members of the flying squad during examinations in various cities etc.
The Department involved a number of identified Pensioners& Associations for motivating pensioners/citizens to organize Swachh Bharat movement in various parts of the country. Several cleaning campaigns were organized by the Associations in Guwahati, Bengaluru, Allahabad, Vadodara, Assam and Bihar.
PROMOTION OF DIGITAL LIFE CERTIFICATE FOR EASE OF LIVING OF PENSIONERS
One of the most noteworthy initiatives taken up by the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare is for the promotion of Digital Life Certificate.
Keeping in view the difficulty faced by those seniors, who are settled abroad after retirement, the Department on 20.02.2020 issued Consolidated Instructions on Life Certificate and Commencement of Family Pension for the benefit of pensioners living abroad, vide which the Bank branches abroad as well as the Indian Embassies/Consulates/High Commissions have been instructed to facilitate submission of Life Certificate and commencement of family pension.
Similarly, all Pension disbursing Banks have been instructed vide a circular issued on17.01.2020 to provide door-step Life Certificate facility to those pensioners who are unable to visit Banks in the month of November at a maximum charge of Rs 60.
PILOT PROJECTS IN 8 CITIES
To provide comfort to Pensioners aged 80 and above, O.M dated 18.07.2019 enables them to submit their Life Certificate w.e.f. October 1st every year instead of 1st November. The Department promoted the concept of DLC through a documentary which received more than 2 lakh hits on YouTube.
After conducting a pilot in 8 cities through Pensioners’ Associations for biometric and iris enabled digital data collection even from homes and hospitals , the Department has expanded the initiative to 24 cities With these efforts, the number of successful DLCs of Central Government Pensioners rose radically: 2015 (2,53,889), 2016 (8,00,056), 2017 (9,71,436), 2018 (12,44,957) and 2019 (13,23,861): which reflects the positive impact of this initiative.