The first part of this article was carried in the Bank Workers’ Unity issue dated 20th August 2022.
Under the CCS (Pension) Rules, minimum guaranteed pension is Rs.9000 and maximum pension is 50% of last drawn pay. And this scheme is available for spouse, crippled son, unmarried, divorced, widowed daughters etc.. Moreover, Dearness Relief is also granted on pension so as to compensate erosion in money value at every six monthly intervals. At the time of implementation of recommendations of Pay Commissions, Pension & Family Pension are also upwardly increased. But under NPS, the annuity does not allow DA/DR and Pay Commissions will not have any say on it and consequently no chance of upward increase. But there is always a danger of losing the entire money in the market crisis.
Smt. Prema, a primary Railway School Teacher in Villupuam retired on 13.04.2018 after 14 years of continuous service under NPS with Basic Pay Rs.46,000/-. She was entitled for Rs,23.000/- ie. 50% of Basic pay as pension, had she retired under old pension scheme. In the old pension scheme, 10 years of qualifying service is enough to get full pension i.e. @ 50% of last pay. She could commute 40% of Rs 23000 ie 9200 and get commutation value of Rs 9,04,617. Apart from this she would also receive her Provident Fund. She would get Rs 13 800 as residual pension for 15 years. She would also get Dearness allowance for full pension of Rs 23000. After 15 years, her full pension of Rs 23000 would be restored. After the death of the spouse, anyone in the family like crippled son, unmarried /widowed/divorced daughter would get the family pension at 30% of her last basic pay subject to a minimum of Rs 9000 plus Dearness Allowance.
But under the NPS, she had a pension wealth of Rs. 12 Lakh. She withdrew 60% of it i.e. Rs.7 lakhs. She was mandated to invest 40% i.e. Rs.5 lakhs in an annuity scheme. She is given a monthly annuity pension of Rs.2706/- at the rate of Rs 523 per lakh against her entitlement of Rs.23, 000/- under the old pension scheme. Under NPS, after her demise, her surviving husband will get the same amount of Rs.2706/- per month. After that the annuity ceases. The purchase price of Rs 5 lakh is returned to the nominee. She is not entitled for any commutation, DA and there is no upward revision during pay commissions. No GPF would be received. Even this meager pension of Rs.2706/- which is static is with attendant risk as the Rs.5 lakh, the purchase price is invested in share market with the risk including loss of principal.
Under NPS, she is not guaranteed a minimum pension either by the annuity service provider company or the Government. As per the annuity scheme if one is to get a minimum pension of Rs.9000/- one should have Rs.31,25,000/- in her pension wealth and should invest 40% of it ie. 12,50,000/- in annuity scheme to get Rs.9181/-. If she has to get Rs.23,000/- as pension she should have Rs. 1.12 Crore in her pension wealth and should invest Rs.50 Lakhs(40%) in annuity, which is totally impossible.
An unscientific /unconstitutional/ scheme:
The case of this above referred individual explains how people covered under NPS stand to lose heavily. A meager pension amount Rs.2706/- will in no way be equal to the minimum pension of Rs.9000/-plus Dearness Relief guaranteed under the old scheme. Annuity pension can never be treated as decent and meaningful pension. Further annuity pension is not only not guaranteed but also not adequate and not compensated for price increase.
This is in violation of Article 114 of the constitution. According to this article, the amount should not be varied or its destination altered. Besides, the contribution of employees is their property and it cannot be handed over to somebody detrimental to their interest. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has ruled that the pension is the right and not a bounty. The pensioner should not be left in lurch.
Scrap this New Pension Scheme:
After fully analyzing the adverse impact of this scheme, the sector wise organizations and central organizations have called for scrapping of this New Pension Scheme and restoration of Old defined benefit Pension Scheme. They are relentlessly fighting for this through varied agitation programmes including all India strikes.
We shall win
The working class has the strength and vigour in pressurizing the ruling class to achieve the old pension scheme for all through sustained campaign and struggles.
With mounting pressures, recently Rajasthan government has implemented old pension scheme and stopped recovery towards NPS. Chatisgarh government has also implemented the old pension to its employees w.e.f 1-4-2022. Both the State Governments are led by Congress Party which brought the NPS. Now the fire has been ignited and it will have its positive impact in all States. Several other State Governments had promised to scrap the NPS in their election manifesto and workers in these States are vigorously pursuing with their Governments for implementation of their promises.