Welcome to Silver Innings Blog, Good Day
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Taking a serious view of the matter, the RBI has issued a circular (dated 9 April 2010) to various banks with an exasperated tone, directing the concerned banks to ensure that all entitled pensioners are paid their revised pension or arrears within 15 days from receipt of the circular. Additionally, it has also advised the banks to make a penal interest payment of 2% for any delay beyond the due date.
The RBI was forced to take this tough stand after receiving several complaints from pensioners, especially State government pensioners, alleging inordinate delay in disbursing the revised pension and arrears. Under the 6th Pay Commission recommendations, RBI had advised pension-paying banks to put in place a suitable mechanism so that pensioners could get the benefits announced by the government in the succeeding month’s pension payment itself. The controlling offices or head offices of agency banks were also advised to closely monitor and supervise the timely and accurate disbursement of pension to the pensioners.
An RBI review of the pension payment systems in various agency banks revealed the true story behind the picture. The circular highlights RBI’s findings as follows:
“Even though Pension Relief Orders were issued by the respective State Governments, there is inordinate delay ranging from one month to 18 months at the Agency Bank level in disbursing the revised pension as also the pension arrears. The delay was more pronounced in the case of those State Govt pensioners residing outside their States drawing pension from Agency Bank branches. To be specific, non-State resident pensioners have not received adequate attention and timely receipt of the revised pension/arrears for months together.”
The circular goes on to highlight the discrepancies of banks in administering the pension payouts. “Our experience was that customer service on pension payment matters was not effective at the branch level where customers normally interface with the front office,” said the central bank’s communiqué.
The RBI also makes note of the lack of coordination between the branches and the Central Pension Processing Centres, as also the absence of transparency in the calculation of the revised pension or arrears.
In a tone that is vividly indignant, the RBI questions the concerned banks’ indiscretions. “Pension payment is an agency function entrusted to you for a commission @ Rs60 per transaction and an amount of Rs487 crore has been paid to Agency Banks on account of pension disbursements alone during the year 2008-09. Although this is a significant income generating activity, it appears that it is still not given the due importance that it deserves.”
In view of the above, the RBI has advised banks to undertake review of the system of attending to customer service and have a pension accounts guide at all branches to assist the pensioners in all their dealings with the bank. Additionally, RBI has demanded that suitable arrangements be made, to place on the bank website details about the pension calculations, and made available to the pensioners at periodic intervals with sufficient advertisements to that effect.
With the RBI finally wisening up to the reality and putting its foot down squarely on the Agency banks, they will have to take a deeper look at their archaic systems and make life easier for pensioners. As the RBI rightly puts it, “Pension is the lifeline of the pensioners and any delay in affording their legitimate dues will rob them of the dignity of life to which they are entitled to”.
SBI is the source of RBI’s wrath on delayed pension payments
Moneylife had revealed in above article that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reprimanded pension-paying banks for delaying payments to pensioners and directed them to make good the dues immediately, along with penal interest.
It turns out that the reason RBI woke up is that a complaint was forwarded by a former highly-placed government officer to the deputy governor of the central bank, outlining the shoddy service given by the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), in the form of extensive delays in pension payments.
This former officer had apparently been kept waiting unsuccessfully for ten months to receive his revised pension under the Sixth Pay Commission. This complaint forced the RBI to take a deeper look at the systems put in place by SBI for pension payments. A joint team drawn from both RBI and SBI investigated the matter and found various discrepancies in the way things were being administered.
The Investigation Report finds that apart from the complainant, there were at least 1,800 non-state resident pensioners who were denied the revised pension payment for months together. Taking a serious view of the matter, the RBI has put in a strongly worded letter to the chairman of the bank questioning the lack of customer sensibility despite being a premier bank in the public domain. It has pointed to the absence of an effective system of customer service at the branch level where pensioners normally interface with the front office.
This also forced the RBI to inspect the system at other Agency Banks making pension payments. The findings were more or less the same across all Agency Banks.
In view of the above, the RBI has advised these banks, including SBI, to undertake review of the system of attending to customer service and have a pension accounts guide at all branches to assist the pensioners in all their dealings with the bank. Additionally, the RBI has demanded that suitable arrangements be made, to place on the bank website details about the pension calculations, and made available to the pensioners at periodic intervals with sufficient advertisements to that effect.
As with the other banks, RBI has demanded that SBI make the payment of the revised pension and arrears within 15 days from the date of receipt of its communication to that effect. Additionally, it has also advised the bank to make a penal interest payment of 2% for any delay beyond the due date, which is to be credited to the pensioner’s account automatically without any claim from the pensioner on the same day when the bank affords the credit for revised pension or arrears.
Monday, April 26, 2010
On 24th April ‘National Online Survey Report’ for review of NPOP and views of Senior Citizens was submitted to MOSJE Shri Mukul Wasnik by Sailesh Mishra at Bangalore at Inauguration function of Nightingale Center for Ageing & Dementia. The Minister assured that he will look into the matter.
On 8th Dec 2009 the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment (MOSJE), Shri Mukul Wasnik informed about Review of NPOP at National Dementia Strategy, New Delhi.
NPOP was formulated in 1999, but till date it has not been implemented by Central Govt / Pan India, due to various reasons including lack of political will. Various NGO's and activists have been advocating its implementation and review.
During these 10 years the world has changed, there has been significant demography change in India's population due globalization and improved medical facility and lifestyle. The fall of joint family system and rise in nuclear family system has brought new dimension to the care and welfare of Elderly. The population of aged people above 60 yrs as on 2009 is estimated at 90 million, i.e. around 8% of total population. According to UN the population of 60+ in 2050 will be around 20%.Life expectancy has increased 60% in last 60 years from 42yrs in 1950 to 69yrs in 2009.There is sharp increase in population of Young Old 60yrs to 69 yrs and Old old 80+. Due to this demand and needs of various age groups have changed. Now it is time for civil society and government to rethink their strategy to address the needs of Senior Citizens.
This survey was jointly conducted by Silver Innings Foundation and Society for Serving Seniors to assess the requirement and need of Senior Citizens from 19th March 2010 to 15th April 2010. It was hosted on the Survey Site www.questionpro.com at the link: http://questionpro.com/t/ADwMaZHLEV
The questionnaire was online for about a month. Wide publicity was given to this survey in a large number of web groups, blogs, websites and by email to Senior Citizens associations, Federations etc.
Some brief points of Report:
Top 5 Needs of Senior Citizens:
1) There is a need for Fast Track Courts exclusively for Senior Citizens : 82.30%
2) Old Age Pension must reach all deserving persons : 81.86%
3) Separate Medicare policy must be available for older persons : 80.53%
4) Senior Citizen must be defined as one who is 60 plus : 79.20 %
5) A National Level Elder Helpline (Four digit Code) must be set up : 77.88%
Top 5 issues of Senior Citizens:
1) Health & Medical Care
2) Accommodation & Shelter
3) Food & Nutrition
4) Psychological Needs
Some important Demands:
1. Affordable health insurance for senior citizens
2. Alzheimer’s must be included in the mentally ill disabled group in the census
3. Social Security Scheme for the Elders
4. A separate ministry for elderly persons
5. Life Long learning opportunity
6. Palliative care should be supported
7. Training of care givers
8. Inflation indexed interest for all savings instruments
9. The 80 Plus should be treated as a separate category for special assistance.
10. Separate plans for young old , old old and very old
11. Include comprehensive policy for Dementia in NPOP
12. Rural Elders should get special attention
13. Nodal agency to take care of the problems of senior citizens
14. R & D to be encouraged for different issues of Elderly
Read in Detail - ‘National Online Survey for Review of NPOP’ :http://www.karmayog.org/nonprofits/redirect/strred.asp?docId=3529
NGO demands action for welfare of Senior Citizens,submits letter of Protest and National Survey Report 2010 to Minister Mukul Wasnik
On 24th April ‘National Online Survey Report for Review of NPOP – National Policy of older Person) ’ and a Protest Letter was submitted to MOSJE (Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment) Shri Mukul Wasnik by Sailesh Mishra, President of Silver Inning Foundation at Bangalore during Inauguration function of Nightingale Center for Ageing & Dementia. The Minister assured that he will look into the matter.
The Protest Letter is as under:
Shri Mukul Wasnikji,
Hon. Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment,
Government of India,
New Delhi-110 001
1. Review committee for NPOP ( National Policy on Older Person)
2. NPOP review and Implementation
3. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act’ 2007 (MWSCA) Implementation
4. MOSJE department on Ageing
Reference: Ongoing Emails correspondence with you and MOSJE dept. since 15th Feb 2010
At onset we congratulate you and your ministry for taking various steps for Review of NPOP and schemes of welfare of Elderly.
This Letter is to bring to your kind notice the working of MOSJE department with regards to Ageing, NPOP and MWSCA
On 8th Dec 2009 you had informed us about Review of NPOP at National Dementia Strategy meet held in New Delhi. But On 28/01/2010 we came across an internal circular issued by your MOSJE about appointment of Four Member Review committee. This move has surprised us and other important stakeholders. No consultancy was done for appointment of this committee with important stakeholders.
We appreciate NISD Training programme and government intention to review the NPOP but it’s sad to note that only Four People from the entire country are made part of this very important committee. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MOSJE) which looks after more then 90 million Senior Citizens has neglected and ignored important stake holders ,NGO's and organization in Constitution of Committee to review the NPOP. There is growing anger amongst Senior Citizens and important stake holders for this secretive step of MOSJE.
It seems MOSJE was in hurry and did not inform nor consulted National Council for Older Person (NCOP) nor the Standing Committee of MOSJE. It’s a close door appointment and the process is not transparent and leads to doubt/ suspicious and abuse of Senior Citizens and important organization working for Senior Citizens.
In this regards we had also filed an RTI on 17th Feb 2010 and after nearly two months received a one para reply on 15th April 2010.
It’s also to be noted that MOSJE does not responds through emails and also is not aware of contact details of NGO’s, Organization and professionals working for Elderly - this was visible in circular issued for 2nd meeting of experts in Delhi held on 19th March 2010. It is also alleged that minutes of meeting of review committee and minutes of meeting held by some of this four members is "doctored". Also many times it’s difficult to find right person in MOSJE handling Ageing, the department looks toothless and unmanned. A separate ministry or National Commission might be one of the solutions to look after more than 8% elderly population in India.
There are many important Organization and People all over India who are actively working for /with for Senior Citizens and their rights, ignoring them will be big mistake. Already the earlier NPOP which was formulate in 1999 could not be adopted and implemented for more than 11 years and now there was need to review the NPOP due to changed scenario of society and need of elderly.
Most important is the view of common Senior Citizens of India - poll, survey, debate, News paper & Web Base suggestions etc could be an effective method to know the practical needs of man on the street, the common Senior Citizen.
We as an important member of civil society carried out ‘National Online Survey for Review of NPOP’ to look into needs and demand of Senior Citizens. This survey was jointly conducted by Silver Inning Foundation and Society for Serving Seniors to assess the requirement and need of Senior Citizens from 19th March 2010 to 15th April 2010. It was hosted on the Survey Site www.questionpro.com at the .The questionnaire was online for about a month. Wide publicity was given to this survey in a large number of web groups, blogs, websites and by email to Senior Citizens associations, Federations etc. Please find attached the detail Survey Report which will help, all of us to do justice and create a comprehensive NPOP.
If government of India is serious about making an realistic NPOP which will benefit different segment of Elderly viz. young Old, Old Old , Very Old then it should have progressive and positive mindset , a holistic approach is needed .It also need to include important stake holders and Senior Citizens themselves. Please find attached a comprehensive list of organization pan India working for /with Elderly.
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act’ 2007 also needs your urgent attention as it’s not adopted nor implement on whole, pan India. Many Senior Citizens all over country are harassed and abused. This act will bring some relief to our Elderly.
Silver Inning Foundation on behalf of all the Senior Citizens strongly demands Ministry of MOSJE to reconstitute/ extend the current committee to other very important stake holders- NGO’s , Institution’s , Geriatricians , Gerontologist , Professionals and Intra govt. departments for the benefits of millions of Elderly in India, please have inclusive policy and don't discriminate the NGO's and other important stake holders. Also we demand to increase the time line to one year for making any decision with regards to NPOP.
We hereby demand implementation of comprehensive NPOP & The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act’ 2007.
We herby once again raise our objection on constituting of current minor committee , time line given for review of NPOP , non implementation of NPOP & The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act’ 2007.An urgent step in this regards will be appreciated or else Senior citizens will launch nationwide protest.
Let’s work together for Rights of Elderly and create an Elder Friendly world.
Silver Inning Foundation
1. National Online Survey Report for Review of NPOP
2. List of important Stake holders
3. MOSJE circular dt 28/01/2010 for appointment of review committee
4. RTI filed on 17th Feb 2010
5. MOSJE RTI Reply dt 15th April 2010
6. Circular of 2nd meeting of experts held on 19th March 2010
Copy of‘National Online Survey for Review of NPOP’ : http://www.karmayog.org/nonprofits/redirect/strred.asp?docId=3529