NCCPA Email to Honourable Prime Minister on DR Freezing
National Coordination Committee of Pensioners Association
13C, FEroze Shah Road, New Delhi 110001
Shiv Gopal Mishra
The Honourable Prime Minister,
Government of India,
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.
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 freezed at the current rates till July, 2021. In this connection, we on behalf of the Central Government pensioners submit the following for your kind consideration.
The Central Government pensioners, immediately after your appeal for donation to combat the spread of the pandemic Covid-19 had voluntarily contributed to the Prime Minister Relief Fund or the respective Chief Minister’s Relief fund to the best of their capacity.
Pensioners, as you are aware Sir, being senior Citizens are 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 dire needs. Pension being 50% of the last drawn salary or even less, they are seldom able to make the both ends meet.
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 every of their needs, the procurement of medicines, visiting hospitals, collecting groceries et all, have become costlier 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 wanted the pandemic to end and therefore, support every decision of the Government especially the restrictions imposed on their movement.
The decision of the Government to freeze the Dearness allowance which had become due on 1st January, 2020 is an unprecedented one. We earnestly feel that the country’s economy has not reached such a situation that the Government needs to curtail the meager pension income of the old people. Never in the political history of the country, even when its very existence was threatened by external aggression or during the worst financial crisis of 1990s the Government has 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 are certain that you will be able to note that no other country has decided to confiscate the income of pensioners. We feel that our country’s economy is 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 not also release the arrears even after the normalcy in the economic activities is brought about. We can only characterize it as the unkindest cut. We also would like to point out that an appeal from your good-self for donation would have elicited greater response and the pensioners who are comparatively well off would have responded admirably and the Government might have collected more than what it would receive by the operation of the above cited order. That would have helped immensely the comparatively low income pensioners, especially the family pensioners.
It would, therefore, be appropriate that the pensioners are excluded from the purview of the O.M.cited. The decision to impound the arrears of Dearness relief in July, 2021 is extremely harsh on low income pensioners and family pensioners especially. 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 are wrong and their interpretation is not at all tenable.
We, therefore, appeal to you 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.