June 1, 2013 3:15:56 am
Shoddy handling of Railways burgeoning pension rolls whose burden has touched Rs 22,000 crore has drawn flak from the pension ministry. It has now asked the Railways to get its act together by September. The national carrier has more than 12 lakh pensioners.
In a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Voluntary Agencies that handles pension issues of the Centre,V Narayanasamy,MoS for Personnel,Public Grievances and Pensions,criticised the Railways for failing to revise its pension list as per Sixth Pay Commission of 2006,sources said.
The absence of comprehensive records has led to instances where banks,by mistake,had either overpaid or underpaid the pensioners. The Railway Board has asked railway zones to do spot-checking at banks and recover overpaid amounts. Such checkings have revealed that there are many discrepancies across India.
The Railways admits that close to 52 per cent pension orders are yet to be revised. In the absence of revised rolls,it has to give arrears to its pensioners even in cases where pensions have started well after 2006. This has become a burden for its coffers. The board officials have told the zones that such cases were unacceptable.
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We have to cut a sorry figure in these meetings as we were found lacking in our moral and administrative responsibility towards old pensioners, the Railway Board has admitted to zonal railways.
The previous deadline to complete revision of pension rolls was March 31. Officials say the new deadline too might not be met. Mounting staff costs,including pension,is considered the heaviest burden on railway finances,especially in the wake of the Sixth Pay Commission. The estimated additional outgo is around Rs 73,000 crore in five years. Unlike other ministries,the Railways has to fend for itself to foot the huge costs.
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