Monday, 17 December 2018

Pensioner's Day - 17th December

Pensioner's Day - 17th December

Every year 17th day of December is celebrated as pensioners’ day since 1983.

History of pension is over 150 years. The Pension system in India was introduced by the British Government after the Indian Independence struggle in 1857. This was a reflection of the Pension system then prevailing in Britain. The Government decided to provide money cover to retired employees for their post retirement life. The System was finalised by the Indian Pension Act of 1871. However, Viceroy and Governors were given the final authority for granting pension. Thus the pensioners were at mercy of Viceroy and Governors. British Government occasionally compensated pensioners through increase in their pension to neutralise effect of inflation. Even though the retirement benefits were being given by the Government, they were not incorporated in Fundamental Rules made effective from 1-1-1922. Shri D. S. Nakara Financial Advisor to Ministry of Defense, (an officer from Indian Defense Service Audit and Accounts) retired in 1972. He faced problems in getting pension like all other pensioners. Therefore, he lodged a petition in the Supreme Court. Justice Yashavantrao Chandrachud, then Chief Justice heard the petitioner and the Government and ruled that ‘Pension is neither a gift nor a reward or bounty’ Pension is the right of a retired Government servant who had served nation for a long time.

Government is bound to ensure that her employees lead a peaceful and honorable life after retirement. This historical judgment was issued on 17 Dec 1982.This is the reason why 17th December is chosen as ‘Pensioners’ Day’. Supreme Court judgment is very clear. Pension is firstly considered as right of pensioner and secondly it should be adequate for leading honorable life. However, Minister from Government gave public statements on many occasions that the government cannot carry on with burden of pension and it should be stopped after pensioner attaining age of 75 years. This had been unexpected from well-educated and capable honorable minister of Government of India. However, the government did constitute a commission (known as VIth Central Pay Commission or 6th CPC) to study in details condition of pensioners and recommend remedies in true sense of Supreme Court judgment.

The commission obtained views from various ministries, individuals and various pensioners’ organisations. All India Central Government Pensioners’ Association (Head Quarter at Pune and branches all over India) had been at forefront to provide data and recommendations for considering various grievances of pensioners in all strata

i. e. pensioners who were holding posts in all groups ‘A’ to ‘D’ during their respective service). The commission considered all recommendations and submitted its report to the Government on 31st March 2008. The government had shown true spirit of Supreme Court judgment in accepting and implementing most of the recommendations of the commission. Financially, most of the pensioners have gained between 15 to 20%. The major gain for pensioners is acceptance of responsibility of payment of pension by the government in the light of Supreme Court judgment of 17th December 1982. However, there are certain aspects which the government should have considered and benefits given to pensioners.


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