Government employees retiring during coronavirus pandemic will receive "provisional" pension till their regular Pension Payment Order (PPO) is issued and other official formalities are completed, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on Monday.
The decision has been taken in wake of disruption caused by the coronavirus-led nationwide lockdown as retiring employees are facing difficulty in submitting necessary documents to concerned offices in time.
As per the office memorandum issued by Department of Pensions, the payment of provisional pension will initially continue for a period of six months from the date of retirement and the said period may be further extended up to one year in exceptional cases. These instructions shall also be applicable in cases where a government servant retires otherwise than on superannuation i.e. voluntary retirement, retirement under FR 56, etc.
Jitendra Singh, MoS Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, said that after the Modi government took over, the Department of Pensions had upgraded and equipped itself to deliver the PPO to the concerned employee without delay on the day of his or her superannuation. Besides this, the department also created a portal, which could be accessed by any government employee approaching superannuation to find out the status of his or her pension papers, he said.
However, because of the disruption in the official work on account of COVID pandemic and lockdown, Singh said, some of the employees who had retired during this period may not have been provided with PPO. "But, as an evidence of the present government's sensitivity towards the pensioners and the senior citizens, a decision was taken that in order to avoid a delay in the start of regular pension covered under CCS (Pension Rules) 1972, the rules may be relaxed to enable seamless payment of "provisional pension" and "provisional gratuity" till the regular PPO is issued," he said.
"This decision has been taken considering that because of the constraints of pandemic and lockdown, a government servant may find difficulty in submitting his pension forms to the head of office or may not be able to forward the claim form in hard copy along with service book to the concerned pay and accounts office in time, particularly when both the offices are located in different cities. This is very pertinent to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) who are constantly on the move and whose Heads of Offices are located in cities different from where the Pay & Accounts Office is located," said Singh.
In a separate notification, the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare (DOPPW) has directed all offices maintaining GPF (General Provident Fund) accounts to complete all credit entries, including accruing interest to the employees two years before retirement and then one year before retirement so that provident fund is also paid accurately in time.