Central pensions department to cover former railways officials

Updated on Jul 04, 2022 12:39 AM IST

The proposal regarding changing the pension rules was moved by the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances and law and justice.

There are about 1.5 million rail pensioners in the country, an official familiar with the matter said. (Agencies/For representation)
There are about 1.5 million rail pensioners in the country, an official familiar with the matter said. (Agencies/For representation)
ByDeeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi

The ministry of railways has cleared a proposal to bring pensioners under the jurisdiction of the department of pension and pensioners’ welfare (DOP&PW), documents accessed by HT show.

The government nod means pension rules that govern all former central government employees will also be applicable to railways officials. Till now, because of the department’s organisational structure, pensions were governed by the Railway Service (Pension) Rules, 1993, administered by the rail ministry and not DoP&PW so far.

Although the two sets of rules have commonalities, due to the different organisational structure of the railways, additional rules are applicable for the pensioners.

The proposal regarding changing the pension rules was moved by the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances and law and justice.

There are about 1.5 million rail pensioners in the country, an official familiar with the matter said.

While their data will likely be integrated with the Bhavishya portal, the pensioners may have to register on the website as well. The process to integrate the two will begin shortly. The move will benefit the pensioners in accessing in a quicker grievance redressal system, get real-time updated and have a dashboard of the pension details, the official said.

The pension services will not be interrupted. All the pensioners will be gradually onboarded, with the new ones likely to register with the portal. It also provide them benefits under the New Pension Scheme, 2021, the above-cited official said.

“Ministry of Railways agrees with the proposal of Parliamentary Standing Committee for bringing the Railway pensioners under the jurisdiction of the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DOP&PW),” states the document issued by the ministry accessed by HT.

It added that integration of rules has become more relevant with the merger of the railway and general budget. “This way, The duplicacy involved in adoption and circulation of the instructions of DoP&PW in Railway Services (Pension) Rules, by way of consulting various Ministries and then amending the said rules would be avoided. Similarly, CCS (Implementation of National Pension System) Rules, 2021 may also be made applicable to Railway Servants, as being proposed above for CCS pension rules,” the document added.

According to an official familiar with the matter, the different ranks of the railway ministry and the pension rules will be integrated with the government’s flagship pension tracking portal, Bhavishya.

“This way, any delay in pension payments can also be flagged and addressed immediately,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “A separate method of calculation will be required that will be done by the team to ensure that the pensions are tabulated according to the ministry’s rules,” added the official.

The organisational and operational requirements may include accommodating certain rules from the Railway Services(Pension) Rules which have no counterpart in CCS(Pension) Rules, 1972, by the department of pensions.

“Railway has some posts categorised as ‘Running posts’, the incumbents of which are termed as ‘Running Staff who are directly associated with the running of trains,” the document accessed by HT states.

“Keeping in view the arduous nature of their work, such running staff are eligible to a certain portion of their basic pay as emoluments in addition to their basic pay for calculation of their settlement benefits. Presently, 55% of their basic pay is taken as emoluments in addition to basic pay for calculation of settlement benefits.”

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