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Stepfathers get ticket to ride

Stepfathers of central civil servants can avail leave travel concession as 6th pay panel widens definition of Indian parivaar, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.
Hindustan Times | By Soumyajit Pattnaik
UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2008 01:10 AM IST

Stepfathers of central civil servants have reasons to rejoice as the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) report has ended the step-motherly treatment accorded to them. Till date, stepfathers of Central government employees have been excluded from the definition of family to avail Leave Travel Concession (LTC) benefits. Under the Central Civil Services (Leave Travel Concession) Rules, family means the government servant's wife or husband and two surviving unmarried children or stepchildren, married daughters who have been divorced, abandoned or separated from their husbands and widowed daughters who are residing with the government servant, parents and/or stepmother, unmarried minor brothers etc. All of them, however, have to be wholly dependent on the government servant. The family as defined under the rules excluded the stepfather.

But the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) in its report has said, "Presently, the definition of family for the purposes of LTC includes parents and/or stepmother residing with and wholly dependent on the Government employee. Stepfathers residing with and wholly dependent on the Government employee are denied the benefit available to similarly placed stepmothers. The definition also places an unreasonable restriction in such of those cases where parents, despite not having any source of income and being totally dependent on the Government employees, continue to live in the native place. The parents in such cases are denied the option to travel to the place of posting of the Government official under LTC. The Commission, therefore, recommends that parents and/or step parents (stepmother and stepfather) who are wholly dependent on the Government employee shall be included in the definition of family for the purpose of LTC irrespective of whether they are residing with the Government employee or not".

The Sixth CPC has further said, "The definition of dependency is being linked to the minimum family pension for all purposes. Accordingly, all parents and/or step parents whose total income from all sources is less than the minimum family pension prescribed in Central Government and dearness relief thereon would be included in the definition of family for this purpose. The extant conditions in respect of other relations included in the family including married /divorced /abandoned /separated /widowed daughters shall continue without any change".

But the CPC has rejected the demand for allowing travel abroad at least once in the entire career under the scheme as it's not is not in consonance with the basic objective of the scheme. The Government employee cannot gain any perspective of the Indian culture by traveling abroad, the CPC said. Besides, the attendant cost in foreign travel would also make the expenditure under this scheme much higher. The Commission is, therefore, not inclined to concede the demand to allow foreign travel under LTC.

Under the existing rules, not more than one wife is included definition of 'family'. However, if a Government servant has two legally wedded wives and the second marriage is with the specific permission of the Government, the second wife shall also be included in the definition of 'family'. This provision for the second wife to avail LTC is already there under the existing rules.

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