IFCI pensioners seek restoration of ‘legitimate’ benefits

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Updated: August 1, 2019 7:02:22 AM

As many as 600 retired employees of IFCI have approached the government against what they call the state-run infrastructure lender’s “abrupt” and “arbitrary” tweaking of rules to curtail their “legitimate” pension benefits, and sought swift restoration of these entitlements.

Strangely, the IBA pattern was made applicable only for those who had retired in the pay scales effective up to October 31, 2002, and not for all IFCI employees and pensioners. (File)

As many as 600 retired employees of IFCI have approached the government against what they call the state-run infrastructure lender’s “abrupt” and “arbitrary” tweaking of rules to curtail their “legitimate” pension benefits, and sought swift restoration of these entitlements.

In letters to the finance ministry, these people have alleged that IFCI, which had been revising half-yearly dearness relief for its pensioners in sync with the model followed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), changed its practice from February 2008 and “unilaterally” adopted the less-attractive benefits extended by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to its employees. Strangely, the IBA pattern was made applicable only for those who had retired in the pay scales effective up to October 31, 2002, and not for all IFCI employees and pensioners.

So, while handing out a raw deal to those who retired before end-October 2002, IFCI’s 2008 move allowed its then employees and pensioners who retired after November 2002 the more attractive entitlements in sync with the ones extended by the RBI to its employees, thus, resorting to unfair discrimination, these petitioners have contended.

For instance, those who had retired in the five years through October 31, 2002 and are entitled to monthly basic pension of up to Rs 3,550, the dearness allowance will be just Rs 19,122 per month as per the IBA pattern, much less than Rs 29,520 under the RBI formula, they said. The pension component typically includes the basic pay at the time of retirement and the dearness allowance, which is revised on a half-yearly basis.

Protesting against the IFCI move, these pensioners have written to the finance ministry, among others, in both individual capacity and through a registered forum.

“The arbitrary action of IFCI created two classes of pensioners and resulted not only in discrimination among pensioners but also inflicted huge financial loss to those who have retired in the pay scales effective up to October 31, 2002,” said SK Handa, one of the the pensioners affected by the IFCI decision.

“We are not asking for any additional or new benefits and are only requesting restoration of benefits as per the RBI pattern (single rate), which we were availing before they had switched over to the IBA pattern,” Handa said.

IFCI still follows the RBI model of remuneration for its current employees, he said.

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