AIIPA delegation presses for immediate steps for solution of LIC Pensioners’ issues
Insurance pensioners, more particularly LIC pensioners, demand of the management of LIC and through them, the Government of India to shed their inhibitions, immediately initiate measures that would pave way for grant of increased ex-gratia to pre-1986 retirees and/or their spouses, grant of uniform rate of Dearness Relief to all pensioners irrespective of date of retirement and for settlement of other pending issues, was the crisp message conveyed to the officials of LIC, when a delegation of AIIPA met them on February 21, 2014.
As part of the continuing endeavours through letters by the organisation, through expression of their justified anger by pensioners channelised by local units and most notably, through periodic meetings with officials of LIC and GIPSA, AIIPA sought for and met the Executive Director (Personnel) Shri.M.R.Kumar and other officials.
The delegation consisting of Com.M.L.Setiya, President, Com.K.Natarajan, General Secretary and Com.M.J.Damle, Joint Secretary, AIIPA, utilised the occasion to reapprise the management of the consistent view point of the AIIPA, that the twin issues of hike in ex-gratia and grant of uniform rate of Dearness Relief, specially to pre-August 1997 pensioners, should not be allowed to be in limbo on the plea of matter being under judicial scrutiny.
The meeting had been fixed well before the renewed proceedings before the Hon’ble Jaipur High Court was to commence and immediately earlier to the meeting, AIIPA had written a letter to the Chairman of the LIC. The purpose of the communication was to urge upon LIC to speed up steps for implementation of its Board Resolution in the context of latest developments and pointing out to the ethical obligation that was cast upon the management of LIC.
The delegation referred to the latest letter and host of others from AIIPA and its units and insisted upon immediate solutions. It pointed out that the Civil Appeals before the Apex Court were for verdict on legal matters and the stand of the organisation for favourable decisions even before the matter was heard by the Court as merits were not under dispute and/or the issue was not under purview has become more relevant in the current situation.
The AIIPA delegation told the management, while taking steps for early hearing of Civil Appeals, they should pursue with the Government independently for early favourable response. Recollecting the earlier indication of favourable inclination of the Government and pointing out to the availability of correspondence between LIC and Government, dealing with cost aspects of the proposals among other things, AIIPA said these should help the management to get the earlier favourable inclination revived, should help the management carry conviction with the Government and ensure the elder pensioners and recipients of ex-gratia, get what is their legitimate due immediately.
AIIPA wanted to know from the officials, the rational of filing an Affidavit in the Supreme Court quoting from the Government’s affidivit before the Allahabad High Court when LIC employees and pensioners got full neutralisation from August 1, 1997, while LIC decided as early as in November 2001 on uniform rate of Dearness Relief, implying full neutralisation, while there was favourable inclination for grant of this benefit along with wage revision due then and all the more when bank employees and pensioners became entitled only from May 2005.
AIIPA delegation underscored the restlessness among the pensioners, not only over the delay in getting solutions but also over the way the LIC management looked upon their problems. AIIPA also stressed that LIC should not cite pendancy of Civil Appeals as a reason for not finding early solutions.
The organisation forcefully put its arguments for a breakthrough and the Executive Director(P) listened to them patiently and said the Chairman and other top officials well appreciated the need for solutions. The Executive Director(P) assured the organisation that Chairman himself would follow up with the Government and himself and other officials would also be part of that effort.
During the course of interaction, it appeared the E.D.(P) understood the sentiments expressed in person and in the last letter about the pressure, presumably to the extent of creating a feeling of annoyance, though they said they had no such feeling. As Chairman and Managing Director were not available on that day, the AIIPA will try for an earliest occasion to meet them also to convey its views.
Beside the above issues, other important issues were also raised by the delegation and the response ranged from negativity to passiveness, to serious consideration. There was no inclination for extending the benefit to similarly placed pensioners with first of the month as their date of birth. However AIIPA has urged for reconsideration.
For the demand of revised salary and pensionary benefits for officers who had retired between August 1992 and January 1994, the Executive Director agreed to revisit the issue with open mind.
The organisation wanted LIC to take steps for increased minimum monthly pension, uniform rate of family pension etc. The management, it seemed, was not for taking up more and more issues all at once with the Government. The officials informed that the issues would be pursued at the appropriate time. But AIIPA demanded for solutions forthwith.
On payment of monthly pension on the last day of the month and on recovery of mediclaim premium from pension, the Executive Director(P) assued to talk to the concerned department officials for early decision.
On Group Mediclaim, the focus was on increased cover (both basic and optional), floater cover, grant of ex-gratia for High Cost Treatment, speedy settlement of claims and Cash Medical Benefit for domiciliary hospitalisation.
Executive Director(P) was favourably disposed to consider grant of Cash Medical Benefit but was reluctant on ex-gratia.
The delegation was told that LIC was proposing to negotiate with the insurer for increased cover, both basic and optional, floater cover on the lines of Group Mediclaim Policy for GIC employees and pensioners. We were also assured that subsidy will continue to be 75% of the increased Basic Sum Insured.
When AIIPA demanded inclusion of more diseases for cashless facility, the management opined that insurer may charge for TPA services in such a case and LIC desired to avoid such a situation.
AIIPA felt, at this juncture, insistence on ex-gratia may be redundant as increased cover was in the offing.
The discussions were cordial and AIIPA felt satisfied that it could project issues in proper perspective, make the management understand, appreciate and in a way, reciprocate as expected.
AIIPA wants to assure its members that their interests will be protected and furthered both in LIC and GIC, given the confidence reposed by the members, given the steadfastness with which members responded to its calls and last but not the least, given the way the units keep the members abreast of the developments and weans them away from rumour mongering.
“Tum agar saath dene ka vada karo, main yonhe mast nagme lutatha rahoon;
tum mujhe dekhkar muskurathe raho, main tumhe dekhkar geet gaatha rahoon.”