To all State/Regional/Divisional Units:
AIIPA TALKS TO CHAIRMAN, LIC
The uppermost need of the hour is to initiate measures to find solutions to the three cardinal issues of the LIC Pensioners, stressed the Delegation of the All India Insurance Pensioners’ Association (AIIPA), when it met the Chairman and Top Officials of the Life Insurance Corporation of India on July 19, 2013 at Mumbai.
The Delegation of the AIIPA met Sri.S.K.Roy, the New Chairman and though it was sought to be a Meeting to exchange pleasantries and to express our Good Wishes, in person, for an useful tenure, the occasion was utilized, with Chairman evincing interest to hear our views to highlight our view points on issues of LIC Pensioners.
The Delegation congratulated the Chairman on his assuming greater responsibilities and wished him well. The Chairman reciprocated saying with the co-operation and wishes of all, he hoped to take LIC to greater heights and get legitimate encomiums for the Team- LIC.
The Delegation requested the Chairman to effectively pursue with the Central Government, issues of increased Ex-gratia to pre-1986 Retirees, Grant of Full Neutralisation to Pre-August 1997 Pensioners and updation of Pension for all.
We pointed out that LIC was within its ambit to decide on increased Ex-gratia as no Government Notification was necessary. We also said that the LIC was morally obliged to mete out justice to Pre-August 1997 Pensioners with the Board passing a Resolution for uniform rate of Dearness Relief, way back in the year 2001.
The Delegation also told the Chairman that fair play and natural justice demanded LIC Pensioners are not differentiated vis-a-vis Central Government Pensioners in the matter of updation of Pension.
When a reference to the Press Reports about huge pay outs by LIC towards settlement of Maturity Claims, this fiscal came up, Chairman explained the context in which such an observation was made by him. Expressing confidence of the Financial Stability of the monolith-LIC, Chairman said the reference was to the availability of such large amount in the economy that could go to new investments, that could be used to purchase consumer durables, a portion of which that could add to the savings, giving a boost to the economy.
Sri.Roy heard our views with an open mind and said he would get a detailed feed-back from the concerned Officials and take whatever steps were possible to be taken in the current situation and said he had other responsibilities too to be fulfilled.
We are happy to record that the interaction was fruitful and the Chairman, LIC, could well understand our feelings and the spirit of our representation and we could get satisfied of having effectively aired our views to the Top Most Official of LIC.
The Delegation of All India Insurance Pensioners’ Association (AIIPA) consisting of Com.M.L.Setiya, President, Com.K.Natarajan, General Secretary and Com.M.J.Damle, Joint Secretary, also met Sri.M.R.Kumar, Executive Director (P), Sri.T.R.Mendiratta, Chief (Per) and Ms.Aruna Seth, Secretary (PER/ER).
The Meeting was utilized to drive home the merits of the issues, the forceful arguments on the imperative to solve the issues, without getting bogged down on extraneous concerns.
AIIPA pointed out that the legitimate aspirations of the recipients of Ex-gratia for a comfortable living were being negated and both LIC and the Government were delaying the decision, obviously linking this with other issues. As the issue of enhanced Ex-gratia was not on the legal radar and as no formal Notification was required, LIC should, on its own, decide on the issue, it was stressed. The demand for increased Ex-gratia was most justified and even after the grant of Cash Medical Allowance, which also they eminently deserved, increase in Ex-gratia continued to be an issue requiring immediate solution, said the Delegation of AIIPA.
The E.D. (P), while understanding our strong concerns, said the Government was not favourably inclined to decide, presumably taking into account other implications. AIIPA once again urged the Management to reconsider the matter and effectively pursue in order that the decreasing tribe of these Senior Citizens get what is justifiably due to them.
Pointing out to the various averrings, both in writing and in person, the Organisation asked the Officials to ensure that the favourable inclination both on increased Ex-gratia to pre-1986 Retirees and Grant of Full Neutralisation on Dearness Relief to Pre-August 1997 Pensioners got materialized in concrete terms without the need for culmination of the legal process.
AIIPA again stressed on the ethical and moral standards that need to be maintained by the LIC in the background of the LIC Board Resolution of November 2001 and desired to know how come LIC was now reluctant, with the Central Government Affidavit on Dearness Relief in LIC vis-a-vis banks coming into focus.
We said the comparison between LIC and Banks was not relevant, as LIC Employees’ DA structure with Full Neutralisation came about from August 1997, while in Banks, employees got DA with Full Neutralisation only from May 2005. Already there is a demand in Banks for Full Neutralisation for pre-May 2005 Pensioners from that date and there have been court pronouncements and hence Dearness Relief with Full Neutralisation from August 1997 for LIC Pensioners was thoroughly justified, it was said. We also told the Management that we are happy that LIC has recognized the due date of eligibility for Full Neutralisation as August 1, 1997 from which date in-service employees were granted and hence pensioners after that date got Full Neutralisation in respect of Pre-August 1997 Pensioners too.
Though E.D.(P) and others heard our submissions with all the attention they deserved, were non-committal and AIIPA reiterated its position for an early breakthrough even before a judicial verdict.
The AIIPA also pointed out that LIC was now not inhibited by sustained contempt proceedings and with the SLPs in Supreme Court, LIC could take initiatives to sort out issues with a dialogue process, if necessary, to bring about the much needed solution on Full Neutralisation from August 1, 1997. The Officials expressed their concern about the plethora of cases before various courts and said they were finding it more and more difficult to keep track.
Taking up the issue of updation of Pension for all, AIIPA asked the Management to vigourously pursue the matter. When all Central Government Pensioners who had retired on various dated prior to January 1, 2006 were granted equitable pension to correspond to the current pay scales through G. O. s, LIC Pensioners too deserved to be treated on par.
Central Civil Pension Rules applicable to Central Government Employees had talked of Pension on the basis of Average Emoluments of the last ten months’ pay drawn by the employee at the time of retirement and LIC Pension Rules modeled on Central Civil Pension Rules also spoke on similar lines and now Last drawn Pay at the time of retirement has become the basis in Central Government.
AIIPA pointedly told the Management as both Central Civil Pension Rules and LIC Pension Rules had similar provisions and only with issuance of G.O.s, the Central Government had implemented uniform pension for all, LIC could also bring in updation with necessary amendments and argument of LIC Rules not providing for updation cannot be a ground to deny updation to LIC Pensioners.
LIC Officials responded with the argument of LIC Scheme being Funded Scheme as different from Central Government Pension Scheme (paid from consolidated Fund), AIIPA argued funding should not be a deterrent and also it could not be a problem with vast resources at the command of LIC and reiterated its demand for ending discrimination between LIC Pensioners and Central Government Pensioners.
Referring to the improvements recently brought about in the RBI Pension Scheme like Minimum Pension/Family Pension uniformly @ 30% etc., AIIPA wanted the officials to initiate steps to get similar improvements in LIC Pension Scheme and the officials assured to consider the same.
Eventhough the officials, after listening to us on all issues were non-committal, they assured to brief the Chairman of all the ramifications and we hope LIC would strive to take measures in whatever way feasible to meet our demands.
AIIPA urged upon the management to grant one more option under LIC Pension Rules 1995 and E.D.(P) informed the matter rested with the government.
About opening of a Pensioners’ Portal for use by LIC pensioners, we were informed that efforts were on and we hope the portal will be made available soon.
AIIPA pointed out that there has been cases of delay in credit of pension to individual bank accounts and suggested credit of pension on the last day of the month and LIC agreed to consider.
AIIPA Delegation raised the issue of payment of revised Pensionary Benefits to Class I Officers who had retired between August 1, 1992 and March 31, 1993. We explained that, having paid the difference in Gratuity on the basis of revised Basic Pay that came into vogue, LIC was left with no alternative but to grant pensionary benefits too on revised pay structure. The court decision treating revised pay as last drawn pay for purpose of Gratuity, had a cascading effect on payment of other benefits too. The Organisation referred to its earlier communication and asked the officials to concede the demand. The Officials agreed to have a fresh look into the whole matter.
On grant of benefits arising out of Jaipur High Court Order on allowing extra month service and consequential benefits for those whose date of birth fell on first of a month, LIC officials said the benefit has not been actually paid but only deposited in the court, which we differed and wanted to get this benefit extended to all similarly placed pensioners.
The Delegation also took up matters relating to Group Mediclaim. The Management informed that increase in Sum Insured and the concept of Floater Policy were under active consideration to be pursued with the Insurer.
On our demand for grant of Ex-gratia for expenditure over and above the cover under the Group Mediclaim Policy, the Officials pointed out of the possible increase in subsidy burden once the Sum Insured gets increased and expressed doubts about the possibility for bearing extra load for grant of Ex-gratia. However we insisted on our demand being considered favourably. The officials were also not inclined to respond positively to the issue of grant of advance for deposit as according to them, the provision of cashless facility should take care of the same. When we wanted expansion of the cashless facility, the officials informed that the same may result in increase in premium because of TPA. Officials also informed that discussions were on for the issuance of Identity Cards for the pensioners by the TPA for the cashless medical facility. On providing facility of Preventive Health Check-up for the pensioners and their families, though the officials were receptive but did not commit.
While welcoming grant of Monthly Medical Allowance to pre-1986 retirees and their spouses, AIIPA raised a demand for Cash Medical Benefit for all Pensioners. The Office bearers explained how Pensioners were subjected to recurring medical expenses without the need for hospitalisation for which there was no cover.
It was argued on behalf of AIIPA that, with advancing age, Pensioners had to spend more on health care which could not be got reimbursed and the only way to compensate them was grant of cash medical benefit. The Management was receptive to the idea and the Organisation is hopeful that with further pursuance, there can be an opening.
On the issue of recovery of Group Mediclaim Scheme premium from monthly pension, the E.D.(P) assured to talk to the concerned department officials to take an early decision. The officials further informed that as per the MOU with the insurer, the mediclaim bills are to be settled in 21 (twentyone) working days by the insurer and wanted us to let them know if there was inordinate delay in settlement of bills with complete details for their taking up with the insurer.
AIIPA feels that the meeting had helped to make the management more aware of the standpoint of the organisation, make them understand the hurt feelings of the pensioners over the non-settlement of issues and has helped the organisation to establish good liasion with the authorities for further dialogues for finding solutions.
AIIPA reassures that interests of the LIC Pensioners will be safeguarded and further advanced through sustained efforts and AIIPA will endeavour to talk to GIPSA also in regard to issues of GIC Pensioners.