Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the several steps were taken to help Pensioners during COVID-19 Pandemic. In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, DrJitendra Singh informed that the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, since the lock-down on account of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, has been taking various initiatives for the pensioners, to ensure the timely credit of pension & retirement benefits and keep them healthy and aware during this time of COVID-19 pandemic. Some of major initiatives/support measures taken in this regard are enumerated hereunder:-
A web event was organized by this department with the pensioners covering about 20 Indian cities for a tele-interaction with Dr. Randeep Gulleria, Director, AIIMS, in which all aspects of COVID- 19 were covered to address Pensioners’ fear.
For ensuring preventive-health care of pensioners, another web event on Yoga was held covering about 20 Indian cities, in the course of which, a Yoga trainer gave a live demonstration and lecture to Pensioners and answered their questions, in order to boost their immunity during lock-down and to stay fit.
For enhancing immunity and overall health of pensioners, this Department had scheduled an interactive session on the topic “Power of Thoughts and Meditation in Covid-19 pandemic”.
To ensure timely credit of pension in cases, where PPO (Pension Payment Order) has been issued but not sent to CPAO or banks due to lock-down, the matter was taken up with Controller General of Accounts (CGA) to issue necessary directive to CPAO and CPPCs of banks to use electronic modes during the unprecedented situation of COVID 19 pandemic till normalcy returns.
Rule 64 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, was relaxed in order to ensure immediate provisional sanction of pensionary benefits amid the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, wherever an employee is likely to retire before finalization of his dues or is unable to submit the pension claim form.
In order to enhance “Ease of Living” of Central Government Civil Pensioners, a provision has been made to integrate the e-PPO (Electronic Pension Payment Order) with Digi Locker.
In view of the on-going COVID-19 and the vulnerability of elderly population to Corona Virus, the timeline for submitting the life certificate has been relaxed. All central government pensioners can submit Life Certificate from 1st November, 2020 to 28th February, 2021. However, the pensioners in the age group of 80 years and above can submit Life Certificate from 1st October, 2020 to 28th February, 2021.
This Department roped in the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) and utilized its huge network of Postmen and GraminDakSevaks in providing doorstep facility to pensioners for submission of life certificate digitally. As a result a huge number of pensioners across the country shall be able to avail doorstep service through Postmen/ GraminDakSevak, without visiting to bank branch or standing in a queue outside the bank branches by paying a nominal amount.
This Department is also instrumental in roping in an Alliance comprising 12 Public Sector Banks which does “Doorstep Banking” for its customers in 100 major cities of the country under Ease of banking reforms. As a result Public Sector Banks (PSB) Alliance has introduced the service for collection of Life Certificates under the umbrella of Doorstep Banking. This Department also issued instructions, whereby the Banks were directed to resort to Video based Customer Identification Process for obtaining a Life Certificate within the guidelines of RBI, which will obviate the need to resort to a bio-metric enabled device.