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When the Personnel are too Personal! A saga of inequality

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

He, with a sad but proud grin, stepped out of that office, a multi-storied but dilapidated one with dusty furniture and gloomy faces, leaning on to the crutches to support the weakened and pale legs which were dragging on the floors, while trying to hold on to the heavy files, which contains piles of papers procured from various offices to prove that he is not a destitute, not drawing any other social welfare pension, not residing in a poor home , not having family income of more than Rupees One Lakh, a medical certificate to prove the disability and finally a certificate to prove that he is not a beggar!! ‘At last, I am going to get a pension of Rs 140/- per month’, he made a great sigh of relief, and carefully folded the Government Order number GO(P)11/97 issued by Government of Kerala and kept it back to the plastic bag which remained torn, as proof of the humongous efforts to get that paltry sum approved.

While walking across the busy street, his eyes got filled with gratitude, as this new pension will add to the pension on his wife, Suma, under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan-Dhan Yojana (PM-KMY), an old age pension scheme for all land holding Small and Marginal Farmers in the country, which is now the primary source of income for his family. However, the monthly pension of Rs. 1000/- being paid under PM-KMY is also based on the monthly contribution of Rs 200/- paid out of her hard earned money, he sighed.

Just across the junction there was a huge protest going on against the Governor of Kerala, who had questioned the illegality and arbitrariness of extending pension for the personal staffs of the Ministers and Opposition leader of Kerala, who were being appointed from among the party cadres. Though the sun was burning heavily and the legs were paining due to heat emitting from the bitumen laid road, he looked around, while listening to the argumentative speech of the party leader who was authentically questioning the constitutionality of the office of the Governor!

Though he was not educated enough to understand the intricacies of that lengthy speech, some logical questions aroused in his mind instantaneously. To get the pension benefit under EPS, one have to complete ten years of service and he/she should have reached the age of 50 years to get early pension. For a regular pension one must be at least 58 years old. The minimum eligibility period for receipt of pension is 10 years. A Central Government servant retiring in accordance with the Pension Rules is entitled to receive pension on completion of at least 10 years of qualifying service. In the case of Family Pension the widow is eligible to receive family pension on death of her spouse after completion of one year of continuous service or even before completion of one year if the Government servant had been examined by the appropriate Medical Authority and declared fit for Government service. If one is an employee of a private entity, he/she shall governed by the EPFO guidelines and other service conditions to get proper pension. However, in no case, an employee who is having service period of just two years will get life long pension!.