Central government employees retiring during the COVID-19 pandemic will get provisional pension till their regular Pension Payment Order (PPO) is issued and other formalities completed, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday.
This decision was taken because with the pandemic and the lockdown, a government servant may find difficulty in submitting pension forms to the Head of Office or may not be able to forward the claim form in hard copy along with service book to the concerned Pay & Accounts Office in time, particularly if both the offices are located in different cities, he said.
"This is very pertinent to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) who are constantly on the move and whose Heads of Offices are located in cities different from where the Pay & Accounts Office is located," said Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
He said that after the Modi government took over, the Department of Pensions and Pensioners' Welfare had upgraded and equipped itself to deliver the PPO to the employee concerned without delay on the day of his or her superannuation.
Besides this, in the last few years, taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphasis on digitalisation, the department has also created a portal, which can be accessed by any government employee approaching superannuation to find out the status of his or her pension papers, the minister said.
However, because of the disruption in the official work due to the pandemic and the lockdown, Singh said, some employees who retired during this period may not have been provided with PPO.
But, as an evidence of the present government's sensitivity towards pensioners and senior citizens, a decision was taken that in order to avoid a delay in the start of regular pension covered under CCS (Pension Rules) 1972, rules may be relaxed to enable seamless payment of 'Provisional Pension' and 'Provisional Gratuity' till regular PPO is issued, the minister said.
"Government employees retiring during COVID pandemic will be receiving 'provisional' pension till their regular Pension Payment Order (PPO) is issued and other official formalities completed," Singh said in a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry.
According to an office memorandum issued by the department, the payment of "Provisional Pension" will initially continue for a period of six months from the date of retirement and the period of "Provisional Pension" may be further extended up to one year in exceptional cases.
"These instructions shall also be applicable in cases where a government servant retires otherwise than on superannuation i.E. Voluntary retirement, retirement under FR 56, etc.," it said.
In another circular, the Department of Pensions & Pensioners' Welfare has directed all offices maintaining GPF (General Provident Fund) accounts to complete all credit entries including accruing interest to the employees two years before retirement and then one year before retirement so that provident fund is also paid accurately in time, Singh said.