RBI officers, employees warn of mass leave on Sept 4, 5

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Aug 2018 10:04:20



Business Bureau

RBI officers and employees have threatened mass leave on September 4 and 5 to press for their pending demands. On the demands of updation of pension, one more option to CPF retainers to switch over to pension and grant of contributory provident fund (CPF)/ additional provident fund (APF) to recruits in the bank from 2012 onwards, the collective body of Reserve Bank officers & employees viz., United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees (UFRBOE), Nagpur have called upon the entire RBI workforce to avail of two consecutive days mass casual leave on September 4 and 5. It will be participated by all officers as well as workmen staff of the bank thus paralyzing central bank’s functions.

Pension in line of Central Government employees was introduced in Reserve Bank with effect from January 1, 1986 in lieu of CPF with the assurance that it shall generally be on the lines of Central Government Salary Package (CGPS) and any improvement in Central Government Pension Scheme will be extended to RBI pensioners. As Central Government improved pension periodically with every pay revision through Pay Commissions, in RBI also pension was brought in alignment with the pay scale of 1997 — 2002 covering pensioners upto October 2002. This was, however, objected by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India who forced withdrawal of the same in 2008.

Even though Bombay High Court injected the same for existing recipients, but the policy had to be jettisoned by the Bank under Government directive, resulting in stagnant basic pension for pensioners despite intermittent wage revisions for staff. This increased miseries of pensioners as cost of essentials and medical costs are going up by leaps and bounds. In realisation thereof and in view of their past assurance bank approached the Government time and again for permission to improve pension amount but to no avail. When employees were given option for switch over from CPF to pension, a few employees could not opt. After giving four such options in quick succession upto the year 2000, the Government put an embargo on any further option which excluded about 2,600 employees many of whom, having retired now, have been in chill penury as market interest rate has plummeted to an abysmal low and their paltry retiral amount of CPF now fetches almost nothing. The Government is extremely rigid about opening the option once more to give relief to them.

Those who are being recruited in the Bank after 2012 have been foisted with New Pension Scheme (NPS), from 2012 onwards which is, in essence, an undefined benefit as their savings will be invested in share market etc., and returns therefrom will determine their pension after retirement which is extremely uncertain. Hence, the unions have demanded for them some security in future in the form of introduction of Bank’s Additional Provident Fund Scheme, where employees’ extra savings will fetch assured interest under bank’s fund management. Or they may be given CPF like that in SBI.

Therefore, it has been decided by the RBI officers and employees to go on two days mass casual leave on September 4 and 5. The situation has been forced on RBI staff.

They want the support and sympathy of all, informs a press release jointly issued by D S Baghel, Chief Secretary of Reserve Bank Workers Union (RBWU), B K Chakravarti, Secretary of Reserve Bank of India Employees Association (RBIEA), M S Gupta, Secretary of All India Reserve Bank Officers Association (AIRBOA) and Akash Solanki, Secretary of Reserve Bank of India Officers Association (RBIOA).

Govt rejects RBI’s plea

In October 2017 RBI Governor, Dr Urjit Patel formally wrote to the Government, quoting extensively from the Parliamentary Committee report, that RBI would like to improve pension and provide option, which the Government most unceremoniously declined.

Government’s argument is that agreeing to RBI’s proposal will increase expenses and give rise to “contagion effect,” which is absolutely untenable. Firstly, the amount will be entirely borne by RBI from its own pension fund, whereas Government’s pension updation scheme for its pensioners is burdening the exchequer and adding to fiscal deficit. Besides, very recently they updated the pension of 25,000 professors and non-teaching staff of UGC sponsored Universities costing quite an amount.

Government have also introduced pension for 94,000 serving and 55,000 CPSE retirees. As regards, contagion effect, the Government, the largest employer, is creating the contagion effect itself through its periodic pension updation of 55 lakh Government retirees. Having given this benefit to its own pensioners, Government cannot stand in the way of extending same benefit to a few thousand RBI pensioners, whose entitlements in view of rapidly increasing costs are absolutely meagre.

Government’s rigidity have forced RBI employees and officers to react. Having waited patiently for long and persuading various authorities quietly and in a peaceful manner, now they are at the end of their patience.