Exemption of Railway employees from New Pension Scheme/National Pension System (NPS) – NFIR writes to Railway Board on 24th October 2015
National Federation of Indian Railwaymen
No. IV/NPS/PFRDA BILL/Part I
Dated : 24/10/2015
The Suresh Prabhu,
Hon’ble Minister for Railways
Sub: Exemption of Railway employees from New Pension Scheme/National Pension System (NPS)-reg.
Ref: GS/NFIR’s letter No. IV/NPS/PFRDA BILL dated 26/08/2015 addressed to the Railway Board (MS).
The Government of India had introduced New Pension Scheme (NPS) applicable to the Central Government employees appointed on or after 01/01/2004. Under the scheme, 10% of the Pay of each employee is deducted from his/her salary every month and equal amount is contributed by the employer and credited to the NPS Trust controlled by the PFRDA. However those who were appointed prior to 01/01/2004 have been covered under “Liberalized Pension Scheme” and their pensionary benefits like Pension, Family Pension etc., are guaranteed by the Government. While the New Pension Scheme now being re-named as “National Pension System” is not applicable to Defence Forces, the same had unfortunately been made applicable for Railway employees with effect from 01/01/2004.
2. The duties, responsibilities, risk involved, remoteness, arduous and hazardous conditions of railway employee are akin to that of Army Personnel and therefore NFIR has been urging upon the Government as well the Railway Ministry to exempt Railway employees from New Pension Scheme. The Federation was compelled to take strike ballot on pending demands, among them “Abolition of New Pension Scheme” was one of the most important issues. Responding to the demands, the Railway Board (CRB, MS, FC) had held separate meeting with the Federations on 7’th February 2014, wherein the justification for exempting railway employees from New Pension Scheme was discussed, consequently the Railway Ministry had agreed to approach the Government. Hon’ble MR Shri Mallikarjun Kharge had sent communication to the Finance Minister on 29th March, 2014 explaining case and justifying that the Railways deserves to be exempted from NPS. Unfortunately, there has been no positive decision from the Government till now.
3. In this context, NFIR also brings to your kind notice that the JCM (Staff Side) as well the Federations have decided to launch industrial action as the Government has not responded to the charter of demands of Central Government employees. During the meeting with you on 6th August,20l5, we have also mentioned some of the issues continued unresolved when CRB and Member Staff were present.
Railway Board (CRB, NPS & FC) held another meeting with the Federations on lst October 2015 on eight short listed demands which include “Exemption of Railway Employees from New Pension Scheme”. After discussions, the Railway Board has agreed to pursue the case with the Government again. In this connection, NFIR has earlier sent a communication with full details to the Railway Board (MS) vide letter No. IV/NPS/PFRDA BILL dated 26/08/2015 (copy enclosed) to facilitate Railway Ministry to prevail upon the Government to grant exemption to Railway from NPS. Federation is confident that the Railway Ministry is taking necessary action on the inputs given by the NFIR for presenting the case before you.
4. It is, however, shocking to note that a notice has been issued by the National Pension System Trust (NPS Trust) to all the subscribers under NPS that the Trust will start recovering fee/charge @ 0.01% of the AUM on daily accrual basis to meet its expenditure w.e.f. 1st November 2015. (Copy of Notice dated 19/10/2015 is also enclosed) This provocative and arbitrary decision has generated deep sense of disappointment and anger among railway employees”
In view of the above, NFIR invites your kind attention to the communication dated 29th March 2014 of your predecessor (Shri Mallikarjun Kharge) to the Finance Minister and in-puts given by the Federation vide letter dated 26/08/2015 for taking special initiative at the level of Government for exempting Railway employees from “New Pension Scheme” (NPS) as a special case.