I have had occasion to express my views on this on a number of occasions only thing the addressees change.

I retired at the permissible ripe age of 60 at that time. Subsequently in March the same year, 1997, a very big batch was retired. 60 years coincides with the second childhood in a person’s biblical span. This childhood is not that of the toddler finding it difficult to stand erect. This second childhood is a continuation of the accumulated prowess, where if health is maintained, the individual can be of immense value to society even for another decade or more.

A well-filled reservoir of accumulated work knowledge is allowed to dry and wither as senile decay is permitted to set in. Unfortunately, the decision-makers themselves in their tottering dotage want to take adverse decisions like depriving the hard-earned gains of those pioneering staff when they retire.

Apparently, there appears to be the lurking fear of the upright, meek for those in authority. More than looking into the welfare of the meek, they look into the welfare of the mighty. We are yet to get out of the jungle where the lion share goes to the mighty that flex their muscles and enter cultured society where egalitarianism prevails.
Without treading on the corns of the medicos and bankers let us cite their example. Both hold pivotal positions, the former holding the very life of the people in their healing hands and the other the very nexus of the economy. Both have been to a very large extent pampered and are enjoying very high emoluments. Though they compare themselves with the First World, we compare them with the other professions and services in our own Third World. No wonder there is a move to raise the minimum salary to Rs. 40,000 pm. Our plight is that of group that has been deprived of a big chunk of payment paid and available to their peers.

Those in active service enjoying very remunerative packages, perks and privileges are being dropped like hot potatoes when they are sent on retirement even prematurely. Some retirees at the highest level in the country continue to enjoy their existing emoluments as pension with benefits of revisions as well. Some enjoy 90% with the benefits of periodical revisions, which may not be coeval but few years later. Some like the People’s Bank pensioners (after the year 1996 to around year 2000) get 90% of the last drawn salary less the VCOLA frozen at the time of retirement.

Of this last category (of which this contributor is one) those who retired after June 1996, the cutoff date and are still among the living are losing a princely sum of Rs. 25,000 to 27,000 pm as VCOLA and continue to have a pension with a few partial revisions. The difference between such a pension and that of present retiree is an unbridgeable yawning gap of over Rs. 60,000 pm for a person who retired as a manager/officer, for they have had seven substantial revisions and their VCOLA is brimming near Rs. 30,000 pm. By virtue of the collective agreement bank staff enjoys triennial upward revisions. The increase is not due to any sudden surge of extra prowess, it is purely to meet the escalating COL and to a certain extent the extra risk due to innovative services. It is true that the pensioners have their own association and the unfortunate part is their quondam trade unions that still have the clout, rarely touch their issues even with a barge pole.
The irony is the current staff or their champions in the unions too will join the retirees sooner than later. Are they not prudent enough to see the plight of the pensioners around them and seek safety nets for their future? If they recognize their own future needs, then they will also understand the plight of the retirees of the mid-90s who are losing over Rs. 50,000 to Rs.70,000 as their take home pension.

May be, the trade unions and even the associations may not see beyond their nose, yet there is a norm that a wage earners take home-pay cannot be reduced while he is still in service. Even for an employee under punishment his take-home pay is not diminished though his position, increment, etc may be targeted.

As a government with good intentions and have their nominees only in the board of directors they are expected to send directives that will ameliorate the poor plight of the pensioners who are paid less than what they should be paid and what their peers in the same bank are receiving like the other state banks. The board has a duty to sort out anomalies especially in the wage structure.

1. Will there be desirable change for the pensioners who are with the proverbial one leg in the grave?
2. Will the junior colleagues rally round to sort out the
unfortunate problem?
3. Will what is left of the ideal left parties of the past raise their voice once again for these senior pensioners who stood by them in their heyday, unfairly deprived of a big portion of their take-home pension?

A retiree of People’s Bank