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New Delhi: In a major relief, the Centre on Monday relaxed family pension rules for missing central government employees, particularly those serving in militancy affected areas like Jammu and Kashmir, North-East as well as Naxal prone pockets.
As per the new Office Memorandum (OM), in all cases where a Government servant covered by National Pension System (NPS) goes missing during service, the benefits of the family pension will be immediately paid to the family of the employee and in case he re-appears and resumes service, the amount paid as family pension during the intervening time of his missing period can be accordingly deducted from his salary.
According to the earlier rule, the next of kin of an employee would not receive the family pension, if he went missing and the family pension would not be paid till he was declared dead in accordance with the law or till seven years had passed since he went missing.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh made the announcement on Monday.
Referring to the new OM of the Department of Pension in this regard, the Minister said, this is going to provide huge relief, particularly in those regions where instances of government employees going missing are reported more frequently.
The changes in the pension rules were brought about following cases of abduction of central government employees working in violence-prone areas, said the Minister, adding the move was taken "to instil confidence and to protect them and their family interests".
Minister informed that if a government servant covered by the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 goes missing, the benefits of arrears of salary, family pension, retirement gratuity and leave encashment are paid to the families of the missing employees in accordance with the instructions issued dated June 25, 2013.
Singh said the matter has been examined in consultation with the Department of Personnel and Training, Department of Financial Services and Department of Expenditure and considering the hardship faced by the family of such government servants.
The other provisions of the OM state that in all cases where a Government servant covered by NPS goes missing during service, the benefits of the family pension may be paid to the family if the employee had exercised the option for benefits under CCS (Pension) Rules on death or discharge from service on disability or invalidation or the benefits under CCS (Pension) Rules is the default option under the Central Civil Services (Implementation of National Pension System) Rules, 2021.
The benefit of arrears of salary, retirement gratuity and leave encashment shall be paid to the family in all cases where a government employee covered under NPS goes missing during service, irrespective of whether the employee had exercised the option for benefits under CCS (Pension) Rules or under the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (Exits and Withdrawals under National Pension System) Regulations, 2015.
Payment of the benefits to the family of the missing government servant would, however, be subject to the conditions and procedural requirements, as mentioned in this Department's OM dated June 25, 2013.
In the case of a Government servant covered under NPS goes missing during service and his family is given a family pension under CCS (Pension) Rules or CCS (EOP) Rules, the Permanent Retirement Account under National Pension System would remain suspended till he re-appears or till he is declared dead in accordance with the law.
In the event of the re-appearance of a government servant, the NPS account would be re-activated and the same account under NPS will become operative.
Recoveries of payments made to the family of the missing NPS employees would be made from the indemner as provided under this department's OM dated June 25, 2013.
However, in the event of a government servant being declared dead at any time or after seven years, government contribution and returns thereon from the accumulated pension corpus under NPS would be transferred to the government account and the remaining corpus comprising of employees' contributions and returns thereon would be paid to the nominee or legal heir as the case may be in accordance with CCS(Implementation of NPS) Rules, 2021 and family will keep getting benefits as per CCS (Pension) Rules or CCS(EOP) Rules.
The minister reminded that ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare had introduced a number of revolutionary reforms including relaxation in the provision of Family Pension for divorced daughters and Divyangs, the introduction of Face Recognition Technology through a mobile app for ease in submitting Life Certificate by elderly pensioners, Electronic Pension Pay Order, assistance from Postal Department to facilitate pension process etc.
He said steps like an extension of family pension to differently-abled child of a deceased Government employee and pensioner or giving a major hike in the family pension emoluments for Divyang children of a deceased government servant and pensioner are not only pension reforms but these are social reforms having wide implications. (ANI)