Wednesday, December 12, 2007

PFDA elected to IOPS

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has become a member of the Executive Committee of the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS). With this, the interim pension fund regulator has found a platform to have close interactions with its counterparts in other countries on various issues.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pension Account by Joint holders

No. 113 – 10/2004-SB (Pt.) 20.7.07
Sub: - Amendment to Rule 4 of Post Office Saving Account Rule 1981 regarding opening of Pension Account.
This office is receiving number of references for allowing opening of Pension Account by Joint holders. The matter was referred to Min. of Finance. Now, item 3 of the table below Rule 4 (Pension Account) of Post Office Saving Account Rules, 1981 has been amended by MOF vide its notification dated 11.7.2007 issued vide File No. 2/5/2006-NSII. Copy of this amendment is enclosed.
2. As a result of this amendment, a pensioner can now open pension account either individually or jointly with his or her spouse in whose favor an authorization for family pension exists in the Pension Payment Order. In case of withdrawal from Joint Pension Account, either of the joint account holders can make withdrawals.
3. At present the retired employees of Railways, Telecom and Postal departments can draw pension through pension account opened for this purpose. With this amendment, this restriction has been withdrawn. Now, retired employee of any govt. department can draw pension through pension account. For this purpose, the department concerned will have to approach this office for acceptance of terms and conditions as laid down for Railways and Telecom departments.
4. The existing Railway, Telecom and Postal pensioners can also convert their existing pension account into joint account. For this, the procedure laid down for conversion of single saving account into joint saving account may be followed with the exception that the concerned Postmaster/Sub Postmaster will verify the name of joint holder (spouse) mentioned in revised SB 3 with that of PPO and ensure that this joint holder is authorized person to draw family pension as mentioned in the PPO.
5. It is requested that this may kindly be brought to the notice of all Post Offices immediately for information, guidance and necessary action.
This issues with the approval of DDG (FS)
GOI MOF No. 2/5/2006 – NS II dated 11.7.2007
GSR. (E) :- In exercise of the powers conferred by section 15 of the Government Savings Banks Act, 1873 (5 of 1873), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Post Office Savings Account Rules, 1981, namely :-
(1) These rules may be called the Post Office Savings Account (Amendment) Rules, 2007.
(2)They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the official Gazette
2. In the Post Office Savings Account Rules, 1981, in rule 4, in the Table, in iterm No. 3 (Pension Account)

(i) Under column 2, for the entry, the following entry shall be substituted, namely:-
“A pensioner either individually or jointly with his or her spouse in whose favor an authorization for family pension exists in the pension payment order”.

(ii) Under column 5, for entry (b), the following entry shall be substituted, namely:-
“(b) In case of individual accounts, the pensioner and in case of joint account, either of the joint account holders, for making withdrawals”

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Parliament acts as an agitational body says Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed

In this year Lok Sabha functrioned for 66 days, the lowest in the new millennium barring the year 2004. A study conducted by PRS Legislaltive Research, and independent and not-for profit group, has revealed that parliament's total working hours in 2007 were nearly 40% less than in 2006. In this year, parliament introduced 56 bills and passed 46. Last year was much better, 66 introduced and 65 passed. Between 2000 and 2006 (barring 2004), on an average 75 Bills were introduced and 65 passed.
Political scientist Imtiaz Ahmed said such a development indicated a lack of consensus among political parties and the government's unwillingness to face parliament. "It also means that parlaiemtn now acts primarily as an agitational body rather than as a constitutional and legilative authority." he added.
In 2007, parliament fell short by 16 days from its original target for the year. The budget session wsas held for 32 days despite the original plan being for 42 days. Similarly, the monsoon session was planned for 23 days but held for only 16, The winter session,m though, went according to schedule.
Ths Lok shabha works for six hours and Rajya Sabha five hours a day. In 2007, the Lok sabha functioned for an average 4.3 hrs and Rajya Sabha for an average 3.3 hours each day. In comparison, the 2006 Lok Sabha had functioned an average 5. 7 hrs and the Rajya Sabha 4.9 hrs. This year, the Lok Sabha functioned for 280 hrs and the Rajya Sabha for 217 hrs. Compared to last year, it is 36% less for the Lower House and 42 % for the upper house.
Interestingly, while young MPs were way of participating in parliamentary debats, the older guards were m uch molre active in democratic discussion in the country's highest publicforum. According to the study, the maximum participatin in debats came from the 56-70 age group of MPs.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tax benefit a boost for those who took VRS

The main reason for the waning public interest in government sponsored small savings scheme is the low interest rates on these instruments. Particularly, five-year fixed deposit schemes of banks, which were brought under Section 80C in the current financial year, offer better returns. For example, State Bank of India is offering a return of 8.5% on five year deposits along with Section 80C benefits. The return on a five year POTD scheme, however, is only 7.5%.
The extension of tax benefits under Section 80C to the senior citizen savings scheme is relief to those above 60o or those above 55 who have opted for early retirement. Under the scheme, a senior can invest up to Rs.15 lakh for a minimum period of five years. The return given by the government on the scheme is 9%.
Under section 80C, an investment up to Rs.1 lakh in instruments like PPF, National Savings Certificate, POITD and five year bank fixed deposits are deducted from the taxable income of the depositors to calculate their tax liabilities. Equity-linked savings schemes and insurance premium are also part of this scheme. As the equity market has been booming for the last four years, equity-linked savings scheme of mutual funds and insurance have emerged as popular instruments.
In POMIA, one can invest up to Rs.4.50 lakh for six years and can use it as a monthly income scheme. The depositors will get a monthly income at the rate of 8$ per annum. At the same time, on maturity after 6 years, they will get 5% of the principal amount they deposited.
But as the scheme is not included in tax benefit schemes, neither the deposited amount nor the interest income is tax-exempt.

Bonus on Post Office M I S restored

The Union Govt. on 7th December 2007 restored bonus on the once-popular monthly income scheme of Post Office and extended tax benefit under Section 80C to five year Post Office Time Deposit and senior citizen savings schemes. It has also announced a bonus on maturity at the rate of 5% on deposits made under the post office monthly income account scheme, taking its annual return to 8.9% from the earlier 8.3%. But there will be no tax benefits on this scheme.
The bonus on MIS is restored at the reduced level of five percent against ten percent earlier. The bonus would be applicable to new accounts under the scheme from Saturday (8.12.2007).
The tax benefit on the POTD Scheme is aimed at attracting more funds under small savings, but a personal finance expert says the measure is not good enough to lure new depositors as there are better avenues available.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Membership verification

It is learnt that the order regarding verification of membership will be issued this month. Branches/Circles have to start preparations from now onwards and see that NUPE-C secures 50% this time. All Office Bearers at all levels are requested to start preparations immediately. The CHQ will chalk out a programme in the ensuing Central Working Committee Meeting to be held at Hyderabad from 18th to 20th Dec.2007 and issue cicular to all branches.

Wages for the strike period- Dec. 2000

Wide publicity was given in the news papers in Southern parts of the Country that our Hon.ble Minister Shri.A.Raja announced in a meeting at Dindigul (Tamilnadu) that the indefinite strike conducted in the month of December 2000 will be treated as leave.
Sri.C.Kuppuswamy, M.P (DMK) from Tamilnadu has been urging the Dept. of Posts to settle this issue as per the Minister's announcement. It is felt that the Minister too would have told the Postal Department to treat the strike period as leave.
If the proposal is agreed by the department, then the issue has to go to Cabinet for approval through Dept. Personnel & Trg. and Finance Ministry since it was Cabinet's decision to treat the above period no work no pay.
It is reliably learnt that the proposal is yet to move onwards from our department.

Payment of Bonus with revised ceiling

In the Lok Sabha Sri.C.Kuppuswamy, M.P (DMK) and Sri.Ramachandran (CPI-M) Kerala, raised the issue of non payment of productivity linked bonus to the C.G employees in the enhanced ceiling limit. The Labor Minister replied that the Govt. shall look into it.
As on now, the Finance Minister has not issued any order in this regard. The C.G employees in Delhi staged a Dharna in front of the Finance Ministeroffice at North Block in the last week of last month. The J C M Leaders are purusing this issue with the Govt. of India

Promotion to P A cadre from GDS

On the 19.4.2007 strike settlement, the department agreed that unfilled LGO vacacnies will be set apart for promotion of GDS employees to the P.A cadre by holding competitive examination among the eligible candidates who fulfills the educational and other qualific ation. The proposal was sent to Law Ministry for approval. It is now learnt that the file has been called back to study the proposal afresh by the Department.

Promotion to HSG I from HSG II

Upon our reminding the Dept. of Posts that all HSG I posts filled up since last year are on adhoc basis owing to the relaxation permitted by the Dept.of Personnel & Trg. regarding service condition in HSG II posts for promotion to HSG I, our department again sent a proposal to extend the relaxation for another year. The file was returned by the DOPT asking the reason for the extension of relaxation. The Dept. of Posts will again resubmit the file with suitable reply soon. The Department is yet to finalise the HSG I recruitment Rules. The CHQ has also reminded the department in this regard.