In a major relief, particularly for government employees serving in militancy affected areas like Jammu & Kashmir, North-East as well as Naxal prone pockets, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Science and Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Earth Science; MoS of Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today announced that the Government has relaxed family pension rules for missing central government employees.
According to the earlier rule, the next of the kin of an employee would not receive the family pension, if he went missing and the family pension would not be paid till the missing Government was declared dead in accordance with the law or till seven years had passed since he went missing. As per new the OM, in all cases where a Government servant covered by NPS goes missing during service, the benefits of family pension will be immediately paid to the family of the missing Government servant 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.
Referring to the new OM of 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. He said, cases of abduction of central government employees working in violence-prone areas have come to the fore and therefore to instill confidence and to protect them and their family interests, the changes in the pension rules were brought about.
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, leave encashment, etc. are paid to the families of the missing employees in accordance with the instructions issued dated 25.06.2013. He said, the matter has been examined in consultation with 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, it has been decided to extend the benefits of this Department’s OM No. 1/17/2011-P&PW (E) dated 25.06.2013 to the families of Government servants covered by NPS who go missing during service.
The other provisions of the OM states that in all cases where a Government servant covered by NPS goes missing during service, the benefits of family pension may be paid to the family if the missing Government servant had exercised option for benefits under CCS (Pension) Rules on death or discharge from service on disability/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 whether the employee had exercised 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 25.06.2013.
In the case of a Government servant covered under NPS goes missing during service and his family is given family pension under CCS (Pension) Rules or CCS (EOP) Rules, the Permanent Retirement Account under National Pension System would remain suspended till the Government servant re-appears or till he is declared dead in accordance with the law. In the event of re-appearance of 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 missing NPS employee would be made from the indemner as provided under this Department’s OM dated 25.06.2013. However, in the event of 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 remaining corpus comprising of employees’ contribution 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, as the case may be.
Dr Jitendra Singh reminded that ever since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare had introduced a number of revolutionary reforms including relaxation in the provision of Family Pension for divorced daughters and Divyangs, introduction of Face Recognition Technology through 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, moreover steps like extension of Family Pension to differently abled child of a deceased Government employee/Pensioner or giving a major hike in the Family Pension emoluments for Divyang children of a deceased government servant/pensioner are not only pension reforms but these are social reforms having wide implications.