The Centre has asked all its departments to appoint nodal officers who would coordinate with the family members of a deceased government employee to assist in paperwork and facilitate expeditious disbursement of entitlements. In a letter, Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare Secretary Indevar Pandey said that details of the nodal officer may be prominently displayed on the website of ministries, departments, attached and subordinate offices.
“As you are aware, quite a few government employees and officers have lost their lives in the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. In many cases, the deceased employees and officers were the sole breadwinners of the family," he said. The untimely death of employees and officers has left their families devastated and in urgent need of funds in the midst of the pandemic, Pandey said. “It is, therefore, incumbent on the government to ensure that family pension and other entitlements in respect of deceased employees are released to their families expeditiously," he said in the letter issued on Thursday to secretaries of all central government ministries and departments. Upon the death of a government employee during service, in all cases, family pension is payable at the rate of 50 per cent of the last pay for a period of the first 10 years and at the rate of 30 per cent of the last pay thereafter, the letter stated. “I would also request you to appoint a nodal officer, not below the rank of Director/Deputy Secretary, in the ministry/department as well as in the attached/subordinate offices, who would coordinate with the family members of the deceased government employee to extend assistance in paperwork and facilitate expeditious disbursement of the entitlements," Pandey said.
National Movement for Old Pension Scheme (NMOPS) Delhi unit president Manjeet Singh Patel, who has been fighting for the scrapping of the new pension system to ensure employees get benefits of the old scheme, said the Centre’s decision will be of immense help for the bereaved family. “It is a very encouraging move by the central government. We urge all central government departments to ensure expeditious appointment of nodal officers to help families of deceased government employees to get their dues expeditiously," Patel said.
NMOPS is a non-profit organisation with over 13 lakh central and state government employees as its members. Pandey, in his letter, said the completion of the process of sanction of family pension and its disbursement through the bank may take some time, as it involves reference to the Pay and Accounts Office (PAO) and Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO). To deal with such situations, Rule 80 A of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 provides for payment of provisional family pension and also provisional death gratuity, pending issue of the Pension Payment Order (PPO), he said. The Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has issued instructions in July last year for sanction of provisional family pension by the head of office immediately on receipt of a claim for family pension along with a death certificate from the eligible family member, without waiting for forwarding of the family pension case to Pay and Accounts Office, Pandey said. Rule 80-A also provides for payment of provisional death gratuity by the head of office, once the family pension or death gratuity case has been forwarded to the PAO, the secretary said.
He said the department has separately issued instructions to all ministries on Thursday for expeditious disbursement of the entitlements of the family on the death of a government servant, along with detailed procedure thereof. “I would request you to issue suitable instructions to the officers concerned in the ministry/department as well as in the attached and subordinate offices, to strictly comply with the aforesaid rules/instructions for prompt payment of provisional family pension and provisional death gratuity to the nominees/family members," Pandey said. Simultaneously, the process to authorise regular family pension may be completed on highest priority to ensure first payment by the bank within one month of the receipt of the claim for family pension, he said.