The VRS window closes on 03.12.2019. There are only a few more days for it. The BSNL Management and the DoT have not come forward to clear some crucial uncertainties connected with the VRS-2019. Hence, it has become clear that neither the BSNL Management, nor the DoT, are going to ensure the following safeguards, being demanded by the unions and associations.
(1) Commutation of Pension.
Amendment to the Pension Commutation Rule 1981 to ensure safety measures to the employee who go on VRS. This is demanded because, according to the Commutation of Pension Rule 1981, an employee has to apply for pension commutation within one year of his retirement. Whereas, according to the VRS-2019, Pension Commutation will be given to the VRS optees only when they complete the age of 60 years.
According to the present rules, all those who apply for their Pension Commutation after one year of their going on VRS, will have to undergo a medical examination, which will create unnecessary complications and problems to a large section of the employees.
Further if any of the VRS optee expires before attaining the age of 60, his family will not get the benefit of pension commutation, which will be a huge loss to that family. This is a provision contained in the present rule. The unions and associations have demanded that, relaxation should be given to the VRS optees as a special case, from the above clause.
Both the above relaxations can be given only by amending the Commutation of Pension Rules 1981, by the Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare. Any oral or written assurance given by the DoT or BSNL Management will not serve the purpose. However, it is unfortunate that neither the BSNL Management nor the DoT has taken any step to ensure necessary safety to the VRS optees.
(2) Eligibility for 3rd PRC.
The Supreme Court judgement says that an employee who goes on VRS is not entitled for Wage Revision, implemented subsequently and retrospectively. As per the provision of the VRS-2019 also, employees who go on VRS are not entitled for 3rd Pay Revision. Para 8 (viii) of VRS 2019 Rule reads as follows:-
“The benefits payable under this scheme shall be in full and final settlement of all claims of whatsoever nature, whether arising under the scheme or otherwise.”
This means, the exgratia being paid to the VRS optees is the full and final settlement and thereafter, they are not entitled for the 3rd PRC, when implemented later on and retrospectively.
The unions and associations demand that the BSNL Management should give an assurance that, the VRS optees would be made eligible for the 3rd PRC. However, the BSNL Management has not taken any action to give this assurance. This clearly shows that the VRS optees are not going to get the benefit of 3rd PRC.
Under the above mentioned circumstances, those employees who have already given option for VRS, are requested to think twice and take a wise decision before the VRS window closes on 03.12.2019.