New Pension Scheme has been introduced by the Govt. at the teeth of opposition of AIRF and other organized labour. This scheme debars Railway workers appointed on or after 1st January, 2004 from pension and family pension. They are to part with 10% of their pay and Dearness Allowance monthly towards contribution to NPS.
Railwaymen are the second line of Defence. The Defence Personnel are covered by Pension and Family Pension, while the same has been denied to a section of railwaymen appointed on or after 01.01.2004.
It would be pertinent to mention, how Railwaymen stood fast in trying situations. During Chinese aggression in the year 1962 there was massive exodus of civil population near in Arunachal Pradesh and North Bank of Brahmaputra, currency notes were burnt at the order of Dy. Commissioner, Tezpur(Sonitpur), the jail birds were freed, but the Railwaymen did not leave their duty post. In this connection, extract from Special Gazette published by the Railway Board during Railway Week, 1963 is given below.
“On the night of 20/21 November, 1962 following the exodus of Civil Population from Rangapara North in the wake of reported Chinese advance, Shri Rakhal Das Banerjee bravely struck to this post in the station, displaying an extra ordinary sense of duty and great courage, he ensured safe custody of Railway Cash amounting to Rs.26 lakhs”.Similarly, when Pakistan attacked India during 1965, the Railwaymen at the Western Sector saved lives of thousands and thousands of people by sacrificing their own lives while bomb was exploded on oil tankers(Railway Wagon Tanker) (This News was appeared in the Railwaymen of 1965, may be 1966), they parted the effected wagons from the rest, but in the effort, a good number of Railwaymen burnt alive.
Braving insurgency, Railwaymen continued to maintain the services in North Eastern Region, Naxal infested areas in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh etc. In May 2008, one Loco Pilot of Lumding, N.F. Railway saved lives of many persons at the cost of his own life and he was awarded „Kirti Chakra‟. The incident is as under:- “On 15th May, 2008, Shri N.N. Bora, Loco Pilot, Lumding, was booked to work Security Special from Lumding. When the Special reached near Tunnel No.3 at KM 57/12 between Lumding–Badarpur Section, terrorist pumped bullets, injuring Shri N. N. Bora critically. Despite critical injury, Shri Bora‟s devotion to duty and presence of mind worked, the train was pushed back to a safer place and Shri Bora succumbed to the injury. He could save lives of all his colleagues in the train, sacrificing his life”.Taking all these factors into consideration, all the Railwaymen, irrespective of date of appointment, should be covered under Pension and Family Pension Scheme.
EXTRACT FROM RAILWAY SAFETY REVIEW COMMITTEE, 1998
Vide para 2.1.1 and para 2.1.2, the Committee has recommended that, working in the Railways is more closely allied to the Armed Forces than the sometimes lacks Civilian Forms. As such, Railwaymen cannot be bracketed with other Central Government employees for the purpose of social benefit.
“During the colonial period, the Railways was conceived and operated as an auxiliary wing of the Army, primarily because it provided the transport muscle that enabled www.airfindia.comrapid movement of troops across the Indian sub-continent. There was, however, another less visible but important reason for the close linkage withthe Army. The colonisers realized that the Railways, by virtue of its complex nature, required a high degree of discipline and efficiency to be able to perform its role as the prime transport mode. This, in turn, meant a system of working more closely allied to the Armed Forces than the sometimes lax civilian forms. Thus, historically, Indian Railways(IR) has functioned differently from other Government institutions.” (Para 2.1.1.)
“…It is not only unrealistic but also dangerous to treat the Railways and its problems on par with other Government departments which has unfortunately been the case during the last five decades…” (Para 2.1.2)
Committee on Railway Safety was appointed by the Ministry of Railway under the chairmanship of Dr. Anil Kakodkar. Para 2.3 of the report is cited below:-
Railwaymen 1,600 8,700
Passenger/Public 1,019 2,118
(Unmanned Level Crossing) 723 690
It would be seen that number of Railwaymen killed and injured, while on duty during the period 2007–08 to October, 2011, was much more than passenger and public killed during the year.
No less a person than the Railway Minister himself advocated that the Railwaymen should be covered under Pension and Family Pension Schemes, irrespective of their date of appointment.
The then Hon’ble Minister for Railways, Shri MalikarjunKharge, had written a D.O. letter on29 March, 2014) to the then Hon’ble Minister for Finance to exempt the Railwaymen from the purview of New Pension Scheme(NPS) and cover them under payment of Pension and Family Pension, irrespective of their date of appointment.
The AIRF strongly feels that the VII CPC would recommend to exempt the Railwaymen from the purview of New Pension Scheme(NPS) and to cover them under Pension and Family Pension Scheme, irrespective of their date of appointment in the Indian Railways.