Thursday, 24 April 2014

Pension for all:

Changing Indian Famuly

Indian families are well integrated and follow undivided status. This had been realty till middle of 20th century. After IInd world war and with aggression from western life style family system started disintegrating. Fuel was added by smaller size on account of population control. Presently triangular or quadrilateral families are considered as the best families at least in urban area. Over 40% of population is in urban area. Therefore, this needs to be considered. In a joint family it was well understood philosophy that the family must take care of every member of the family irrespective of age or member’s earnings. During certain age span every member was expected to earn for family. Earlier to this period or after, every member was required to be supported by earning members. This system worked for thousands of years and there had been no need for the government to think about senior citizens who physically become handicapped due to old age. Today we consider that our nation is a family. Members who take care of the nation are members of committee of ministers. Hence, as on today this committee of ministers must take care of every one irrespective whether earning or not.

Today the responsibility of committee of ministers consists of educating/training people to make them suitable for earning, provide them with suitable work to produce wealth and finally take care of those when they are unable to work on account of physical state. This responsibility is natural and if the committee of ministers is not in a position to deliver goods they should vacate their place for some others who can efficiently manage responsibility. Example of government servants eligible for pension is the best example to find how this responsibility could be undertaken by the committee of ministers.
1.            Monthly salary of the government employees is much less than their colleagues working in private sector. Thus the government saves on salary. In ideal condition the government should invest this amount (paid less) in a suitable fund say pension fund.
2.            Private sector contributes to some fixed maximum percentage to Providend fund. Private sector pays pension based on funds accumulated. The government doesn’t contribute to Providend fund. This saving must also be deposited in pension fund.
3.            The government retires employees based on age irrespective whether the person is physically and mentally fit to continue in service. In private sector the person can work till such time it becomes difficult for him/her to work.
Where the government did went wrong? Shri P. Chidambaram, UPA government finance minister said there is no money available to pay pension to the government retirees (pensioners). This means finance minister never thought on positive side or right side of pension. Shri D. S. Nakara Financial Advisor toMinistry of Defence, (an officer from Indian Defence Service Audit andAccounts) retired in 1972. He faced many problems in getting pension. Finallyhe lodged a petition in the Supreme Court. Justice Yashavantrao Chandrachud,then Chief Justice heard both petitioner and the Government and ruled that'Pension is neither a gift nor a reward or bounty'. Pension is the right of aretired Government servant who had served nation for a long time. Government isbound to ensure that her employees lead a peaceful and honourable life evenafter retirement. This conclusion is same as taking responsibility of every family member by the family. Although persons working in unorganised sector are not government servants they are family members and hence are eligible for care to be taken by the family. They also are eligible for pension.
If people are eligible for pension, the government must correct mistakes made in the past and work out a solution so every one eligible for pension gets it. The government can easily raise, maintain and multiply Pension fund through contribution from citizens, the government, taxes and investing assets created properly so they multiply and keep themselves with devaluation of currency. Probably mistake of not generating provision for pension may not be corrected but at least it can be corrected for those who start their working career now. Aadhaar Card can be used to track people who could be paid pension in their old age.

Old Age Home
Another important aspect the government should consider is shelters for senior citizens. It is accepted that most of the children cannot afford to by a big enough house for all members of the house including parents/grand parents. Children irrespective of age do love parents and seniors. They do wish to stay all together. Problem is high land cost. It is beyond capabilities of almost all children to afford a premise physically big enough to accommodate all. There is simple solution. Make available land free of cost without government or any one else spending for land. The solution is explained here. This method could be used for very low income group where persons can pay building cost but not land cost. 

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