Liberization of Travel Facilities on PRCP
BY SPEED POST
The Member (Staff)
Min. of Railways (Rly. Board)
New Delhi – 110001.
Sub: Leberalization of travel facilities on PRCP for post-2016 pensioners
Ref: Board’s letter No. E(W) 2016/PS5-1/8 dt. 31.1.2019
At the outset we would like to place on record our sincere thanks for relaxing the PRCP rules in respect of pensioners to travel by Rajdhani/Shatabdi type of trains.
2. In this regard we would like to add that large number of Members of BPS have complained that liberalization made under Board’s letter referred to above is discriminatory against pre-2016 pensioners vis-à-vis post-2016 pensioners as enhanced travel facilities in Rajdhani/Shatabdi type trains are denied to pre 2016 as per Board’s letter No. E(W)2016/PS5-1/8 dt. 31.1.2019.
Representations made in this regard have been rejected on the ground that (a) Railway servant is eligible to the class of PRCP which he/she was entitled to at the time of retirement as also (b) financial implications involved.
3. While welcoming the Board’s decision to liberalize PRCP rules, we consider the decision to make it effective from 1.1.2016 which leaves an unintended impression that such a decision was to favour a certain section of pensioners there by dividing the homogenous category of pensioners on the basis of date of retirement. Thus, it goes against S C Judgement of 17.12 1982 in the case UOI vs Nakara and others and SC Judgements dated 11.7.019 in Manipur pensioners Association vs State of Manipur. Also, it is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
4. We agree that a “railway servant is eligible to the same class of PRCP as he was entitled to at the time of retirement”. But here the question is not about entitlement of class. We are referring only to the enhanced entitlement of seats/berths type of trains in the same class as one was entitled to at the time of retirement.
5. Railway officers who retired during the long period of 3 years between 1. 1.2016 and 31 1.2019 would not have availed these higher facilities at the time of retirement which is being recast now under the revised instructions.
6. The argument advanced by the Railways that extending the retrospective effect beyond 1.1.2016 will entail financial implications does not hold water since the Railways are well aware that such implication is relatively much more higher in the case of those in service as they avail almost all their entitlements in a year and the number of dependents eligible under the rules is more, whereas in the case of pensioners the question of several dependents at this point of time is ruled out, except in very rare cases. In addition, the number of pensioners actually availing PRCP is a fraction of their total number which is attributable to their immobility due to fragile health in their advanced age (58%of Rly pensioners are above 70 yrs. of age as brought out by 7th CPC in Para 10.1.12of their report). So, it is unfair to advance this reasoning for pre-2016 pensioners.
7. When all other government departments gave special concessions to the senior citizens. Indian Railways did not lag behind and extended the gesture by offering concessional travel to senior citizens from general public.
Sir, in the light of the above facts, Railways should not hesitate to make lives of its own Sr citizens little more comfortable by extending the liberalized travel facilities to pre-2016 pensioners.
S C Maheshwari
Secy Genl. BPS