Union minister Jitendra Singh on August 30 said that pensioners can now get electronic pension payment order (ePPO) directly to their DigiLocker, thus cutting all delays. DigiLocker is a digital document wallet for citizens that allows them to store and access important documents electronically.
He said this measure is a digital leap in a bid to ensure that during the COVID-19 pandemic, new pensioners are not forced to accept physical copy of their pension payment order.
The e-PPO will be integrated with DigiLocker for the convenience of pensioners, Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions, said. Using digital technology, the minister said, e-PPOs will be instantly sent to DigiLocker of the concerned pensioner, thus cutting all delays, according to an official statement.
"This would also address the frequent problem of loss or misplacement of original PPOs by some pensioners and the subsequent hassles and misery," he said. Singh recalled that during the lockdown period, the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare had taken a number of initiatives for complete digitalisation of the pension processing system, aimed at simplification of rules and ease of living for the elderly pensioners, the statement said.
These include amendment in Rule 64 of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, to ensure that no person retiring during this period should suffer on account of delays occurring in transfer of documents and pension processes, it said.
"Rule 80A was also similarly amended to start provisional family pension incase of the death of a government servant during service," the statement said. Singh informed that the department has passed on detailed instructions to pension disbursing banks to ensure that exception list of pensioners, who are unable to give their life certificate, was prepared and doorstep service ensured to obtain the same.
The Indian Postal Payment Bank (IPPB) has been roped in to obtain life certificate and also facilitate pensioners to withdraw money while sitting at home, it said.
A special care has been taken of the family pensioners, Singh said.
"A circular containing consolidated instructions for pension disbursing authorities has been issued to ensure smooth payment of pension to family pensioners as well," he said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.