STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and MoS PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh said that over the last nearly five years, the Modi government has accorded high priority to pensioners and elder citizens. Addressing the two-day training programme for officials from different ministries dealing with pension related matters, here today, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is the Modi government which, for the first time, recognized pensioners as an important section of the Indian society and took several revolutionary decisions to bring in ease of living for them. It is also the Modi government, he said, which acknowledged the potential of the increasing population of pensioners and elder citizens in contemporary India. Within a few months after this government took over in 2014, Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that, on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a path-breaking decision was taken to fix the minimum pension for government employees at Rs 1,000. He cited an anecdote when during the launch ceremony of this new provision at Chandigarh, an elderly lady broke down and said that for years together, she used to travel all the way every month to receive a family pension of mere Rs 35 and it was PM Modi who had, as God’s messenger, come to her rescue. Dr Jitendra Singh referred to numerous measures taken to simplify the process of Pension Pay Order (PPO) and other pension related matters, with the use of modern technology. He referred to Pension Portal with the facility to provide the Pension Pay Order to every retiring official on the day of his superannuation. He also referred to the practice of holding “Pension Adalats”, wherein on-the-spot disposal was done of the grievances related to pensioners or their families. Modi Govt’s health insurance policy, Ayushman Bharat and relief on taxation on interests on bank deposits of elder citizens were some the new breakthroughs introduced very recently, he said. The introduction of Anubhav Awards was a unique idea of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, disclosed Dr Jitendra Singh, wherein every retiring official was expected to write down an account of important experiences undergone by him during the course of his 30 to 35 years of service period. The written accounts adjudged as the best have been conferred Anubhav Awards for the last three years and these are now an important research material for future research as well as for improvisation in administrative reforms. The initiative of holding Pre-Retirement Counselling (PRC) workshops has picked up throughout the country and similar workshops have been popularly held in different parts of India with increasing participation.
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