Identification delay stalls pension payment to some veterans, one-time waiver given: MoD

Defence Ministry recently introduced a portal, System for Pension Administration (Raksha) (SPARSH), to directly transfer pension to pensioners

May 04, 2022 02:26 pm | Updated 05:49 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Identification of 58,275 pensioners was not received by the time of monthly closing, causing a delay in April pension disbursement and a one-time waiver had been given and pensions would be disbursed by the end of the day, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Wednesday after an outrage on the social media from the veterans community over the delay.

“In order to avoid hardship to such pensioners, a one-time special waiver has been accorded to these 58,275 pensioners to get their identification done by May 25, 2022. The pension for the month of April 2022 has now been processed and pension is due to be credited by end-of-day on May 04, 2022,” a Ministry statement said. All such pensioners were being informed about pending annual identification through SMS and email, it stated.

The MoD recently introduced a portal, System for Pension Administration (Raksha) (SPARSH), to directly transfer pension to the pensioners.

Annual identification

Explaining the process, the Ministry said that all pensioners must complete annual identification in order to continue receipt of pension, which is usually done in November 2021 by all banks acting as Pension Disbursing Agencies. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the government had extended the window for annual identification due on November 30, 2021 up to March 31, 2022.

“Accordingly, SPARSH has been successfully disbursing monthly pension to over five lakh pensioners, including 4.47 lakh pensioners migrated from legacy system to SPARSH (retired after January 01, 2016) upto March 31, 2022,” it noted. However, during the processing of pension for April 2022, it came to light that the annual identification of around 3.3 lakh pensioners was not updated.

A list was shared with all Pension Disbursing Banks to share updated identification data, if any, and as a result, identification status of more than 2.65 lakh pensioners was updated on SPARSH by April 25, 2022.

However, banks - the previous Pension Disbursing Agency - could not confirm the identification for 58,275 pensioners and neither was their identification received directly on SPARSH by the time of monthly closing, the statement said, adding, “Hence, these pensioners were not paid their April pension by April 30, 2022.”

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