Nana Babulal More retired on December 31, 2020, from the Tax collection and assessment department at K West ward. He died on October 31, 2021, eagerly waiting to get his post-retirement benefits and pension from the BMC.
More is just one of the 1,600 retired BMC employees who are awaiting their post-retirement benefits and pension to be cleared by the Mumbai civic body.
More who retired as a tax assessment and collection department inspector did not receive post-retirement benefits even after his death. "He was admitted to a hospital in October due to ill health. He died due to his illness. His family had a hard time arranging the cost of his treatment and some people of came forward and contributed," said one of More's colleagues who did not wish to be named.
Deprived of their retirement benefits such as a pension, gratuity, provident fund (PF) etc, these retired BMC employees and families have been running around from pillar to post to get relief from their financial crisis.
The number of pending claims of retired employees in BMC has piled up since 2019. “As soon as we retire, our salaries are stopped, hence we looked forward to our pension and amount that we get as our gratuity and provident fund. I retired more than five months ago. However, I have not heard from the accounts department or any BMC staff on my case. I do not have many financial issues. However people like More and many others and their family suffers. After spending a lifetime working with BMC, this is the treatment given to us,” said another retired employee from tax and assessment department.
Earlier, on the last day of retirement of employees in the corporation, cheques for all post-retirement benefits were given. Now, the computer system first verifies the claims of retiring employees. Their claims are settled after an audit conducted by the pension department, just like the accounts department.
In case of any error in the process, the claims of the employees concerned are put on hold. Retirement benefits are cleared only after those errors are resolved. The employees have to suffer, especially if any other entries including leave are incomplete in the service book of the employees. It takes six months to audit the service book these employees.
The service books are audited by the officers and staff of the accounts department. It is then examined by the establishment department and then by the clerks of the department concerned (from where the employee has retired). The final decision is taken by the pension department. If it is found to be noncompliant, those claims are dropped or rejected and one has to reapply then.
Meanwhile, BMC Employees' unions have blamed factors such as not completing the proposals on time, failing to identify errors in auditing proposals, inaccuracies in the service book computer systems not working properly, and insufficient staff in the establishment and accounting department for the pending proposals.
Ramakant Bane, general secretary of the Municipal Union, has written to the Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. "I have demanded that if there is any problem in cash clearance of leave of the employees, then in that case those matters should be kept pending, but pension, PF, gratuity claims should be paid on the day of retirement itself. If these demands are considered, the issues faced by retired employees and their families will be resolved."