SPARSH has first time disbursed pension to Defence pensioners In July 2021. Since then till now approximately 30 Lakh pensioners have been migrated to the SPARSH Portal from the Bank CPPC/other PDAs. In this two and half years of period several issues have been reported to the team SPARSH but yet to be resolved.
SPARSH PPO number found non Functional
It has been found that in many cases, SPARSH PPO Number or user ID is not functional. Some pensioners have been migrated several months ago but SPARSH PPO number is not allotted to them till date. As a result the Digital Life Certificate is not being generated by banks, CDA offices, Record Offices, CSCs, DPDOs in the absence of SPARSH PPO number. Unless the SPARSH PPO Number is allotted immediately on migration, most of the pensioners may not be able to get their Digital Life Certificate by the scheduled date i.e 30 Nov 2023.
Failed to Inform Migration Msg to pensioners
In some cases it has also been found that information about Migration to SPARSH. Many a time pensioners are not being informed about migration to SPARSH either by CPPC or by Team SPARSH.
Lack of coordination between Record office and Team SPARSH
Since the data regarding pensioners are to be closely linked to the Record office but there is no Linkage between Record Offices and SPARSH. Even Record Offices of three Services have not been given links to upload documents like birth certificates, death certificates etc for updation to SPARSH.
Failed to Commence Family Pension within reasonable time
Uploading of Documents. A pensioner died in Jun 2023. Though the Death Certificate is sent to Record Office, the same is not yet uploaded onto SPARSH. The family pension is not sanctioned even after six months. In the legacy system, the RBI instructed the CPPCs of banks to commence family pension within 30 days on receipt of death certificate from widow of the pensioner. But the same is not being implemented by SPARSH. Now SPARSH has become a CPPC, all rules of RBI are also applicable to SPARSH. The pensioners are to be told how the documents can be uploaded. If Record Office is not allowed to upload Death Certificate, then the alternate system of uploading of death certificate should be known to all stake holders.
Incorrect Reflection of Data in SPARSH PPO
Though data in the E-PPO is correct yet the data in SPARSH PPO is incorrect. For example, the problem is mostly with date of birth of spouse in SPARSH PPO which still shows only year of birth though E-PPO shows the correct Date of Birth. The SPARSH should take the correct data from E-PPO. There appears to be no coordination between TCS and SPARSH in updating data on to SPARSH.
Non Redressal of Grievance
When grievance is forwarded to SPARSH, tracking number is given but soon the grievance is closed without rectifying the mistake in data.
Inability to Remit Pension on Last working Day of the Month
From the past experience, it may be stated that the remittance of pension only on last working day by SPARSH is not found possible for 100% beneficiaries. Many migrated pensioners did not receive their pension of October by 31 Oct 2023 and 30 Sept 2023. The pensioners rush to banks to be told that their pension was not remitted by SPARSH. Earlier in the legacy system 28 PSU banks and 4 private banks used to remit pension over a period of last four days. SBI has 17 CPPCs and yet the remittance was done over last four days. How can SPARSH remit pension to 33 lakh pensioners in one day when it was not possible by almost 50 CPPCs of banks?
Problems of Migrated Pensioners Living in Remote Areas
The problem of pensioners living in remote areas like in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J & K, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep have not been visualised by SPARSH. There are many localities in these remote areas where there are no cell towers. Even SMSs cannot be sent in such places.
9. Incorrect Fixation of Pension. There are few cases even though the Qualifying service in LPC furnished by PCDA (O) Pune is correctly reflected, the same is not shown in the SPARSH PPO. The officers are getting lesser pension as qualifying service in SPARSH PPO is incorrect. It clearly shows the data in LPCs from PCDA (O) Pune and E-PPOs are not being fed by staff of SPARSH who generate PPOs.
Inability to Project the Grievances to SPARSH
Presently there is no way a migrated pensioner can project his grievance. The method should be so simple that any pensioner can submit his grievance to staff in SPARSH. DPDOs are not relevant anymore. The extra staff should be posted to SPARSH so that each of th with proliferation of banks to remit pension. Such staff posted in SPARSH should be earmarked to handle grievances record office wise Army, Navy and IAF. The Toll Free No 1800 800 5325 seldom functions. Such staff in SPARSH should be able to give their WhatsApp mobile no and also email address so that migrated pensioners are able to project their grievances through emails and letters. Alternately the system should be the pensioner should approach his record office and in turn Record Office should be able to project the grievances to a specific staff in SPARSH to handle grievances.
Extension of Last Date for Submission of Digital Life Certificate
Banks are unable to generate Life Certificate of the migrated pensioner in the absence of SPARSH PPO No. Even if one navigates in SPARSH, only E-PPO no, service no and bank account no is required to be entered to get the SPARSH PPO No. Many of the migrated pensioners have not been given E-PPOs. Therefore, there is a necessity to extend the last date of submission of Life Certificate to 31 Mar 2024.
Non-Remittance of Pension in Oct 23
Many migrated pensioners migrated on 30 & 31 Oct 2023 have not received their monthly pension. It should be ensured the SPARSH should make arrangements to remit the pension of 33 lakh defence pensioners on the last working day. If it is not possible then like in CPPCs of banks remittance be spread over more than one day.
Non-Remittance of Arrears of OROP from Jul 2019
There are many who were migrated to SPARSH much before Mar 2023. The CPPCs of banks have washed off their
hands to work out arrears of OROP from Jul 2019 as remittance of pension and arrears are to be paid by SPARSH on migration. Insistence on submission of Non-Payment Certificate from CPPCs of bank in such migrated pensioners case is infructuous. SPARSH being a CPPC is required to pay penal interest of 8% on delayed remittance of arrears w.e.f 01 Apr 2023. Conclusion
Information Source : Brig CS Vidyasagar, President, TSEWA.
It is expected that Team SPARSH will provide the desired and legitimate service to the Defence pensioners in order to serve the purpose to migrate the pension system from Bank CPPC to SPARSH.