Pension issue in State Bank is a glaring item to be disposed off on an urgency footing, but as opined by many and as seen in practical terms, it is observed that there is not the requisite zeal on the part of all the parties concerned including the pensioners themselves. This is ironical. The reasons adduced and the feedback received on this count can be summed up like this:
- A big chunk of the pensioners consist of those who retired from the Bank’s service as senior executives with hefty superannuation benefits like gratuity and Provident Fund plus leave encashment. This equips them with sumptuous fund position to manage well the sustenance of themselves and their family without hankering for any supplementary income. This position applies to other categories of staff too with the difference that amount wise they draw much less compared to their seniors.
- The legal proceedings in the matter of pension are since pending for much longer a time in different courts of the country mainly including the one at the level of Delhi High Court and the other one with the Supreme Court of India, and this has caused a great frustration to the pensioners as a result of which they are a disappointed lot seeing no hope for any positive decision in their life time. They, hence, are losing their interest in the matter.
- Pensioners Association in different circles of the Bank, their Federation at the apex and also those representing the serving employees through their Unions and the Federation are unable to build up the required pressure for the purpose.
- Pensioners being in the wrong side of their age with junior most amongst themselves being in his/ her early sixties, majority of them do not find it physically feasible to fight the battle in the streets through gherao, dharna, hunger strike, demonstrations and picketing. Any kind of strike is of course out of question for them as they have nothing like any work to strike against.
V.K. Malhotra, an ex top rank leader of SBISA and a bosom friend of mine, shared his chagrin with me, emerge as it did in course of his efforts of mobilisation of the people on pension issue. He told me that he personally saw to it that around 200 retirees go through the article I wrote on the issue as ‘SBI Pension case -a perennial deferment’ a few days back. They did it but hardly a few of them showed any positive interest. He felt some what disappointed. I told him it just happens whenever you have to mobilise a cause or some mission. It is unusual if all the people uniformly endorse any move. Exceptions apart, by and large the majority of the people do endorse a move aimed at a common cause. For instance, one of my write-ups on the issue ‘A cursory look on Pension in State Bank of India’ was perused by around 32000 readers with around 900 comments, and it happened so in several other posts I wrote subsequently. It has to be borne in mind that a thumping majority of the pensioners does hanker for betterment in the amount of the pension payable to them and the issue has to be taken up in right earnest. Those who have not yet woken up will wake up if not today, positively tomorrow.