Octogenarian widow of Army veteran struggles for pension

Amaravathi Bai, widow of an Army veteran, with Vekare Ex-Servicemen Trust’s Mandetira N. Subramani (right) in a photo taken about two years ago.

The 83-year-old wife of an Army veteran from Hunsur in Mysuru, whose family pension was discontinued more than three years ago, has been knocking on the doors of various agencies including the Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement and Army Record Office as well as the pension disbursing bank concerned. But, the pension is yet to be restored.

Amaravathi Bai, widow of late Ganesh Rao Bawle, who had served in the Army from 1948 till 1965, was receiving the family pension due to her ever since her husband’s death in March 2006 from the K.R. Nagar branch of the erstwhile State Bank of Mysore (SBM). But, the payment of pension stopped in July 2017 after the bank’s merger with State Bank of India (SBI).

Inquiries revealed that SBI’s Central Pension Processing Centre (CPPC), after the merger, noticed that Ms. Amaravathi Bai’s name had not been jointly notified in the Pension Payment Order (PPO) of her late husband even though her name was in the Pension Book.

The K.R. Nagar branch of erstwhile SBM, which is now SBI, was crediting the family pension to her account from March 2006 till June 2017, “in good faith”, without knowing that the rules provided for payment of family pension only if her name is jointly notified as the spouse in the PPO, Ms. Bai said while terming the lapse as a “procedural error”.

However, after the pension was stopped, Ms. Bai approached her husband’s Army Record Office, requesting for sanction of pension through a “Corrigendum PPO” through the Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, Mysuru. Based on the advice of the Army Record Office, Ms. Bai has requested the bank officials to complete the formalities by issuing a Life Time Arrears certificate, intimating the amount of pension paid to her between March 2006 and June 2017 so that the same could be recovered from the arrears of family pension that she is entitled from March 2006.

Despite her best efforts, her pension has not been restored, regretted Mandtira N. Subramani, a retired senior Non-Commissioned officer of the Indian Air Force, who runs the VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust (VKET), Mysuru, to take up the causes of ex-servicemen and their widows.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Subramani said the bank officials had not understood the problem of the widow of the army veteran, who fought at least two wars for the country. “She was being harassed to return the already paid family pension that runs into lakhs of rupees”, he said. However, Mr. Subramani claimed that after VKET’s intervention, the bank officials have assured to do the needful for Ms. Bai, who recently lost one of three sons.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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