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Ministry clarifies after defence veterans complain of not receiving April pension

New Delhi, May 4, 2022- After some veterans from the armed forces complained that their pension for the month of April has has not disbursed till now, the Defence Ministry said that banks could not confirm identification of 58,275 pensioners and neither their identification was received directly on SPARSH by the time of monthly closing.

The ministry said to avoid hardships to such pensioners, a one-time special waiver has been accorded to these 58,275 pensioners to get their identification done by May 25.

The ministry, including the Defence Accounts Department, is undergoing a major transformation with an aim to bring transparency and efficiency in various processes and procedures.

With the broader agenda of digitisation and modernisation of legacy systems, the System for Pension Administration (Raksha) [SPARSH] as an initiative of the Ministry of Defence was envisaged to provide comprehensive solution to the administration of pension to the defence pensioners in line with the government’s vision of Digital India, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and Minimum Government, Maximum Governance.

The ministry said that all pensioners were told to complete annual identification in order to continue receipt of monthly pension, which is usually done in the month of November (2021) by all banks acting as pension disbursing agencies.

Due to the Covid 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 who migrated from legacy system to SPARSH up to March 31, 2022.

However, during the processing of pension for the month of April 2022, it came to light that annual identification of around 3.3 lakh pensioners was not updated.

A list was shared with all the 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, leading to successful processing of pension for all these pensioners.

However, the banks could not confirm the identification of 58,275 pensioners and neither was their identification received directly on SPARSH by the time of monthly closing, so the pensioners were not paid their April pension by April 30.  (Agency)

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