In the year 2008 Government of India in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Personnel and Training decided that the Pension liability of All India Service Officers posted in the State also would be borne by the Central Government. In accordance with the said decision, DOP&T requested all the States to nominate a new “Designated authority” (DA) for processing and forwarding the Pension Papers of AIS officers to the Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO) for authorization of payment of Pension through the Bank. Initially, the Government of West Bengal nominated Deputy Accountant General (Pensions) of AG, West Bengal as the Designated Authority.
The experience of processing of pension through AG, West Bengal was not very satisfactory. There used to be delays in pension sanction and also in preparation of budget and its submission to CPAO on time. The budgeting problems arose due to non-availability of requisite data from Pension Sanctioning Authorities of IAS, IPS and IFS. Accordingly, it was decided by the State Government in 2011, that the role of “Designated Authority” should be taken over by the State Government to expedite the pension processing, budgeting etc., as per the practice in several other States. Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department was assigned this task of creating a new set-up for the “Designated Authority”.
The AIS Pension Cell in P&AR Department came into existence from 1st July, 2011. The Pension Cell is headed by Controller of Accounts, AIS Pensions and Ex-officio Deputy Secretary of the Department, who has also been nominated as DA for AIS Pensions by the State Government. Controller of Accounts is assisted by one OSD/Section Officer and other supporting staff. Principal Secretary/Secretary, P&AR Department is responsible for overall supervision of the work of AIS Pension Cell. One unique feature of the AIS Pension Cell is that it has been created by redeploying the existing staff of the Department and not even a single post has been created for the Cell. The AIS Pension Cell is located in P&AR Department, 2nd Floor, Block-IV of Writers’ Buildings.
The AIS Pension Cell receives the pension papers from the respective Pension sanctioning Authorities. After processing of Pension Papers, the DA issues the authority for drawl of Retiring/Death Gratuity and Commuted Value of Pension to the Pension Sanctioning Authority with a copy to the AIS officer. DA thereafter, forwards both halves of Pension Payment Orders (PPO) along with required details to the CPAO for authorizing the payment of pension through the concerned Bank Branch. The CPAO authorizes the payment of Pension through the concerned Bank Branch and endorsing both halves of PPO to the Bank Branch with a copy of authority to the AIS Pensioner and AIS Pension Cell.
In the old system of pension processing through AG, West Bengal; Pension Papers had to be submitted at least 6 months in advance to AG, for sanction of Pension in time. AIS Pension Cell takes less than one month for the same job. The Cell has processed 20 cases of AIS Pensions till 31st July, 2012 and there is no pendency.