Friday September 24, 2021

Increasing the limit

July 26, 2021

In the 2021-2022 federal budget, the government announced a 10 percent increase in pensions. However, this amount is too small and can barely cover the ever-rising cost of living. For pensioners, it is getting difficult to deal with the frequent increase in prices of essential items. The ruling party thinks that the pension bill is a burden on the national exchequer and does not realise that these people have given their youth to this country. The government this year has given a 10 percent increase in public sector salaries and pensions. However, keeping in view the country’s high inflation rate, an additional increase 10 and 25 percent has been given to civil and armed forces officers respectively. It was disappointing to see that the government conveniently ignored pensioners. The issue of the pension of retired armed forces officers has been raised multiple times, but the government hasn’t given any positive response on it. The armed forces officers who retired in the 1980s and 1990s find it difficult to meet their basic needs.

Their meagre pensions are unable to cover the present high cost of living. A lieutenant colonel who retired in the 1990s was entitled to receive the pension of Rs3,500. At present, a person who retires from the same post receives the pension of Rs100,000 per month. In this case, for the older pensioner, it will require so many years (with some increment every year) to reach the present limit. Previously, it was proposed that pension rules would be amended and the one rank one pension rule would be imposed to ensure that all pensioners receive the same amount. However, this decision couldn’t be implemented. The government ought to realise that old pensioners deserve an adequate increase in their pensions every year.

Mukhtar Ahmed

Karachi