Minutes of the Advisory Committee Meeting for Web-based Pensioner’s Portal held on 29th August, 2014
MINUTES OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING FOR WEB-BASED PENSIONERS’ PORTAL HELD ON 29th AUGUST, 2014 UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF SECRETARY (PENSION, AR&PG)
A list of participants is annexed.
2. A meeting of the Advisory Committee for Web-Based Pensioners’ Portal under NeGP was held on 29th August, 2014 under the chairmanship of Secretary (P, AR&PG) in Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi with a view to seek suggestions etc. for further improvements of the Pensioner Portal.
3. Secretary (P, AR&PG) welcomed the participants and requested J S (Pension) to give a brief background of constitution and role of the Advisory Committee. JS (Pension) while giving the background mentioned that the Pensioner Portal has been progressing well based on the inputs provided from time to time by user Departments forming part of the Advisory Committee. The participants were also informed that since the last meeting of the Advisory Committee was held in June, 2013, the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare (DoP&PW) have added to the Portal two new components namely Bhavishya (an On-line Pension Sanction and Tracking System) & Sankalp (an initiative to channelize the skill and expertise of pensioners in to meaningful social activities post retirement). While giving a brief description of background and concept of these two new applications, a brief glimpse of these two web based applications was also shown online to the participants. Both initiatives were well appreciated by the member of Advisory Committee. The participants were also informed that the website of Pensioners Portal which includes latest circulars/instructions/activities of the Department is regularly being updated.
4. At this point of time and in the context of Bhavi a software, the issue regarding timely processing of pension papers of prospective pensioners also came up. Secretary (PARPG) desired that the Departments/Offices dealing with pension papers should play a pro-active role in discussing with the pensioners any existing discrepancies/shortcomings in the service records and how best these could be rectified! overcome to avoid delay in processing the pension papers. He desired that all required actions should be completed well before the date of the retirement for timely disbursement of retirement dues.
5. The representative of Bharat Pensioner Samaj felt that software similar to Bhavishya should also be introduced for Railway Pensioners. To this, ED, Railway Board informed that Railways is already in the process of setting up separate Portal for Railway Pensioners named Arpan. He also informed that Railways, on pension matters, have been following the circulars/guidelines etc issued by DoPPW. Secretary (Pension) mentioned that circular issued by DoPPW should get percolated to all lower formations/implementing agencies as soon as possible to avoid any erroneous interpretations of Rules etc. and BHAVISHYA utilised in all Ministries/Departments for ensuring timely sanction of pension.
6. Thereafter, the agenda points were taken up. I S (Pension) explained the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the decisions taken in the last Advisory Committee meeting. The representative of Bharat Pensioner Samaj had sought some clarifications on point No. 4 of the ATR regarding FAQ format, linkage with the Website of Pensioner Portal and extending cooperation with Pensioner Association, which was explained by the representative of M/o Railways. With regard to extending cooperation to the identified Pensioner Associations by We Railway, it was decided that the DoP&PW will reiterate their earlier instructions on the same. The representatives of Bharat Pensioner Samaj and Indian Ex-Service League also stated that the computers with Scarmer & Printers which were supplied to them in 2008-2009 under Pensioner Portal Scheme are now obsolete (being old version) and it should be replaced by new one with latest compatible version. On this, it was felt that National Informatics Centre (NIC) team may visit these Associations in Delhi and give a feedback on the issue.
7. Giving a lead for discussions for further improvement of Pensioner Portal, Secretary (Pension) wanted to know from the representative of D/O Electronics & Information Technology (Deity) whether the evaluation of Pensioner Portal has reached its maturity and whether the mechanism of the Advisory Committee imbibed to play Advisory Role for improvement of Pensioner Portal still exists. The representative of Deity informed that new technologies such as Mobile Service Delivery, Cloud Computing ( Meghraj), AppStore etc. have recently emerged in the field of Information Technologies. The Deity has taken an initiative to study 5 big NeGPs for revamping those NeGPs by incorporating these technologies. DoP&PW can also think of new architecture for revamping of Pensioner Portal. This matter can be further discussed with Deity and on the basis of discussions Deity may come up with a new Project. Use of mobile applications would be desirable. J S (Pension) also pointed out to the representative of Deity for completing the lrnpact Assessment of Pensioners Portal by an independent agency for which DoP&PW has been writing to Deity for the last one year or so.
8. The DDG, NIC was of the View that since the Portal is meant for Pensioners who may not be so computer savvy and other stakeholders, the users of the Pensioner Portal should be visited to have more realistic view of improving the Pensioner Portal. The representative of D/O Ex- Serviceman Welfare mentioned that the present format of CPENGRAMS do not contain provisions for sending reminders by nodal officers to its subordinate formations. This facility should be created and there should be a provision of ‘Alert’ for ‘Directions’ subsequently issued by nodal Ministry to its subordinate formations. He also desired that there should be such facility for search of cases of Defence Personal on the basis of Army ID number which is carried by Defence Personnel throughout their service period and thereafier.
9. The representative of National Ex-Service League felt the need for simplification of use of Grievance Redressal facility for rural areas as most of the Ex-Servicemen reside in these areas. He was, however, informed that since internet facilities are speedily percolating to rural areas also through Common Service Centres (CSC), there should not be any difficulty even for pensioners from rural areas to make use of facilities under Pensioner Portal. However, the use of CSCs by pensioners in village areas could be worked out as this would lead to more optimum utilisation of resources.