ISLAMABAD: In a move to streamline the pension payment system, the government has decided to launch a new direct credit system (DCS) soon to ensure that all requirements and documentations for the process are address digitally to facilitate pensioners.

Under the proposed mechanism, pensioners drawing pensions under the federal treasury rules shall be facilitated to undergo biometric verification from any branch of a bank maintaining his/her pension account, every year in the months of March and October.

In case the pensioner is unable to undergo biometric verification due to incapacitation by bodily illness, infirmity or if his fingerprints do not exist due to old or a genetic condition, he/she will provide a life certificate signed by a person authorised under rules every six months.

Also, the declaration shall be obtained yearly from pensioners whose pension is terminable by their marriage or remarriage and shall be attached to the pension bill paid in September instead of December and June.

Moreover, the submission of declaration regarding marriage or remarriage will be dispensed with after the widow or daughter of the pensioner attains the age of sixty years. On top of that, if a person drawing pension fails to submit a life certificate or fails to undergo biometric verification during the months of March and October or a pensioner does not draw pension for consecutive six months, the account shall become dormant.

Until such time, the Ministry of Finance has ordered interim arrangements to address problems being faced by pensioners. The Ministry of Defence, Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR), Military Accountant General, Director General Pay, Pension & Accounts- GHQ and other authorities concerned have been asked to issue necessary instructions to all the banks and concerned accounts offices to facilitate the pensioners.

Under interim arrangements, the finance ministry has ordered that dedicated pension account was no more mandatory for drawl of pensions. In a notification, it said that pension shall be paid to pensioners through a bank account, either current or profit or loss account, maintained him his/her own name. For payment of pension through bank account under the DCS, no joint account would be valid. The ministry also discontinued the requirement of indemnity bond from a pensioner. The notification said no separate bank account was required for drawl or disbursement of pension for all new retirees.

It directed all institutions concerned — Accountant General of Pakistan, Military Accountant General, Director General Pay & Pension GHQ and the Ministry of Defence — to ensure the pensioner starts receiving pension payment on the date it falls due, in the same bank account, he or she was receiving the salary before retirement, if he or she so desired.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2021

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