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Pensioner`s plea

November 09, 2008

I AM a pensioner. After retirement I placed some of my savings in Behbood Savings Certificates and in Pensioners' Benefit Account in the National Savings. The profit rate till June was 11.52 per cent per annum.

In June the rates were increased to 13.56 per cent with effect from June 24 and we, like other thousands of pensioners, recycled our investment for the new rates.

However, we had to pay 0.25 per cent to one per cent (depending upon the period of holding) of the capital amount as service charge (or fine or penalty?) for getting new certificates.

Now after only three months the government has again revised the profit rates enhancing these from 13.56 per cent to 15 per cent (increase of 1.44 per cent) with effect from Oct 1.

But to get this new benefit, one has to encash all the investment and to pay this time exactly one per cent on capital investment. The net gain would be barely 0.44 per cent.

The question is if the government wants to give some relief to the old and widows and pensioners, why should it then prick them by charging them one per cent of their total investment (not profit) after just three months?

Interestingly, while in all other schemes certificates are issued by the name in the Pensioners' Benefit Account, only a passbook is issued and a drawing slip book (cheque book).

In fact, there is no sense of encashing certificates before maturity and in surrendering pension passbook for getting the revised rate of interest. The authorities concerned may consider that

1. It is sheer waste of precious bond papers and stationery.

2. Waste of working hours of staff and pensioners who have to sit for two to three hours each time.

3. Minimising the relief provided to the old and pensioners.

It is, therefore, suggested that the authorities concerned, who issue original certificates and pension passbooks may endorse the new rates of interest on the certificates and passbooks, along with effective date, putting their seal and signatures.

This procedure can, at least, be adopted in case of Pensioners' Benefit Account.

It is worth mentioning here that in all banks the rates are automatically revised, particularly on fixed deposits, without the encashment or even endorsement on the documents. It is changed in their computerised system.