SPARSH [System for Pension Administration (Raksha)], an integrated system for automating the sanction and payment of defence pensions was implemented by the Ministry of Defence recently.
This web-based system handles pension claims and deposits funds directly into the bank accounts of defence pensioners, eliminating the need for a third-party intermediary.
Pensioners can use a Pensioner Portal to examine their pension information, access services, and file complaints about redressal of grievances related to their respective pensions.
SPARSH envisages opening Service Centers to give last-mile connections to people who are unable to access the SPARSH portal directly for any reason. The two major banks dealing with defence pensions are PNB and SBI. Both have been co-opted as Service Centres, in addition to numerous offices of the Defence Accounts Department that are already serving as Service Centres for pensioners.
In the presence of Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary and Sanjiv Mittal, Financial Advisor (Defence Services) an agreement was signed by Officiating Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) Rajnish Kumar and officials of PNB and SBI in New Delhi. Under the terms of the agreement, pensioners can go to either of these two banks’ branches for any assistance relating to their pension concerns.
The Defence Secretary praised all those engaged in the process, saying,’’ The introduction of SPARSH met a long pending demand. The decision will benefit defence pensioners.’’ He also praised officials from SBI and PNB and urged them to facilitate the migration of manual data and make the procedure as simple as possible and finish it at the earliest.
Other initiatives for digital transformation
Earlier, to enhance the ease of living of Central Government Civil Pensioners, the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) has linked the electronic Pension Payment Order (e-PPO) with Digi Locker.
This effort will generate a permanent record of Pension Payment Order ( PPO) in Digi Locker while also eliminating delays in getting the PPO to new pensioners as well as the need to pass over a physical copy. As a result, if a pensioner’s Pension Payment Order (PPO) gets misplaced over time, they will not have to suffer.
By sending and accepting encrypted data from one authority to another in electronic form using e-signature(digital signature), the procedure has become paperless.
Veterans’ and Children Welfare
Veterans outreach was undertaken with enthusiasm in 2020, with the goal of alleviating veterans’ concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of outreach was to make sure that ECHS facilities were widely available, as well as to create a mobile phone application to provide wider access to essential information.
The outreach was well received, and it was able to fulfil the stated goal of reaching the widest possible audience in resolving the grievances.
About Controller General of Defence Accounts
The Defence Accounts Department (DAD) functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence and is headed by the Controller General of Defence Accounts.
The Controller General of Defence Accounts leads the Defence Accounts Department (DAD), which is under the administrative supervision of the Ministry of Defence. The disbursement of a Defence Pension is a complicated procedure involving several departments, and the Defence Accounts Department works around the clock to ensure that pensions are delivered on time.
The Department’s duty is to audit, provide financial advice, pay, and accounting for all costs relating to the Armed Forces, including bills for supply and services performed, building and maintenance works, pay and allowances, and pensions, etc.