AI enabled common single pension portal for senior citizen – Dr. Jitendra Singh

MoS DoPT (PP), Dr. Jitendra Singh Said on Wednesday that Department of Pension & Pensioners’ welfare will soon launch AI enabled common single pension portal for senior citizen

Interacting with beneficiaries of Bhavishya, a portal for pension payment and tracking system, Dr Jitendra Singh said, in keeping with PM Narendra Modi’s motto of “Ease of Living” for all, AI supported portal will send automatic alerts to pensioners and superannuated elder citizens. He said, the portal will not only enable constant contact with pensioners and their associations across the country but will also regularly receive their inputs, suggestions as well as grievances for prompt response.

Most of the superannuated senior citizens including from paramilitary services and those about to get superannuated lauded the prompt pension processing through the Bhavishya platform and thanked the Union Minister for such seamless seva. Some of the hiccups from the banking side were brought to the notice of the Minister, which he said, would be taken care of automatically in the AI enabled portal with fixed responsibility.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, Bhavishya has ensured End-to-End digitization of the Pension processing and payment in tune with Modi Government’s objective of transparency, digitization and service delivery. He also advised the officials to conduct pre-retirement workshops at regular intervals to counsel them and learn from their experiences. The Minister reiterated that pension reforms are not only governance reforms, but have huge positive social implications.

Dr Jitendra Singh also complimented Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare for bagging the 3rd Rank for BHAVISHYA as per the recently released National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment 2021, among all the Central Government e-Governance Service Delivery Portals. He informed that the ranking is based on Accessibility, Content Availability, Ease of Use, Information Security & Privacy, End Service Delivery, Integrated Service Delivery, Status & Request Tracking. The Minister said, being a small Department, it is truly a milestone achievement since this has been done completely in-house by utilising the services of NIC and without spending huge amounts on outsourcing.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the ‘Bhavishya’ platform was made mandatory for all central government departments since 01.01.2017 and this system is at present being successfully implemented in the main Secretariat of 97 Ministries/ Departments including 815 Attached Offices, along with 7,852 DDOs on board. He also informed that as on date, more than 1, 62,000 cases have been processed i.e. PPOs issued which includes more than 96,000 e-PPOs. Dr Jitendra Singh said, Bhavishya 8.0 was released in August, 2020 with this new feature to PUSH the ePPO in Digilocker. Bhavishya’ is the first application to use the Digilocker Id based PUSH Technology of Digilocker and 3892 e-PPOs have been pushed to Digilocker till date. Bhavishya provides an option to retiring employees for linking their Digilocker account with “Bhavishya” to get e-PPO. This initiative has created a permanent record safe from destruction of pensioners. He said, the ‘Bhavishya’ system has now been made available on a Mobile App, thereby making it simple especially for those Para Military Forces who are out in the fields to keep track of their pension cases.

Secretary, Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, Shri V. Srinivas said, PPO in Digilocker eliminates delays in forwarding PPO to new Pensioners, as well as the necessity of handing over a physical copy. Considering that a very large number of retirees are from CAPFs who serve in far flung areas of the country, such a software is a boon both in terms of Ease of processing as well as speed and accuracy in pension processing.

From the retiree filing his/her papers online till issue of the PPO in electronic format going into the Digilocker, this platform has shown the intention of complete transparency and efficiency of the Government. Every stakeholder has a deadline to complete their part of the pension processing and alerts keep going on the pensioners’ mobile. As was in the past, this obviates the necessity of the retiree to keep chasing his file from seat-to-seat months before his retirement. Since the software is fed with the latest pension rules, the calculation of pension is accurate and as per rule and not based on the interpretation of the dealing staff.

The beneficiaries felt that the scheme has not only been able to help them financially but emotionally and socially it created an impact on senior citizens of country.



Madhabi Puri Buch has been appointed the next chairperson of market regulator SEBI, making her the first woman to hold the position. This is the first time a woman and a private sector employee has been appointed for a significant position with SEBI. 

Buch will be the 10th chief of the market regulator, the first woman and the first executive from the private sector to do so. She takes over from Ajay Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, who became the chairman on March 1, 2017. There hasn’t been a woman in charge of any other regulatory organisation yet. 

An alumna of IIM Ahmedabad, Buch, who has worked in the financial sector for the past three decades, began her career in 1989 with ICICI Bank. For the past 12 years, she has worked in a variety of roles, including corporate finance, branding and treasury, and loans. From February 2009 to May 2011, Buch worked at ICICI Securities as the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO). She also served on the board of ICICI Bank as an executive director. She is the founder-director of Agora Advisory Pvt Ltd and has played multiple non-executive director roles. 

Last year, she was also appointed as a head of SEBI’s seven-member committee on technology – the Advisory Committee for Leveraging Regulatory and Technology Solutions. 

All eyes will be on SEBI’s new chairperson as SEBI tries to control the post-covid financial environment. 


In  accordance with Central Civil Services (Pension ) Rules, in the case of a mentally retarded son or daughter of a deceased Government servant/pensioner, family pension can be paid to a person nominated by the Government servant or the pensioner or his/her spouse.

It has come to the notice of the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare that in some cases, the Banks are not allowing family pension in respect of a mentally retarded child through the person nominated by the pensioner or his/her spouse and they insist for a guardianship certificate issued by a court of law.

The provision for nomination is intended to avoid any hassles to the child suffering from a mental disability in obtaining the guardianship certificate from the court and in claiming family pension after the death of his/her parents. Insisting for a guardianship certificate by the Banks in such cases defeats the very purpose of  such nomination and also amounts to violation of the statutory provisions of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 2021.

The Department has, therefore, reiterated the provisions of the above rules. CMDs of all Pension Disbursing Banks have been advised to issue  suitable instructions to their CPPCs/Pension Paying Branches for payment of family pension in respect of a mentally retarded child through the person nominated by the  Government servant/pensioner/family pensioner in accordance with the statutory provisions of the Rules and not to insist for a guardianship certificate issued by a court of law in such cases.

Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar writes history again, receives Padma Shri

New Delhi: On the 73rd Republic Day, the first-ever female Vice- Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Najma Akhtar has been awarded with the prestigious award Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind in the category of literature and education. She is known for the first female Vice-Chancellor of central university. Akhtar was appointed as the vice chancellor (VC) in April 2019, the same year which saw protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December.

Last year, the University was given A++ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).

She has studied in Aligarh Muslim University and was a gold medalist. She is PhD in Education from Kurukshetra University and has done University Administration Course from University of Warwick and Nottingham. She has also been trained at the International Institute of Educational Planning at Paris.

She stands as a great motivator being an Academician and establishing the first state-level management institute at Prayagyaj (Allahabad). She has also headed the Department of Education Administration in National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) for 15 years. And not only this, she has served as the VC of University of Kashmir. Akhtar was the Controller of Examination and Director of Academic Programs at Aligarh Muslim University and has been served as a consultant to UNESCO, UNICEF and DANIDA.

On her moment of pride, she thanked President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government for recognising her work. Talking about the honour, she said the award gives her more encouragement to perform in future.

“I was not aiming to get it. In the last one year, the university has been achieving great heights. The VC is given the responsibility as well as the blame. I know people are recognising my work. I am obliged that the prime minister and the president are recognising my work. especially, the President, who entrusted me as the first woman VC of the university I am extremely grateful. Everyone puts in hard work, but not everyone gets recognition,” she said.

On her appointment as the first female vice chancellor in the university, she said, “My aim was not to break the glass ceiling but I was definitely against the glass ceiling. Why is it even there, if you hold the same educational qualifications and experience?” source: Hindustan times

The VC said, in a statement, that the award is an important achievement for not only herself, but for every individual associated with the university, especially female students.  “The responsibility has increased now and I will try my level best to keep up to their expectations,” she said.

The Jamia Millia Islamia, in a tweet, called Akhtar’s achievement a proud moment for the university. “It is a matter of great pride for the @jmiu_official that Vice Chancellor Prof.Najma Akhtar has been selected for #PadmaShri Award for her distinguished services in the field of literature and education,” the university tweeted. Source: Theprint

Prof. Najma has been working towards gender-equality and promoting more enrolment of women in her university. Her aim is to attenuate the gap between men and women through education.

‘Back to Work’ Policy to be a significant step in empowering women

Women are super humans! They efficiently juggle between raising children, domestic duties, earning bread, and manage to do it all effortlessly. We witness women rising to top offices—take Leela Nair as CHRO of ULE and Geeta Gopinath as Chief Economist of the IMF examples—and also becoming the sarpanch in village panchayats.
Although, the potential in the middle rung still remains latent. It has long been an obligation for women to give up their dreams in the interests of their families. And it should come as no surprise to the reader that half of our population does not get ample representation in the working force. The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2019-20 finds out that the proportion of women in the overall labour force has dropped down to a meagre 20.7%.

In a bid to counter this disproportion, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot recently announced the launch of a ‘Back to Work’ scheme on 30 November, during the discussion on the Finance and Appropriation Bill for the Budget 2021-22.
The policy attempts to bring back into the workforce the women who have had to quit their jobs in the past due to personal or family obligations. A three-year target of providing 15,000 regular/work-from-home jobs with the assistance of the private sector has been set, wherein priority will be accorded to women who have been abandoned,widowed, divorced or subjected to violence. Additionally, skill training will also be provided through Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Limited (RKCL) to make them more employable.
Recently, Tata Consultancy Services also grabbed the headlines with its recent launch of a recruitment drive to hire more women professionals, followed by other IT majors like Wipro, Infosys and HCL.
The participation of women in urban areas is still encouraging, but overall participation is far from desirable. This policy raises the prospect of bolstering the financial status of vulnerable women and children. More women employees are not only good for gender equality, but they also create stronger national economies.
Besides, more participation of women in the workforce would help India achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 on ending poverty, SDG 5 on achieving gender equality, SDG 8 on ensuring economic growth and SDG 10 on reducing inequalities. More women in the workforce is a win-win situation for all.

Mother to many orphan children, Sindhutai is no more

Well known Social Worker, Padma Shri Sindhutai Sapkal, died on Tuesday following a heart attack atGalaxy Care Hospital in Pune. “She had undergone a hernia surgery one and a half months ago and recovery was very slow. Today (Tuesday) she died of a heart attack around 8 PM.” Said Mr. Shailesh Puntambekar, the medical director of the hospital.

A brief look at her life Sapkal, fondly known as “mother of orphans”, was born on November 14, 1948, in Wardha district of Maharashtra.
Having been born in extreme poor conditions, she was forced to drop out of school just after passing class IV, was married to a 32-year-old man at the very age of 12. Pregnant Sindhutai was abandoned by her husband at the age of 20 with her three children. Society continued to play the evil role in her life as she was refused any help by the villagers and even her mother, forcing her to beg to raise her daughters.

Her determination and will power helped her overcome these circumstances and she started working for orphans.
Her achievements She has received more than 270 awards from various national and international organizations. In 2017, she was bestowed with the Nari Shakti award, India’s highest civilian award dedicated to women by President Ram Nath Kovind. In November 2021, she was conferred the Padma Shri in the Social Work category.
Having raised 1050 orphans, “mother of orphans” breathed her last at the age of 73.


Alka Mittal who has previously served as ONGC’s Director of Human Resources, has created history by becoming the first female interim chairman and managing director of ONGC. The position was previously filled by Subash Kumar, who recently retired on 31 December. Mittal is also the first woman to hold the post of a full-time director on the board of ONGC. ONGC leads the country’s oil and gas production industry. Mittal’s appointment is greatly significant for this male-dominated industry, which has never seen a female chairperson before. Previously, When Nishi Vasudeva took over the reins of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, an oil refiner and fuel marketing company, in 2014, she became the first woman to lead an oil company (HPCL).

Alka Mittal graduated from Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia in 2001 with a PhD in business/commerce and corporate governance. In 1983, she graduated from Dehradun’s M.K.P.P.G College with a master’s degree in economics. As her work as director of Human resources, Mittal has played a leading role in encouraging and ensuring a safe working space for women employees of the company. She is also recognised for implementing the ONGC’s National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), which involved over 5000 apprentices across all work centres. Mittal will superannuate in August-end or until the appointment of a regular incumbent to the post is done.


Extension of date for submission of Life Certificate by Central Government pensioners till 28th February, 2022

In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in various states and keeping in view the vulnerability of elderly population to Corona virus, Government has decided to further extend the time limit up to 28th February, 2022 for submission of Life Certificate (Jeevan Pramaan) by the Central Government pensioners. Pensioners can submit life certificate through any of the permissible modes during the extended period.
A pensioner is required to submit the life certificate in the month of November every year. The time limit for submission of Life Certificate (Jeevan Pramaan) by the Central Government pensioners was earlier extended up to 31st December, 2021. Pension will continue to be paid by the Pension Disbursing Authorities (PDAs) uninterrupted during the extended period upto 28th February, 2022.
Pension Disbursing Banks have been advised to continue to maintain Covid-19 appropriate behaviour while obtaining Life Certificates and to ensure proper arrangements and social distancing measures at the bank branches to prevent overcrowding.

Afghanistan’s Women Face Bleak Future, lament Afghan Women Activists

The future is bleak for Afghanistan’s women as the Taliban consolidate their hold over a shaky country and its people by reinforcing its barbaric interpretation of Islam which has stripped the women of all their rights and freedom, claim Afghan women activists.

In an emotional online interaction with members of the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) yesterday, they spoke of a return to the earlier nightmare Taliban regime of the 90s when women and girls were barred from educational institutions and publicly thrashed or executed for stepping outdoors alone.  “Women worked very hard to get back on their feet since 2000, but in a matter of days they have been stripped of all their rights,” said  Dr Humeira Rizai, researcher and activist.

Observing that women in exile have a duty to raise their voice for all the women in Afghanistan,  Shunkai Karokhail, Member of Parliament and a vocal advocate of women’s rights in Afghanistan,  came down heavily on the United States ,Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran for pushing their own ‘vested interests’ at  the cost of the Afghani people.

She said the U.S made an ‘historical mistake’ by exiting the country in such a hurried manner and should accept its mistake. “They ignored the democratic institutions and civil society in Afghanistan which only made the local war lords more powerful.”

Despite the Taliban claims that there will be a better from of governance in which women  and minorities will continue to enjoy basic rights, the facts suggest otherwise and the Afghan activists are openly skeptical.  “We do not recognize this Taliban regime as they have no religious minorities in their cabinet,” Dr Rizai, who belongs to the Hazara community, pointed out.

“They have not changed since the 1990s when they set the country back a 100 years. We witnessed the killing frenzy of the Taliban as they massacred Hazaras, Sikhs and Hindus. And now the last Jew has left Afghanistan, she said. “Now they have issued a Fatwa that Hazaras are infidels and should be killed.”

There have already been killings and beatings of women and men associated either with the previous regime or with banned activities like politics, sports and music. Many women activists and politicians are trapped in Afghanistan and keep changing their hide-outs because the Taliban ransacked their homes and took away their cars and the weapons of their security personnel, said Karokhail. “This is the way they are scaring women who either had to run away or keep silent.”

Afghan journalist Fatima Faramarz said the Taliban consider women as ‘animals’ to be treated as they please. She recalled a TV interview in which a Taliban leader had said that women were not able to shoulder responsibility. She cited the case of her own sister who was working in the police service and on reporting  for duty on August 15 to take up a  special training assignment was instead asked to hand in her resignation.

Karokhail warns that an internal uprising will start sooner or later as the Afghan people will not accept a government that does not keep abreast of other countries. “In today’s Afghanistan, women know how to raise their voices. Recently, they even protested against the Taliban regime. In return the Taliban raised their guns and beat them up publicly.”

Faramarz claims two of her colleagues were brutally beaten when they went to cover one such protest. “They were taken by the Taliban to a police station and beaten with batons and electrical cables.”

The activists have accused the former leaders of Afghanistan for the current situation and said they should be held accountable for their actions. “Former President Hamid Karzai called the Taliban ‘our brothers’ while Ashraf Ghani ran away from the problems and the deals that he had made with the Taliban,” said Dr Rizai.

Karokhail stressed that the way forward is for the Taliban to bring back women into the system and governance in Afghanistan. She said the country has been suffering from drought for the past several years and now with the Corona pandemic all economic activity has ceased. “As a Minister, I have not received any communication from the Taliban. All communications have closed even with  Afghanistan’s embassy in Canada. “

Karokhail was on the Taliban’s hit list and in one instance barely escaped with her life.  She fled Afghanistan on August 20 and now lives in Canada. Rizai and Faramarz have also taken shelter in other countries to escape the Taliban regime. END

Miranda House, Delhi is at the top of NIRF Ranking 2021 List

According to the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) India rankings (NIRF 2021), Miranda House is the best college in India. Dharmendra Pradhan, the education minister, announced the NIRF Ranking 2021 on 9th September, 2021. Miranda House has been on top of the list for the fifth consecutive time.

In October 2020, Miranda House started working towards creating an archive to preserve its seventy-two years old history in order to document the history of women in the field of higher education. On its Founder’s Day, the Miranda House Archiving Project was announced. In the words of the Acting Principal Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda, “I’m interested in the telling of the history of a woman’s college. A ‘herstory’ is a narrative. It’s not just about achievements. In an old college magazine, I found a piece written by the first principal about how she had offered sari to students who had come to her home and had been caught in the rain… Narratives of what women students’ access to education had been like, their relationships with their teachers and each other.” (The Indian Express)

Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda (Acting Principal)

In March 2021, Miranda House planned to offer a three-month certificate program in order to train women who aspire to join politics both at the state level and the national level. In order to assist the ones in need during the Covid 19 pandemic, Miranda House initiated a help desk service on 22nd April, 2021. They received calls from people asking their help to find oxygen, doctors, hospital beds, ambulance services, plasma, RT-PCR tests and so on. The students then directed the people to a credible source who could help them. 

The operation was headed by Srishti Sensarma. In her words, it was the college principal Bijayalaxmi Nanda’s idea and was started by a few students to help the college community. However, their phone numbers soon spread out vastly and since then they have been receiving phone calls by people asking for help.

By providing unique opportunities to women both in terms of higher education and life experiences, Miranda House is setting new and higher goals for themselves every day. Its dedication towards the future and well being of young women, and the society in general, is unmatchable. Miranda House’s contribution in achieving a society where women are treated equally with men in both professional and public spheres is truly phenomenal.