LAHORE - Some of the functions of the Punjab Government Servants Benevolent Fund have been placed under the Lahore Deputy Commissioner’s Office. Officials say it is an anomaly because the step has been taken without amending the relevant rules.

The step was taken by the S&GAD to settle the issue, said the critics of the current move. The issue surfaced when former secretary of Benevolent Fund Ahmad Mustajab Karamat relieved dozens of daily wagers working in the provincial fund. Karamat moved the new procedure to the then acting Additional Chief Secretary Farhan Aziz Khwaja who approved the proposal.

The office of the DC Lahore neither has the capacity nor setup to handle employees’ benevolence-related matters assigned to it through an executive order by former ACS. A DC office employee confirmed the same. He said the ADCG was to handle the issues besides his hectic assignment in the office regarding coordination.

When contacted, a Punjab Benevolent Fund official requesting anonymity said the new move was aimed at facilitating the old citizens and the widows who have to travel hundreds of miles to Lahore for corrections to their incomplete cases. Now, the officers have been directed to submit their cases to their respective DC offices. However, he confirmed, Civil Secretariat officers do not agree with the new move. “They want the old system whereby they used to visit the Punjab Benevolent Fund head office rather than the DC Office of Lahore,” he said. He said that authorities were thinking seriously to reverse the move due to these reservations. He said that Civil Secretariat officers didn’t like to visit the DC office to pursue the benevolent fund cases.

Incumbent Additional Chief Secretary Umar Rasool, he said, was willing to reverse the move. The ACS was not available to comment.

As per details, government servants contribute 3% of their running basic pay to The Punjab Government Servants Benevolent Fund, Part-Il (Disbursement) Rules, 1966.

In case of death during service or unexpired period of 15 years from the date of retirement or invalidity on medical ground, the Punjab government sanctions monthly grant in favour of families of the deceased civil or invalid government servant. Besides this, marriage grant, funeral grant, farewell grant and educational scholarship from these funds are also available.

For this purpose, the provincial government has constituted Boards of Management like the Provincial Board of Management (gazetted), the Provincial Board of Management (non-gazetted), District Board of Management and the Secretariat Board of Management.

The provincial Board of Management (gazetted) is responsible for management of Part-I of the Fund and has powers to invest money credited to that part of the fund and to incur expenditure while the Provincial Board of Management (non-gazetted) is responsible for management of Part-Il of the fund and has powers to invest money credited to that part of the fund and to make allocations from District Boards of Management.

An S&GAD officer said that officials didn’t like the government efforts to ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an insurance company that would offer maximum benefit to the government servants. The officials fear that the government could deprive them of the post retirement benefits, he stated.