Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Accountant General (AG) office has started payment of pension through direct credit system (DCS), and plans to do away with the manual payment by March next year.
The project is being executed with the support of the provincial finance department. Officials in AG office told Dawn on Friday they had hired services of about 70 key punch operators (KPOs) to computerise pension records at the provincial capital as well as district level.
An official said training of a batch of 35 KPOs was completed today (Friday) who were given certificates by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa AG Shahzada Taimur Khusro and project director finance department Saifur Rehman Usami.
He said the step was taken on the directives of federal finance minister, who had ordered wrapping up the manual pension payment system by March 2016. The official said during the past one month, they had turned about 25,000 pensioners on DCS and their pension money was being directly credited into their accounts.
The total number of pensioners in KP is said to be around 160,000.
The official in the AG office said now the pensioners would be able to get their pension through ATMs and bank cheque books and would be rid of the agony of waiting in long queues outside bank branches.
He said pension money would be credited into their accounts each month and they would be issued computerised pensioners identity cards containing all their particulars after they hand over their pension books back to the office.
The official said the pensioners could collect forms from district account offices and National Bank of Pakistan branches, adding the pension facilitation centre at the AG office as well district account offices would facilitate pensioners in shifting from manual to computerised system.
Another official requesting anonymity told Dawn the system was not only going to put an end to long queues outside banks but also the ghost pensioners. He explained that ghost pensioners were also causing heavy damage to the government kitty as there was no other mechanism at hand to guard against the pilferage.
He said the new system was also likely to put an end to corrupt practices at account offices, wherein dead people continued to get payment even years after their death, while married women also received payments showing themselves as widows.