‘Hopeful That I Will Get a Steady Income’: Novy on DU Pension Row

‘Hopeful That I Will Get a Steady Income’: Novy on DU Pension Row

Football

Video Journalist: Mukul Bhandari
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

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Eminent football expert Novy Kapadia has been in news recently over his ongoing pension tussle with the Delhi University where he has been teaching for the last 40 years.

The reason why he made headlines is his confinement to his house in West Delhi since last November after being detected with the rare motor neuron disease which causes the nerves in the spine and brain to lose function over time.

“My crisis came when I developed this problem which became acute in November when I had a fall also. Then I struggled to walk. Then all activities stopped,” said Novy.

“And finally, I was diagnosed with weakness of motor neurons in my muscles in my right leg. Consequently, it led to foot problem in my right leg. My right foot is so weak that I can’t stand properly anymore.”
Novy Kapadia

Speaking about the pension row, Novy points out that his was not an isolated case and that like him more than 300 teachers are suffering the same fate.

“The Government of India in the 1970 started the pension scheme for retired professors from Central Universities. In February 1988, I went from Central Provident Fund (CPF) to General Provident Fund (GPF),” said Novy.

“Now, universities had given certain deadlines. Teachers being as they are didn’t follow the deadline. Some signed late. Sometimes the college sent it late. So, there were bureaucratic problems,” added Novy, explaining the reason behind the standoff with Delhi University.

According to Novy, the previous vice-chancellor of the Delhi University had some objection with the dates of the pension, so a court case was started in 2014, which is still lingering.

“When we retired, we became part of this waiting list for pension. Some categories got cleared. But there would be problems of fixation which also happened in my case due to several pay commissions,” said Novy.

“Apart from fixation problem, the files also started piling up, which led to the bureaucratic delay in the pension cell of the Delhi University.”
Novy Kapadia

The delay in pension just added to Novy’s woes. Income practically negligible due to his medical condition and expenses mounting, including cost for doctor visits, medicines, physiotherapists etc

“My expenses are now six to seven times my income. I have two extra rooms which I give on rent. That is my only income. And that’s why in the last two months problems have magnified.”
Novy Kapadia

But all hope is not lost for Novy. Since the issue has gained all the media attention things have been looking good for the retired Delhi University professor. In fact, Novy is grateful to the media and senior journalists who brought the issue to the notice of Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

“Through the pressure from media, the news reached the television, so pressure was put on the honourable sports minister. I must say he responded with great promptness and consideration and kindness. Senior journalists spoke to him,” said Novy.

“He (Kiren Rijiju) said that he will take up the case. He has been very prompt. He has pressurised my vice-chancellor and credit to them that some files have started moving.”
Novy Kapadia

According to Novy, the principal of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, where he taught for over 40 years, is looking into the case personally.

“They have contacted me and sent some papers (home). They have been very considerate. They sent a man home. I have signed certain papers,” said Novy.

“Slowly my fixation is being done in the 7th Pay Commission. So, I am hopeful that things will move, and I can get a steady income.”
Novy Kapadia

Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry on Monday sanctioned Rs 4 lakh towards Novy’s medical expenses.

"Novy Kapadia has contributed to Indian sports for decades. When I got to know that his pension from Delhi University is pending and he is suffering from a rare auto-immune disease and needs urgent medical attention, we decided to give him immediate relief with this money. We are also following up with the Ministry of Human Resource Development to ensure that his pension comes through soon," said Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

Kapadia has been given the financial assistance from the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons.

“The earlier guidelines of the fund to provide financial assistance were rather restrictive. We have now made amendments. Kapadia is one of the first beneficiaries of the new guidelines.”
Kiren Rijiju, Union Sports Minister

With things looking up as far as the financial part is concerned, now the big question is when will Novy Kapadia once again regain full fitness.

“At present it is a rehabilitation. But it is taking time and it will take time. It is a question of months and not weeks. More exercise, more physiotherapy and medicine.”
Novy Kapadia

“I have shown it to couple of hospitals and doctors. At least the treatment has been identified. I am hopeful and I need to remain positive,” concluded India’s premier sports historian.

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