Saturday, August 20, 2016

SOVEREIGNTY AND SERVICES BY MAJ GEN RN RADHAKRISHNAN : REPRESENTATION TO JUDICIAL COMMITTEE HEADED BY JUSTICE L NARASIMHA REDDY BBY TAMILNADU EX-SERVICES LEAGUE

1.      This representation is made, keeping in regard, the terms of condition to the Committee, as given below.

a.  Measures for removal of anomalies that may arise in implementation of the OROP letter No 112(1)/ 2014/D(Pen/Pol)/Part-II dated 7.11.2015. (hereafter referred to as OROP Letter)
b. Measures for removal of anomalies that may arise out of inter-services issues of the three forces due to implementation of OROP Order ibid.
c.   Implications on service matters
d. Any other mater referred by the Central Government on implementation of OROP or related issues. 
2.     OROP Letter It is much appreciated that the Government has come out with a policy for implementing OROP “Scheme”. The Government has recognized the following facts that bear on the pension policy of Armed Forces Personnel (AFP).
a.    Retiring of Armed Forces Personnel, much before the age of retirement applicable to all Government employees, has been considered as exceptional service condition.
b.       The need for different norms for pension of AFP.
c.      The demand from the veterans community (AFV) for adopting ‘one rank one pension’, that implies same pension for all veterans of the same rank and same length of qualifying service, with no other restricting consideration, such as date of retirement.
d.    Government also has envisaged the possibility of anomalies arising in implementation of the ‘scheme’.
e.    Government also has envisaged the need for periodic revision of the implementation to ensure that the principle of OROP is not disturbed at a future date.
3.     Enhancement of Pension. We also appreciate the first step taken by the Government. The Government has enhanced the pension of AFV with effect from 1st Jul, 2014 by adopting the following formula.

The pension has been enhanced, re-fixing the basic pension “based on the average of minimum and the maximum of pension of the personnel retired in 2013, in the same rank and with same length of service. (Ref Para 3.1 of OROP Letter)

By this step pension of almost all AFV stands enhanced to the extent of about 85 to 90% of what would be the pension had the implementation been in the true spirit of the definition of the OROP Letter. A bold step indeed on the part of the Government!

4.     Serious Anomaly - Average or the Maximum. This very first step has given scope for the rise of one major anomaly. Let us for a moment consider that the Government’s intention is to implement OROP ‘Scheme’, in stages. In that case, the pension enhancement, by the very definition, must be at the level of the maximum of the pensions eligible for those personnel retiring in 2013, with rank and service being the same. How do we justify choosing an arbitrary approximation of averaging the maximum and minimum? Quite strange indeed! This is seriously anomalous. This leads to situation, wherein we have two to three classes of pensioners, if not more, drawing different pensions, not the intended uniform pension with rank and service being the same, as indicated below:

a.   One class draws pension at the average of the minimum and the maximum in the year 2013.
b.   Another class draws pension at the maximum in the year 2013.
c.   Perhaps a third class draws pension at a level between the average of the minimum and the maximum, and the maximum in the year 2013
5.   Thus the concept of uniform pension envisaged in Para 2 of the OROP Letter is not being applied at all and on the contrary, no heed whatsoever has been paid to the principle agreed to by the Government, by adopting an arbitrary formula of approximation. This is extremely demoralizing the AFP and perhaps the Nation as a whole. This, in spite that, the Government itself had, time and again, claimed that financial constraint is not an issue in the implementation of OROP ‘Scheme’. The financial saving to the Government by choosing the arbitrary formula is likely to be around not more than 3% at its worst, as the difference between minimum and the maximum of pension of the personnel retired in the same rank and with same length of service is not likely to be more than two odd increments of 3%, each. Hence, the request from AFV is that the Committee must study this serious anomaly and recommend to the Government to display the intended magnanimity in spirit and letter by revising the pension based on the maximum of pension of the personnel retired in the same rank and with same length of service, in not only the year 2013 but also in all subsequent years.

6.   Periodic Review. The Government has taken a stand that “in future, the pension would be re-fixed every five years”. This is the second serious anomaly. The pension of AFP retiring in the years subsequent to 2013 would be more than that applicable in the previous year. This is due to the pay structure and pay fixation rule made applicable by the various CPCs. Such increase in pension creates a gap in the pensions of prevailing pensioners and of the newly retiring pensioners. OROP ‘Scheme’ being introduced by the Government envisages “bridging the gap between the rates of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals’ (Ref Para 2 of OROP Letter). The concept of OROP in its implied meaning demands that as and when such increase in pension occurs the pension of the prevalent pensioners is also made equal to the pension of the one retiring in the later year, in the same rank and with same years of service. This is what is meant by the Koshiary Committee in its recommendation and has been correctly proclaimed in the OROP Letter.

7.    It is quite apt to point out that the Government’s stand to re-fix pension once in every five years is certainly not in conformity with the principle behind OROP ‘Scheme’. It is in conformity with the prevailing concept of Modified Parity for all the pensioners retired prior to the date of implementation of CPC recommendation, that has been prevalent all along. The notion of ‘Modified Parity’ implies that parity of pension is established for all past pensioners of the same rank and with same length of service, once in every ten years. All that the present Government has done is to choose five year period in lieu of prevalent ten years for establishing ‘Modified Parity’. No doubt that it is an improvement. But this is obviously not part of OROP Scheme, as demanded by AFV, recommended by Koshiary Committee and accepted by the Government by issuing OROP Letter.

8.   Equalization of pension on yearly basis. AFPs retire every month. And as said earlier, the some AFP, if not all, retiring in subsequent months stand to get a higher pension. Obviously and theoretically speaking, this calls for “bridging the gap between the rates of pension of current and past pensioners” once in every month. This monthly equalization of the pension is neither impracticable nor a stupendous task for the Government. The railways update the status of reservations of millions of passengers on second to second basis. So do most of the financial institutions while updating the Net Asset Values of shares. Perhaps pragmatic approach lies in choosing equalization of pension on yearly basis. Therefore AFPs appeal to the Committee to study this aspect diligently and recommend to the Government equalization of pension on yearly basis.

9    Case of PMR and Widows. It is given to understand that prematurely retiring AFPs and widows have not been included for the OROP ‘Scheme’. Pension has been very aptly defined as deferred wages paid for past services rendered, by the five judge constitution bench, way back in Dec 1981. As the rank and qualifying years of Service are the stipulated criteria for determining the pension, the status of retiring prematurely is irrelevant. As far the widows are concerned, the status of the demised AFV is only taken cognizance of, in determining their pension. Demise of the pensioner should not rob the privilege of increasing the deferred wages on account of the increased prosperity of the Nation. Therefore, AFPs appeal to the Committee to study this aspect as well and recommend to the Government to include PMRs and Widows in the OROP ‘Scheme’. An extract Para 8 from the Judgment by Justice Desai in the case of UOI Vs DS Nakara is given below, which makes it crystal clear that PMR is also fall under the category of pensioners and hence cannot be treated differently. The extract:

“those who render service and retire on superannuation or any other mode of retirement and are in receipt of pension are comprehended in the expression 'pensioners'.”

10.   Simplification of the Pension Tables. It is indeed a pathetic state that the pensioners, especially those of the ranks from Havildar to Sepoy and the widows, have no other option but to accept the pension disbursed by the PDA (Pension Dispersing Agency) as authentic. It is equally pathetic that the PDAs are quite confused in choosing the right table that is applicable to the pensioner. A Bank Manager rang up in the month of Mar 2016 to enquire under which group a Major General is listed and that why there is no group mentioned in his PPO. The reason is that there are as many as 101 tables in total that deal with the pensions of AFP, differentiating AFP into various categories and different type of pension. Of these

a.      27 tables are applicable to JCOs / ORs
b.      69 tables are applicable to Commissioned Officers
c.      5 tables are applicable to those who retired prior to Jun 01, 1953
11.   Now let us take the case of those who retired prior to Jun 01, 1953. Surely these pensioners would have crossed the age 80 and more. They could easily be treated at par with the prevalent AFV and their pension treated accordingly, thereby eliminating the five tables. Similarly, all the various categories of pension, like normal rate of family pension, enhanced rate of family pension, special family pension - liberalized family pension, liberalized dependent family pension, 2nd life award of liberalized family pension, disability element, war injury element discharged / invalidated out - can all be expressed as percentage of the pension in addition to the eligible service pension. If done so, ninety odd tables can be done away with. A question may be raised as to how do the AFV gets affected because of the proliferation of the tables. Answer lies in the confusion created by the proliferation of the tables. And proof can be found from the simple fact that every district and taluk level pensioners’ associations and leagues deal with getting the short payment of pension from the PDA sorted out on day to day basis.

12.  Replacement of the 101 Tables with a Single Table. Thus pension tabulation in the OROP ‘Scheme’ should have been through a single table. The previous Government had taken up the issue of implementation of OROP. CGDA, in Apr 2014, had prepared a single table for OROP for all ranks, keeping the spirit of OROP in its implied meaning. The present Government had introduced extraneous elements, other than rank and QYS stipulated in the definition of the term OROP, in determining the quantum of pension, based on various types of pay and allowances drawn by the AFP, more in the nature of incentive for the special functions entrusted to them. But should these incentives influence determination of the quantum of pension in the OROP ‘Scheme’, is the question the Committee needs to address, keeping in view that such determination violates the principle envisaged in the definition of OROP and the noble purpose served by introducing the concept of OROP. Thus it imperative and not merely justifiable that all these 101 tables are discarded and replaced by a single table for all ranks keeping only the two factors namely rank and QYS in focus.

13      To justify this projection for single table, we draw reference to Para 62 of the Judgment by the five judges Constitution Bench in 1981.

“In view of the present economic conditions in India and constant rise in the cost of living due to inflation, it is all the more important even from purely humanitarian considerations if not from the stand point of fairness and justice, to protect the actual value of their meager pension to enable the pensioners to live in their declining years with dignity and in reasonable comfort”

The emphasize by way of underlining is by us and meant to highlight that it is the emotional attachment to ‘dignity’, which motivates the soldier to be prepared to lay down his life, if required, to save his comrades from injury/ getting killed in battle or in training and protect the Nation from aggressors. And, therefore, he is entitled to live in dignity on retirement. OROP in its implied meaning has been conceived to ensure dignity at par with his contemporary soldier, contemporary in rank and service.
14.     A Permanent Solution.The struggle by the AFV to get a fair deal from the Government in disbursement of pension has been a very prolonged one. Fortunately for us, the present Government has taken upon themselves to do justice. Meddling with figures just for the sake of it not really making much of financial sense has been the hall mark of recommendations CPC after CPC. With OROP ‘Scheme’ having been made the norm, some semblance of rationale in determination of pension has emerged. However, still there is quite big scope to meddle with the pension by playing with the pay structure of all ranks, barring a few top ones, thereby cutting down on the pension for each rank, by the CPCs in future. An easy and a permanent solution in the form of Military Pension exist in our proposal, as given below.

a. Chiefs’ pension is treated as benchmark and termed as Reference Pension (RP).
b.  The full pension for each rank termed as Standard Pension (SP) is to be stipulated as a percentage of the RP.
c.   Minimum Qualifying Service (QYS for SP), as it exists now has to be stipulated and perhaps improved upon.
d.     Pro-rata pension for the pensioners with less service than the stipulated QYS for SP can be by reducing 2 to 3% of SP for each year of shortfall of QYS from QYS for SP.
A hypothetical Table is given in Appendix ‘A’ as an illustration of this proposal.

15.    We conclude with fervent hope that the Committee will study our brief in the same earnestness with which we have submitted and help resolve the pension issue for AFV once for all for.
Appendix ‘A’
(Ref Para 15)
The Reference Pension (RP) is the Chief’s Pension say Rs 1000
Part 1
Ranks
Major
Lt Col
Colonel
Brig
Maj Gen
Lt Gen
Ratio w.r.t to Reference Pension, in %
55
68
75
83
88
90
Standard Pension for each rank
550
680
750
830
880
900
QYS  for SP
22
24
26
28
30
30

NOTE: Pro-rata pension for retiring personnel with lesser service than the QYS for SP will be arrived at by reducing the SP by 3% of the SP per year of shortfall.

Part 2
Ranks
Jawan
Naik
Havalar
Nb Sub
Subedar
Sub Maj
Ratio w.r.t to Reference Pension, in %
22
25
28
30
32
40
Standard Pension for each rank
220
250
280
300
320
400
QYS  for SP
15
17
19
21
23
24

NOTE: Pro-rata pension for retiring personnel with lesser service than the QYS for SP will be arrived at by reducing the SP by 2% of the SP per year of shortfall.
The End

(SOURCE- VIA E-MAIL FROM RAVI MANI VETERAN)

14 comments:

  1. karunakaran a ex havildarAugust 20, 2016 at 4:47 PM

    No where any thing pertaining to abolition of X and Y group is mentioned. What 7 CPC attributes the reason for X and Y , in case Y is merged with X, it may create discontent among soldiers, when Z is merged with Y, the soldiers belong to Y created no trouble and accepted it as universal application. if X and Y are not merged in one , the very definition of OROP is diluted . even our top brass officers are not in favour of one group in the matter of JCOs and OR, it is non existent in other category . the judicial commission must contemplate it very seriously in consonance with the definition of OROP, otherwise it is atrocities committed on jawans

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    Replies
    1. Please read it carefully please.

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  2. The 'A Permanent Solution' brought in at para 14 is unwarranted and confuses the very issue of OROP. Point brought about to reduce the number of tables is valid to certain extent but certain minimum number of tables are required to keep things clear to the veterans to avoid confusion.

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    Replies
    1. Sir, If X & Y group system abolished which is low spoken and the main anomaly, the table count will automatically come down.

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  3. I think every aspect of OROP has been very amply explained in the above draft and the .government may give due consideration in accepting the same.

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  4. An excellent article.if implemented in the letter and spirit it is given, will make the task of the Accounting authorities easier. By having a percentage of the Reference Pension it will be easy for every one to know where they stand.Of course a detailed study and analysis is required before it can be even thought of.
    Ramani

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  5. A nice representation, Really commendable. Covered everything pertaining for all ranks. Excellent.

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  6. As far as the QYS shown in the table is not correct bec
    naik and havildar are having only 15 yrs of service.So for such ranks again the pension will be pro rata. AM I CORRECT?

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  7. In JCOs/ORs level- Merger of X and Y gp is essential operation to correct OROP.

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  8. Very well elaborate representation by covering all the aspects with out any discrimination. OMJC may give due consideration.

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  9. PBOR's Pension of JCO's % should be 32,36,40. instead of 30,32 40. and for pensioners it should be a genuine OROP, one group only

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  10. Dear all
    OMJC ,will be a time consuming proposition as nothing is expected to be delivered rightfully.7CPC and committee of secretary wasted 30 months to add to more anomaly.so will be the fate of OMJC.

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  11. It is a real representation of orop at present. Nothing should be accepted from x gp personal as if they are dealing with sofisticated eqpt drafting etc. Now the real X gp person is those who are staying in the bunkers at the border.

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  12. An excellent article with justified unique table. Why this brain didn't surface in the past years. I do agree with its contents in toto. The level of brilliance and studies of the writer are really very commendable. Merging of x & y gps are also necessary as guarding the nation from the bunkers at borders weigh much more than handling the sophisticated equipments in peace stations. Once again I express thanks to the author and adore him for his brilliance.

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