Saturday, November 28, 2015

Anomalies in Revision of pension in r/o Pre-2006 JCOs / ORs pensioners / Family Pensioners

1.   Refer G.O.I., MOD letter No. 1(04)/2015/(1)-D(Pen/Pol) dated 3rd Sep 2015 and GOI, Ministry of Personnel, PG & Pensioners, Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare letter No. 38/37/08-P & PW (A) dated 30.07.2015

2.   Attention be drawn to the recently issued letter dated 03 Sep 2015 that there are mainly 3 types of anomalies and the same are listed below:-

a.Anomaly No. 1 It is seen from the Annexures A to C to the above letter that formula for calculation of the Pension is as given below on the Basis of 50% of the minimum of the pay in the pay band plus grade pay corresponding to the pre revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired :-

(i). (Corresponding Basic Pay + Grade Pay + MSP + X Pay (if Applicable)divided by (2 x 33) and multiplied by Length of service + weightage. 
(ii.) It is seen that weightage counted for Sepoy, Naik & Havildar and their equivalent ranks in Indian Air Force and Indian Navy are 10, 08 & 06 Yrs respectively and the same is in correct, since these are already increased to 12, 10 & 8 Yrs respectively vide Para 3.1 to  G.O.I., MOD Dept of ESW letter No. 1(13)/2012/D (Pen/Policy) dated 17 Jan 2013.

b.Anomaly No. 2 It is also seen that while calculating the Minimum Fitment Pay in the 6th CPC according to 5th CPC Pay table Minimum Starting Salary for the direct recruits’ under that Grade Pay is not stepped to the same. It is further clarified by an example given below:-

i. Example No. 1:- Sepoy Y Group (starting scale 3250) Applicable Grade Pay is 2000, thus 3250 x 1.86 = Rs. 6045 say 6050 + 2000 (GP) + 2000 (MSP) = 10050 whereas starting scale for direct recruits’ with a Grade Pay is 6460 + 2000 (GP) + 2000 (MSP) = 10460 thus a difference of 410 and 50% of same is 205 Per Month in the pension.

ii. Example No. 2:- Sergent Y Group (starting Scale as per 5th CPC was Rs. 4320/-) applicable Grade Pay is Rs. 2800/- thus 4320 x 1.86 = 8035.2 Say 8040 + 2800 (GP) + 2000 (MSP) = 12840 whereas starting scale for direct recruits’ with a Grade Pay is 8560 + 2800 (GP) + 2000 (MSP) = 13360 thus a difference of 520 and 50% of same is 260 Per Month in the pension.

c. Anomaly No. 3 MOD letter No. 1(04)/2015/(1)-D(Pen/Pol) dated 3rd September, 2015 was issued on the basis of G.O.I. Min of Personnel, PG & P, Letter No. 38/37/08-P&PW (A) dated 30 July 2015. Your kind attention is required to please refer Para 3 where it is referring OA No. 655/2010, copy attached for your ready reference.

i. Please do refer Para 12 & 18 and 25 to 30 of OA No. 655/2010 and the same are reproduced herewith for your ready reference:-

  "" 12. Now let us advert to last grievance raised by the applicants viz. that even if the modified parity, as recommended by the Pay Commission and accepted by the resolution dated 29.08.2008 is to be taken as criteria for determining pension of pre-2006 retirees, still on account of subsequent clarification issued to para 4.2 of the OM dated 1.9.2008 by the officers of the respondents vide OM dated 3.10.2008 and 14.10.2008 criteria and principles for determining the pension has been given a complete go-bye. Thus, these clarificatory OMs are illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory, unreasonable, unjust and are required to be quashed and set aside. At this stage, we wish to mention that this issue was not raised and considered by the Patna and Bombay Benches of the Tribunal, as such no finding on this aspect was given. However, in paras 66 and 67 of the judgment Patna Bench has given a direction that the Government should examine this aspect of S-29 pay scales retirees being able to retire at the maximum of the pay band 4 pay scale with the grade pay of Rs.10,000/- which would bring their pension to Rs.38,500/-. Suffice it to say that the observation made by the Patna Bench was given without taking into consideration the modified parity as recommended by the Pay Commission and accepted by the Central Government vide its resolution dated 29.08.2008, which formed the basis to grant pension to pre-2006 retirees.

13. In order to determine the issue, at this stage, it will be useful to quote item No.12 of the Resolution No.38/37/08-P&PW (A) dated 29.08.2008 whereby recommendations of the VI CPC, as contained in para 5.1.47, was accepted with certain modifications and thus reads:
S. No. Recommendation 

12.  All past pensioners should be allowed fitment benefit equal to 40% of the pension excluding the effect of merger of 50% dearness allowance/dearness relief as pension (in respect of pensioners retiring on or after 1/4/2004) and dearness pension (for other pensioners) respectively. The increase will be allowed by subsuming the effect of conversion of 50% of dearness relief/ dearness allowance as dearness pension/ dearness pay. Consequently, dearness relief at the rate of 74% on pension (excluding the effect of merger) has been taken for the purposes of computing revised pension as on 1/1/2006. This is consistent with the fitment benefit being allowed in case of the existing employees. The fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than fifty percent of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. (5.1.47)

Decision of Government
Accepted with the modification that fixation of pension shall be based on a multiplication factor of 1.86, i.e, basic pension + Dearness Pension (wherever applicable) + dearness relief of 24% as on 1.1.2006, instead of 1.74. Based on this resolution, respondents issued OM of even number dated 1.9.2008. Para- 4.2 whereof, which is relevant for the purpose, reads as follows:

The fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than fifty percent of the minimum of the pay in the pay band plus the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. In the case of HAG+ and above scales, this will be fifty percent of the minimum of the revised pay scale.

14. On the basis of the recommendations made by VI CPC, which stood validly accepted by the Cabinet, it has been argued that principle for determining the pension has been completely altered under the garb of clarification. According to the learned counsel for the applicants on the basis of the aforesaid resolution/modified parity revised pension of the pre-2006 pensioners shall not be less than 50% of the minimum of the pay band + grade pay, corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired.

15. Applicants in para-11 of the Additional-Affidavit have explained how the Note prepared by a junior functionary (at the level of an Under Secretary) in the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare in regard to para-4.2 of the OM dated 1.9.2008 has been given a go-by to the resolution dated 29.08.2008. The Note so prepared has been extracted in this para, which thus reads:

 Whether the pension calculated at 50% of the minimum pay in the pay band would be calculated (i) at the minimum of the pay in the pay band (irrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay) plus the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale, or (ii)  at the minimum of pay pay in the pay band which an employee in the pre-revised scale of pay will be getting as per the fitment tables at Annex I of the CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2008 plus the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scales.ı

16. It is pleaded that first the need for such a doubt being raised is not clear as both the formulation of the CPC in para 5.1.47 as well as in Government Resolution dated 29.8.2008 (Annexure A-7 of the OA) is clear that ıthe fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension in no case, shall be lower than fifty percent of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired.ı (emphasis added). The use of words ısum ofı, ıandı and ıthereonı leaves no doubt that both the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay have to correspond to the pre-revised pay scale. Second, without bringing out merits or demerits of either formulation, the lower functionary in DOP & PW incorporates in the clarification against item 4.2 in the OM dated 1.9.2008, the first option about ıminimum of pay in the pay band (irrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay)ı. What is worse is that there is no application of mind even at the level of Director and Secretary who merely sign the note and the clarification is issued after obtaining finance concurrence and approval of MOS (PP), without going back to the Cabinet for such a modification.

17. The learned counsel has further argued that the resultant injustice done to the pre- 1-1-2006 pensioners had even been recognized by MOS (F) and MOS (PP) in their letters to the PM and MOS (F) respectively, copies of which are at Annexures A-11 (page 169) and A-12 (page 170) of the OA. A formal proposal was also sent by DOP & PW to Department of Expenditure seeking rectification but was not accepted by the latter. It was also ncorrectly mentioned that the earlier provision in para 4.2 of OM dated 1.9.2008 has been issued in pursuance of the approval of the Cabinet granted to the Report of the Sixth CPC and any change would entail substantial financial implications and this was done only with the approval of the Secretary (Expenditure) without putting up the note to MOS (F) who had imself supported the change. A copy of this Note dated 2.1.2009 is enclosed as Annexure-5

18. As regards the grievance to OM dated 14.10.2008 based on the OM dated 1.9.2008 (as clarified by OM dated 3.10.2008) whereby a revised table (Annexure A-1) of the pre-2006 pensioners pay scale/pay was finalized to facilitate payment of the revised pension/family pension, applicants have prepared a chart in respect of minimum of the pre-revised scales (modified parity) of S 29 along with 5 scales included in PB-4 works out as under and thus reads:

Min of Pre revised scale. Pay in the Pay Band Grade Pay Revised Basic Pay
(2+3) (Rs. Pension 50% of (2+3) (Rs.)

             1             2      3       4         5  
S-24  (14300) 37400 8700 46100 23050

S-25 (15100) 39690 8700 48390 24195

S-26  (16400) 39690 8900 48590 24295

S-27  (16400) 39690 8900 48590 24295

S-28   (Rs.14300) 37400 10000 47400 23700

S-29  (18400) 44700 10000 54700 27350

The first 4 columns of the above table have been extracted from the pay fixation annexed with MOF OM of 30th August 2008 (referred to in para 4.5 (iii) above).Revised pension of S 29 works out to Rs.27350 which has been reduced to Rs.23700 as per DOP OM of 3-10-2008 (para 4.8 (B) below).

It was explained during arguments that pay in the Pay Band indicated in column No.2 above table relates to the pay in the revised pay scale corresponding to the minimum pay in the pre-revised pay scale.

25. In order to decide the matter in controversy, at this stage, it will be useful to extract the relevant portions of para 5.1.47 of the VI CPC recommendation, as accepted by the Resolution dated 29.08.2008, para 4.2 of the OM dated 1.9.2008 and subsequent changes made in the garb of clarification dated 3.10.2008, which thus read:

Resolution No.38/37/8-P&PW(A) dated 29.08.2008-Para 5.1.47 (page 154-155) Para4.2 of OM DOP&PW OM No. No.38/37/8-P&PW(A) dated 1.09.2008 (page 38 of OA) OM DOP&PW OM No. No.38/37/8-P&PW(A) dated 3.10.2008

The fixation as per above will be subject to the provision that the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than 50% of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the prerevised pay scale form which the pensioner had retired.

The Pension Calculated at 50% of the [sum of the] minimum of the pay in the pay band [and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale] plus grade pay would be calculated (i) at the minimum of the pay in the pay band (irrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay plus) the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale. For example, if a pensioner had retired in the pre-revised scale of pay of Rs.18400- 22400, the corresponding pay band being Rs.37400-67000 and the corresponding grade pay being Rs.10000 p.m., his minimum guaranteed pension would be 50% of Rs.37400+Rs.10000 (i.e. Rs.23700)

Strike out are deletions and bold letter addition Strike out are deletions and bold letters addition.

26. As can be seen from the relevant portion of the resolution dated 29.8.2008 based upon the recommendations made by the VI CPC in paragraph 5.1.47, it is clear that the revised pension of the pre-2006 retirees should not be less than 50% of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the Pay Band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the prerevised pay scale held by the pensioner at the time of retirement. However, as per the OM dated 3.10.2008 revised pension at 50% of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay thereon, corresponding to pre-revised scale from which the pensioner had retired has been given a go-by by deleting the words ısum of theı ıand grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scaleı and adding ıirrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay plusı implying that the revised pension is to be fixed at 50% of the minimum of the pay, which has substantially changed the modified parity/formula adopted by the Central Government pursuant to the recommendations made by the VI CPC and has thus caused great prejudice to the applicants. According to us, such a course was not available to the functionary of the Government in the garb of clarification thereby altering the recommendations given by the VI CPC, as accepted by the Central Government. According to us, deletion of the words ısum of theı ıand grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised scaleı ıand addition of the words ıirrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay plusı, as introduced by the respondents in the garb of clarification vide OM dated 3.10.2008 amounts to carrying out amendment to the resolution dated 29.08.2008 based upon para 4.1.47 of the recommendations of the VI CPC as also the OM dated 1.9.2008 issued by the Central Government pursuant to the aforesaid resolution, which has been accepted by the Cabinet. Thus, such a course was not permissible for the functionary of the Government in the garb of clarification, that too, at their own level without referring the matter to the Cabinet.

27. We also wish to add that the Pay Commissions are concerned with the revision of the pre-revised ıpay scalesı and also that in terms of Rule 34 of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 the pension of retirees has to be fixed on the basis of the average emoluments drawn by them at the time of retirement. Thus, the pre-revised scale from which a person has retired and the emoluments which he was drawing at the time immediately preceding his retirement are a relevant consideration for the purpose of computing revised pension and cannot be ignored. As such, it was not permissible for the respondents to ignore the pre-revised scale of pay for the purpose of computing revised pension as per the modified parity in the garb of issuing the clarifications, thereby altering the modified parity/formula, which was accepted by the Central Government vide its resolution dated 29.08.2008.

28. The above view is also fortified by paras 137.15, 137.20 and 137.21 of the V CPC recommendations, as reproduced below, leading to modified parity, which were also accepted by the VI CPC and accepted by the Central Government and thus read: ıImmediate relief to pensioners

137.15 While the work relating to revision of pension of pre 1.1.1986 retires by notional fixation of their pay shall have to be undertaken by the pension sanctioning authorities to be completed in a time-bound manner, we suggest that the pensioners should be provided some relief immediately on implementation of our recommendations. The pension disbursing authorities may be authorized to consolidate the pension by adding (a) basic pension; (b) personal pension, wherever admissible; (c) dearness relief as on 1.1.1996 on basic pension only; (d) Interim Relief (I and II) and (e) 20% of basic pension. The consolidated pension shall be not less than 50% of the minimum pay, as revised by the Fifth CPC, of the post held by the pensioner at the time of retirement. This may be stepped up by the pension disbursing authorities, wherever feasible, to the level of 50% of the minimum pay of the post held by the pensioner at the time of retirement. (emphasis supplied)

Modified parity conceded

137.20 We have given our careful consideration to the suggestions. While we do not find any merit in the suggestion to revise the pension of past retirees with reference to maximum pay of the post held at the time of retirement, as revised by the Fifth CPC, there is force in the argument that the revised pension should be not less than that admissible on the minimum pay of the post held by the retiree at the time of retirement, as revised by the Fifth CPC. We have no hesitation in conceding the argument advanced by pensioners that they should receive a pension at least based on the minimum pay of the post as revised by Fifth Pay Commission in the same way as an employee normally gets the minimum revised pay of the post he holds. We recommend acceptance of this principle, which is based on reasonable considerations. (emphasis supplied). 

Principle enunciated

137.21 The Commission has decided to enunciate a principle for the future revision of pensions to the effect that complete parity should normally be conceded up to the date of last pay revision and modified parity (with pension equated at least to the minimum of the revised pay scale) be accepted at the time of each fresh pay revision. This guiding principle which we have accepted would assure that past pensioners will obtain complete parity between the pre-ı86 and post-ı86 pensioners but there will be only a modified parity between the pre-ı96 and post-ı96 pensioners. The enunciation of the principle would imply that at the time of the next pay revision say, in the year 2006, complete parity should be given to past pensioners as between pre-1996 and post-1996 and modified parity be given between the pre-2006 and post-2006 pensioners. ı (emphasis supplied)

29. From the above extracted portion it is clear that the principle of modified parity, as recommended by the V CPC and accepted by the VI CPC and accepted by the Central Government provides that revised pension in no case shall be lower than 50% of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and grade pay corresponding to revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retried. According to us, as already stated above, in the garb of clarification, respondents interpreted minimum of pay in the pay band as minimum of the pay band. This interpretation is apparently erroneous, for the reasons:

(a) if the interpretation of the Government is accepted it would mean that pre-2006 retirees in S-29 grade retired in December, 2005 will get his pension fixed at Rs.23700/- and anther officer who retired in January 2006 at the minimum of the pay will get his pension fixed at Rs.27350/-. This hits the very principle of the modified parity, which was never intended by the Pay Commission or by the Central Government;

(b) The Central Government improved upon many pay scales recommended by the VI CPC. The pay scale in S-29 category was improved from Rs.39200-67000/- plus Grade Pay of Rs.9,000/- with minimum pay of Rs.43280/- to Rs.37,400-67000/- with grade pay of Rs.10,000/- with minimum pay of Rs.44,700/- (page 142 of the paper-book). If the interpretation of the Department of Pension is accepted, this will result in reduction of pension by Rs.4,00/- per month. The Central Government did not intend to reduce the pension of pre-2006 retirees while improving the pay scale of S-29 grade;

(c) If the erroneous interpretation of the Department of Pension is accepted, it would mean that a Director level officer retiring after putting in merely 2 years of service in their pay band (S-24) would draw more pension than a S-29 grade officer retiring before 1.1.2006 and that no S-29 grade officer, whether existing or holding post in future will be fixed at minimum of the pay band, i.e., Rs.37,400/-. Therefore, fixation of pay at Rs.37,400/- by terming it as minimum of the pay in the pay band is erroneous and ill conceived; and

(d) That even the Minister of State for Finance and Minister of State (PP) taking note of the resultant injustice done to the pre-11.2006 pensioners (pages 169-170) had sent formal proposal to the Department of Expenditure seeking rectification but the said proposal was turned down by the officer of the Department of Expenditure on the ground of financial implications. Once the Central Government has accepted the principle of modified parity, the benefit cannot be denied on the ground of financial constraints and cannot be said to be a valid reason.

30. In view of what has been stated above, we are of the view that the clarificatiory OM dated 3.10.2008 and further OM dated 14.10.2008 (which is also based upon clarificatiory OM dated 3.10.2008) and OM dated 11.02.2009, whereby representation was rejected by common order, are required to be quashed and set aside, which we accordingly do. Respondents are directed to re-fix the pension of all pre-2006 retirees w.e.f. 1.1.2006, based on the resolution dated 29.08.2008 and in the light of our observations made above. Let the respondents re-fix the pension and pay the arrears thereof within a period of 3 months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. OAs are allowed in the aforesaid terms, with no order as to interest and costs.:-

3. The true spirit and the nature of the judgment vide OA No. 655/2010, on the basis of which letter dated 30 July 2015 and MOD letter dated 03 Sep 2015 are issued is defeated, since annexures A to C to letter dated 30 July 2015 have been issued are on the basis of linkage of full pension to 33 years of the service and reduced for the lesser service.

.4         In order to clear the anomalies Basic Pension for the Defense Pensioners for JCOs /ORs may be fixed as Max of a, b & c formula given below will be applicable from 01 Jan 2006 and arrears to be paid from 01 Jan 2006 :-

(a) . 50% of sum of (Minimum of Basic Pay in the Pay band corresponding to Previous Pay Scale + Grade Pay + MSP + X Pay (if applicable)

(b). 50% of sum of (Minimum of Basic Pay in the Pay band corresponding to Previous Pay Scale for direct recruits + Grade Pay + MSP + X Pay (if applicable)) in accordance with Page 43 of Govt. Notification No. 470 dated 29th Aug 2008 Section – II. The same are re-produced below :-

“Entry pays in the revised pay structure for direct recruits appointed after 01.01.2006 

Pay Band 1 (5200 – 20200) 

                                    Grade Pay                  Pay in the Band         Total
                                    1800                                        5200                7000
                                    1900                                        5830                7730
                                    2000                                        6460                8460
                                    2400                                        7510                9910
                                    2800                                        8560                11360

Pay Band- 2 ( 9300-34800) 

                                    Grade Pay                  Pay in the Band         Total
                                    4200                                        9300                13500
                                    4600                                        12540              17140
                                    4800                                        13500              18150

©.        If Basic Pension as arrived as para 4 a or 4 b is lower than No  1(13)/2012/d(Pen/Policy0 dated 17-01-2013 as revised from 24 Sep 2012 higher Basic Pension will be applicable.              

 Attached annexures A and B 

(Source - Email  from Ex Hav Ranbir Singh)

Military Dimension of the Report of the Seventh Pay Commission and Arguments on Righteousness - By Neelu Sethi

While commenting on the norms for governance, the Chairman, Seventh Central Pay commission quotes Gita–“Yatho Dharmah,Tatho Jayah” meaning “where there is Dharma, there is victory” or, in other words, success goes hand in hand with righteousness. This article intends to put forth just two arguments, based on the strength of the data and facts contained in the report submitted by the Commission. Both arguments suggesting no small manner that the high principles of righteousness,quoted in the Foreword of the report, have evidently been ignored while the Commission structured the pay and allowances for the defence forces.  Interestingly, the Commissions report has many contradictions which have helped in building of the aforesaid arguments and therefore the Commission’s report is the only document that has been referred to, in writing of this piece.
The first argument is that the Commission was inadequately composed to handle the challenges of developing the future pay structure for the defence forces, and yet it continued with the task at hand. The Commission’s report states that, “Of the total Central Government manpower of around 47 lakh, personnel belonging to the defence forces form a significant proportion of nearly 29.49 percent. In fact, as on 01 Jan 2014 the defence service personnel, numbering 13.86 lakh, formed the single largest group of Central Government employees”. In other words, almost one out of every three central government employees, that are affected by the report, is a combatant soldier. While, the rest of the Central Government has 91,510 Group A officers, Defence forces alone account for 66,690 officers. Apart from the above challenges on account of sheer magnitude, the Commission also acknowledges the uniqueness of the cadre. It states in its report that, “The Commission, after careful consideration of the matter, notes that there are exclusive elements that distinguish the Defence forces personnel from all other government employees. The intangible aspects linked to the special conditions of service experienced by them, set them apart from civilian employees. Defence forces personnel are expected to conduct full spectrum operations in operational environments which are characterised by extreme complexity and ….”
So the moot question is how did the Commission handle this huge magnitude, the largest component of central government employees, which is blessed with intangible aspects linked to special conditions of service and the extreme complexity of their operating environment.  A reading of Para 6.1.6 of the report will tell you that, they read the Joint Services Memorandum in 2014 and benefitted from the views, exchanges, and interactions with several key stake holders. But, here, the key question is whose advice and wisdom mattered the most while the report was written and the future pay structure evolved. They say that an author is absolutely candid while scripting the acknowledgements and its reading is the key to knowledge sourcing. The Chairman of the Commission, in his acknowledgement states that, “Shri D.K. Rai, a young officer from Accounts and Finance stream who had a deep insight into the financial matters especially, the defence. His knowledge about defence finance has been of great help to this Commission in determining the pay structure for the defence forces.”
Isn’t it perplexing and absolutely against the high principles of righteousness, that the future pay structure of 13.86 lakh combatants was decided largely by an officer from Account and Finance stream, who was considered as an expert with deep insight in matters relating to defence services. Isn’t it strange, that while the successive pay commissions acknowledge the sheer magnitude of our armed forces, the uniqueness of its service conditions, and complexity of the operating environment and yet, while they decide their fate, they rely on officers with accounts and finance background? Why couldn’t the Chairman, not have at his disposal, just one out of the 66,690 officers that serve the Defence forces, to help him determine the future pay structure of defence forces? More so, when the word “defence” occurs on 255 pages of the report? And if officers of the account services have indeed such insights, then why can’t they do the needful for all other central government services, and the members from the Indian Administrative Services be spared such onerous responsibilities? Why is it that the Commission’s organization, as stated on Page (i) of the report, which details 45 honourable members, starting from Justice Shri Ashok Kumar Mathur, Chairman, to ShriInder Lal Singh, SCD, does not include a single military mind? Is it about keeping the military at a distance from the process of decision making? Or is it that the military’s understanding of its own pay structures is suspect and others know better about military’s requirements?

The second argument that needs debate is that the Commission has utterly failed in its task of identifying the real frustrations that lie heavy on a common military mind and has therefore been unable to deliver a fair pay and allowance package that the Indian defence forces so richly deserve. Like in case of the first argument, the Commission was apparently aware of the issues at stake. In Para 1.19 of the report the Commission states that “person should not stagnate but should have fair opportunity to progress by dint of merit and secure better emoluments so that frustration does not set in.”But sadly, as it went on with the process of evolving the military pay structure, it apparently ignored it.
The anomalous understanding of the situation is apparent from the reading of the Para 6.2.19 of the report which states that:
“The post VI CPC pay structure marks a complete departure from the earlier Pay Commissions as far as the pay parity between civilian and defence service officers is concerned. Not only has the starting pay of a defence officers been placed substantially higher at 29 percent more than his/her civilian counterpart, this gap continues to remain wide at over 20 percent for the first nine years of service. In fact the pay of defence service officers remains uninterruptedly higher for a thirty-two year period. Thereafter pay of defence and civil service officers are at par.”
The last part of the aforesaid contention is very easily contestable, and is in fact the core issue which frustrates the defence community. The fact of the matter is that the civil servant rises to be a Joint Secretary in about 17-18 years of service while the military man may still be a Lieutenant Colonel or equivalent. So the whole equation changes rather dramatically in the seventeenth year of service. Moreover, the military officer in all majority of cases, starts receiving pensions in about thirty years of service, or sometimes even less. So howhas this “uninterrupted edge for thirty-two years” been worked out?  Many can play with figures and facts, but what is required is to give the military the right compensation, both on account of their service conditions and the pyramidal nature of their organization.While each of the successive pay commissions have promised to deliver this, but facts on ground have always been otherwise. Two brief illustrations, from many available in the current recommendations, are appended below in support of the argument.
The first illustration relates to risk. The Commission, in Para 8.10.67 of the Report, itself acknowledges that no government employee faces more Risk/Hardship in his work than our Defence officers and jawans posted in Siachen Glacier. Hence, no RHA can have a value higher than this allowance. The rate recommended is Rs 31,500 pm for Level 9 and above and Rs 21,000 pm for levels below. However, while discussing Special Duty Allowance (SDA)in Para 8.17.115, the Report states that the SDA is “granted to attract civilian employees to seek posting in North Eastern and Ladakh regions, in view of the risk and hardship prevailing in these areas.” The allowance has been recommended to be be paid at the rate of 30 percent of Basic Pay to the All India Services officers. What it implies is that if an defence forces officer with say 19 years of service, serves in Siachen Glacier, he will be receiving a risk allowance of Rs 31,500 pm, while his colleagues from the All India Services with equal length of service, and serving in North Eastern or Ladhakh region will draw an allowance of more than Rs 54,000 pm. Is this dispensation aligned to the high principles of righteousness talked about earlier in the report?An officer of the  All India Service will certainly never be posted within the North East or Ladakh in places of hardship and risk akin to where the defence forces are deployed. But he/she will be compensated at a much higher rate!Two other clear anomalies emerge with this allowance – one, the SDA is not listed underAllowances related to Risk andHardship (Chapter 8.10), rather under Other Allowances (Chapter 8.17) ; two- the SDA is linked to basic pay, ensuring uninterrupted growth, while its step-brotherly Risk & Hardship Allowances are rather constant, growing at 25 % upon increase of DA to 50%?Is this dispensation of allowances to the brave men who risk their lives in the most inhospitable terrain obtaining in the world, aligned to the high principles of righteousness?
The second illustration also relates to the oft quoted but never given parity between the civil and defence pay structure. A simple comparision of Pay Matrix for civilian and defence employees for Level 13A can prove very helpful. Both levels deal with the erstwhile grade pay of Rs 8900 pm. However, in the new pay matrix the civilian officers in Level 13A have been given a rationalization index of 2.67, but their military counterparts have been given a rationalization index of 2.57 only. Which simply implies lower pay fixation for military officers in comparision to their civilian equivalents in Grade Pay. The report attempts to justify this disparity in the most unacceptable manner in Para 5.2.8 and Para 5.2.9 of the report.
Whatthe justification implies is that - since the Lieutenant Colonels were well compensated by the VI Pay Commission, arationalisation index of 2.57 was applied for them (Level 12 A). The Major Generals in Level 14 have been equated with their civilian counterparts and a higher rationalization index of 2.72 has been applied to them, in recognition of significant higher degree responsibility and accountability. And then, realizing that the Colonels and Brigadiers, were also to be dealt with, the commission felt appropriate that they be kept at a distance from the SAG and therefore fixed them at parity with the Lieutenant Colonels at 2.57 only. Do Colonels and Brigadiers not have higher degree of responsibility and accountability, just because there are no All India Services equivalents for their ranks? Doesn’t this reflect a total gap in understanding of the command and staff assignments that the Colonels and Brigadiers hold?
Grant of a fair pay and allowance package to the defence forces, which takes into account of their service conditions, operational environment, pyramidal structure, early retirement ages, is something which a democratic government should earnestly strive for and is a mandatory prerequisite for building a strong and resilient nation. The Central Pay Commission needsto be conscious of this fact but also needs to ensure that this requirement translates into actuals, at all costs. And, this can happen only when the military participates in the exercise.
Views expressed by the author by the Author are personal. Author is a commentator on human resource related issues in the corporate sector and also has interest in the man-management dimension of the military.
Report of the Seventh Central Pay Commission accessed from on 22ndNovember 2016
(Source- )

End politics over OROP

The curse of the delay is causing divisions within the fraternity with a set of pro-government and anti-government OROP campaigning bodies — the classic ‘divide and rule’ gets the better of the innocence and desperation of the veterans

Even in the most avowed democracies, wars, terrorism, insurgencies and natural calamities ensure the relevance and respect of the defence forces and their veterans. Matters pertaining to military and its veterans are also hot currency, politically. Not surprisingly, the run up to the US presidential elections are witnessing similar emotional pitches with a Democrat Hillary Clinton stating, “Today we are failing to keep faith with our veterans,” and pledging “zero tolerance for the kinds of abuses and delays we have seen”, to a Republican Jeb Bush stating emphatically on his campaign website that, “We don’t have the money is not an acceptable answer when it comes to providing choice and care to veterans. This is a problem of priorities, not funding.”

In India, too, the ruling dispensation was able to punt and cash the electoral cheque of appropriating ultra-nationalistic credentials, by passionately espousing veteran causes and promising to implement “One Rank, One Pension” in a time-bound manner with the exact specificities as passed by Parliament. The subsequent reneging via the concept of electoral jumlas is a “friendly fire” that the Indian soldier was unaware of. Instinctively, the Indian soldier does not have requisite skills or inclination to negotiate, bargain or doublespeak with his own government and seeks reciprocal dignity and time honoured tradition of a “word” given.

Now, the OROP’s avoidable narrative is getting dangerously political. Unlike our neighbours, Indian defence forces have been fiercely apolitical, restrained and bereft of any internal divisions in the rank and file. Today, the continued impasse and the insensitive handling and procrastination is leading to implosive fault lines. Initially, the campaign was studiously apolitical (despite trophy visits by certain Opposition party leaders), absolutely non-mutinous in tonality and phraseology (given the intractable link between the serving and the retired) in the most “officer-like” manner, despite multiple provocations and temptations to be otherwise.

Now, it is showing strains of quasi-unionisation (a definite no-no in military operations), with multiple bodies championing alternative formulas and approaches, each accusing the other of a “political benefactor” — an avoidable outcome of the delay. Similarly, symbolic medal-returning by soldiers gets wrapped up as part of the larger debate on the “politics of returning awards” by the artists and writers, with all its political allusions and import. Now, the Indian soldier is even asked to “prove” his apoliticalness and is getting ticked-off by the first-time Union minister for defence on the “unsoldier-like” conduct of the campaigning veterans (some of whom are war heroes and have given up to 40 years of their lives in the uniform)!

The curse of the delay is causing divisions within the fraternity with a set of pro-government and anti-government OROP campaigning bodies — the classic “divide and rule” gets the better of the innocence and desperation of the veterans, and the politics set inside and outside the movement.

The divide then gets even more dangerous and innovative within — it potentially posits the officers vis-à-vis the other ranks, it divides those retiring at 20 years versus those who serve the full term, it even divides the defence forces with their cousins in the para-military and so on.

For an ecosystem that has survived the curse of the combined apathy of the political classes and civilian bureaucracy by minding their own, in their respective barracks, this unprecedented infusion of politics within the comity of the defence forces is cancerous and sure to impact the efficacy and fine record of the Indian defence forces.

The tragic martyrdom of Col. Santosh Mahadik, who died in an encounter leading his men from the front and placing himself in the line of fire, is a shining example of the institution’s ethos and classless nature. It is such-like spirit that is at risk of getting squandered with overt politicisation and polarisation of a so far watertight outfit.

Key deterrent to rapprochement is one of trust deficit between the stakeholders — the seeds of which were laid by the governments post-Independence, which saw the defence forces as a legacy of the coloniers and a potential challenge to the acceptance of the political classes — thereafter, the task was conveniently accomplished by the willing babudom.

Now, the ghosts of suspicion need to be addressed with a transparent and inclusive approach by the government. Cherry-picking of pro-governmental OROP campaigners is tactically tempting, though strategically disastrous — it politicises the institution and impacts efficacy. An immediate joint committee (with time-bound mandate for resolution) needs to be formulated. This committee can hear out the grievances, facts and clarify the pain points of the OROP movement, directly — the earliest and still the largest body of the OROP campaigners, led by Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (fighting for the original scope of OROP without any dilution, as passed by Parliament) need to be represented. Given the sensitivity of the case, the Prime Minister himself should hear out the final outcome of the committee report, in person. Given the fractious history, an inclusion of any civil servant in the committee would only vitiate the discussions (more so, after the emotions within the defence forces after the tabling of Seventh Pay Commission and its implications for the forces). Post the agreement, surely the bureaucracy can step in to execute the modalities and conduct business as usual.

The OROP campaigners claim to have done the due diligence of financial calculations and implications (core issue in government’s dishonouring the OROP in toto).

However, addressing the veterans through spokespersons of political parties condescendingly debating on TV or surrogates has only led to the current stalemate. Let the nation know the hard facts and it is possible that the OROP campaigners may have erred in calculations, let that also be clarified factually — but, in an era of multi-thousand “packages” being doled out to politically relevant states, it would be interesting for the government to quote the exact amount of differential monies that it feels it cannot pay for the cause of veterans and the defence forces of India.

The writer is former lieutenant-governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry

(Source- The Asian Age)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Army veterans to take OROP battle to Supreme Court - Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has offered his services as the legal counsel for the army veterans.

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Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh addresses the media in Chandigarh on Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)
The veterans’ fight for the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) according to its original definition is set to enter a new phase with the battle now being taken to the Supreme Court.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has offered his services as the legal counsel for the army veterans. Addressing the media in Chandigarh on Sunday, Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), who has been leading a protest for OROP at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for the past 161 days, said the president of Bar Council of India, Dushyant A Dave has also offered to fight for the veterans’ cause, along with his team, in the apex court for free.

Satbir also came out strongly against the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission saying that the recommendations of the commission were further degrading the defence services. He appealed to the three service chiefs to come out strongly against the pay commission’s recommendations. He also said the OROP announcement and the pay commission recommendations have had adverse affect on serving soldiers. “I dare say it has affected serving soldiers. They are asking questions. You are not going by your promises. If the defence services also go back on their oath, what will happen,” he asked the Centre.

Accusing the government of leading a disinformation campaign regarding their announcement of implementation of OROP, Satbir said the veterans are not going to lift their agitation till OROP is implemented in letter and spirit.
“The government talks to militants to broker peace and arrive at a resolution of problems. Unfortunately, the veterans and widows have been sitting at dharna, but the government has not bothered to come even once to us and ask us why are we sitting here,” said Satbir.

Accusing the bureaucracy of sabotaging the OROP proposal, he said ever since Independence, the bureaucrats have been suppressing the defence services. He said the OROP announced by the government was in fact one rank many pensions and was not what had been approved by the houses of the Parliament.
Satbir said it is surprising that the pay commission has depressed the top scales of the military. “A brigadier will now come below a DIG of the police. A joint secretary going to Guwahati will get Rs 54,000 extra as special allowance, but an Army officer serving in Siachen Glacier will get only Rs 31,000,” he said.

Terming many recommendations of the commission as being an example of the “vindictiveness of the IAS”, he said even the funeral allowance of Rs 5,000 given to service personnel has been taken away. He also criticised the proposal to do away with free rations for officers in peace areas, changes in rules for disability allowance and the scrapping of furlough given to serving personnel.

(Source- Indian Express)

FinMin sets up Cell to implement Pay Panel recommendations

The Finance Ministry has set up an 'Implementation Cell' to give effect to the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission which are eventually accepted by the government. Headed by a Joint Secretary level officer, the Cell has been set up in the Department of Expenditure for a period of one year with effect from November 20, 2015.
The Cell would process and implement the "accepted recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission", said an office memorandum. Besides Joint Secretary, the Cell would have nine officials and staff, including a Director level officer and two under-secretary level officers.
The Seventh Pay Commission, headed by Justice A K Mathur, had on November 19 submitted its report to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.  It had recommended a 23.55 per cent increase in salary, allowances and pension of government staff, involving an additional outgo of Rs 1.02 lakh crore in 2016-17.
The recommendations that will benefit 47 lakh central government employees and 52 lakh pensioners, will lead to an additional outgo of Rs 73,650 crore from the Union Budget and Rs 28,450 crore from Railway Budget.
The new pay scales, subject to acceptance by the government, will come into effect from January 1, 2016. The Centre has expressed confidence that the implementation of the recommendation will not lead to a breach in the fiscal deficit targets.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha had said: "We are confident that we will be able to stick to fiscal consolidation roadmap even with what the Pay Commission recommended. The roadmap that we have put together is taking into account what the impact of the Pay Commission would be".
The government had unveiled a fiscal consolidation roadmap in Budget under which fiscal deficit was to be brought down to 3.9 per cent of GDP in 2015-16, 3.5 per cent in 2016-17 and 3 per cent by 2017-18.
Fiscal deficit in 2014-15 was 4 per cent of GDP
(Source- Business


As we submitted our Report to the Raksha Mantri today, we felt proud as well as relieved.

Proud, since we were a part of a historic opportunity initiated almost seven decades into independence, to not only look into steps for minimizing litigation initiated against soldiers and veterans by the Ministry of Defence but also to address the status quo in the various systems of redressal of grievances, and improvement thereon, for the men and women in uniform and also defence civilians who so proudly serve us in trying circumstances. Relieved, since the last few months were heavy on all of us, as we went about this onerous task diligently and honestly and in great detail within the granted time so that we do not let you down. 

Burdened by thousands of cases involving the MoD and the dissatisfaction on this account, the Raksha Mantri had constituted a Committee of Experts for review of service and pension matters including potential disputes, minimizing litigation and strengthening institutional mechanisms related to redressal of grievances. The step was in line with the Prime Minister’s vision that Government departments should concentrate on core issues of governance rather than wasting time and resources on unproductive activities. The Committee functioned almost like a Blue Ribbon Commission by going into minutiae of multiple issues and by interacting with various wings of the MoD as well as the Defence Services.

The 509 page Report is a result of that hard work for which thanks is due to all Members, that is, former Adjutant General Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, former Military Secretary Lt Gen Richard Khare, former Judge Advocate General Maj Gen T Parshad and Kargil War-disabled and inspirational personality Maj DP Singh. All of us were equal partners in the final result. 

We would also like to place our gratitude to the Raksha Mantri, Mr Manohar Parrikar, for not just being willing to take the bold step of identifying these issues which have caused major heartburn but more importantly for ensuring that only apolitical personalities with domain knowledge were a part of the Panel and also ensuring that there was no interference in our functioning and for encouraging us to render honest, candid and sincere observations without fear or favour. 

We assure you that we performed our duty without any personal baggage or pre-conceived notions. Our approach was to make certain that practical on-ground efforts be made to reduce litigation, especially appeals, and also steps taken towards maintenance of harmony between employees and the establishment and balancing of rights of both parties which would lead to an increase in productivity and also enable the Government to focus upon administration rather than avoidable disputes with its own human resources. Our approach was conciliatory and we have consciously postulated only practical, progressive, workable, reformatory and gradual solutions rather than impractical or knee-jerk revolutionary ideas. On implementation, we are confident that this Report would result in a complete legal, administrative, cultural and social shift in the system bringing in harmony and a calming effect. 

In our Report, which contains 75 recommendations, we have touched upon various aspects of pension and service matters, discipline, vigilance and promotion issues, military justice reform, issues concerning civil employees and areas of potential disputes. 

We have already recommended that our Report be made public in the spirit of transparency. However, till the Report is fully in public domain, the broader contours of the same can be spelt out. 

We have attempted to identify service and pension related policies, including those affecting disabled soldiers and widows, which have been interpreted in the favour of employees and have attained judicial finality at High Court/Supreme Court level but in which the establishment is still filing appeals, and have recommended the immediate withdrawal of all such appeals and harmonizing such policies and conceding similar cases in tune with judicial pronouncements. This includes issues related to declaration of in-service disabilities wrongly as “Neither Attributable to, Nor Aggravated by Military Service” by the system and injuries sustained while on authorized leave. We have taken note of the rising disabilities due to the inherent stress and strain of military service for which due benefits must be released. We have observed that the default reaction of official instrumentalities is ‘to appeal’ in cases decided in favour of employees and there is resistance to come to terms with the fact that the officialdom has ‘lost’ a case. Many appeals are fuelled by prestige and official egotism. We have also expressed concerns regarding over-reliance on finance entities in decision-making and have stated that at best finance entities can comment upon financial implications but cannot go into the realm of merits or demerits of subjects which fall in the domain of medical or legal knowledge. Finance entities cannot override decisions of executive authorities competent to take those decisions under the Rules of Business or delegated powers. We have also recommended more role for all ranks in consultative process concerning pensionary policies.

We have recommended initiation of greater personal interaction and opportunity of hearing in the system of formal Complaints and Petitions so as to give a better role to human interaction rather than the one-way noting sheet method and to assist in providing outlet and catharsis to individuals related to their grievances. We have also propagated greater constructive usage of social media, including initiation of blogs by senior commanders, to promote an interactive process with the rank and file. We have recommended a face to face ‘collegiate’ system of decision-making in various aspects rather than the file circulation method. We have recommended more transparency in the system of promotion boards and matters related to promotions and confidential reports and decentralization of powers from power-centers that may have emerged and also changes in the system of dispensation of Military Justice. The recommendations in the Chapter of Military Justice Reform include steps that can be taken without any legislative change such as introduction of permanent infrastructure for Courts Martial at specified stations to reduce ad hocism and reduction of Command influence in the process of military justice. We have also recognized other areas such as lack of adherence to the concept of separation of powers and independence of JAG Branch requiring statutory or legislative intervention for which we have recommended a high level Study Group to ensure that reforms in these very important areas are not ignored and are configured with the times and the best national and global practices. 

We have also identified that civilians employed in the MoD are unsung heroes on whom adequate energy is not focussed. We have identified many issues concerning defence civilians which have attained finality at the High Court or Supreme Court level which need to be resolved by issuance of corrective policies.

We have recognized other areas of potential disputes including those of disabled cadets, women officers and Short Service Commissioned Officers. For SSCOs, we have recommended the grant of ECHS, reversion to the 5+5+4 system of engagement with graded grant of benefits and introduction of a Contributory Pension Scheme. We have also recommended restoration of outpatient medical facilities withdrawn from SSCOs and ECOs during late 2000s. 

As far as appeals filed by the Government are concerned, we have stated that in the case of both civil and defence employees/pensioners, the orders of the CAT or the AFT if rendered in their favour should ordinarily be accepted and appeals by the Government should only be made in exceptional cases with the High Court being the last forum for appeal as a matter of policy.

While we went about our task sincerely, there was a minority which had imputed that the Committee had been appointed by the Government and hence would be speaking the language of the establishment. We wish to place on record here that we have been thoroughly objective in our Report as desired by the Raksha Mantri himself and we were functioning in an Honorary capacity after squeezing out time from our respective professions and routines and hence I personally found such voices not in good taste. The end result is objective and dispassionate and demolishes that minority view. 

More details on the subject would now be made available by the Ministry of Defence when the Report is made public. The process of consideration of the Report would be initiated after 25th December 2015

We wish to thank everyone for the unstinting support to the cause of defence employees, including our men and women in uniform, and we are hopeful of a colossal turning point from today due to this effort personally initiated by the Raksha Mantri. 

Jai Hind.


Navdeep Singh's photo.
Navdeep Singh's photo.
(Source- Via e-mail from Col YC Mehra Veteran)