Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wishing the Honourable Defence Minister/Raksha Mantri a Happy Diwali

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Dear Honourable Defence Minister/Raksha Mantri,


          My family (of about 18 lakh Family Pensioners and Pensioners of the Armed Forces and their families) join me in wishing you and your family a very Happy Diwali.

          This is my first letter to any Defence Minister/Raksha Mantri because I read in the media reports of your teaching the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) how to say “Namaste.” I am sure you will use sorely need your teaching skills in the Ministry of Defence.

On the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights, there is widespread gloom and ominous silence (which has nothing to with the Apex Court’s ban on fire crackers) in the houses of Veterans and Family pensioners.

Your esteemed self might wish to ask, “So what does that have to do with my teaching skills?” You will need them, as I said earlier, to teach the MoD’s Department of Ex-Serviceman, the Defence (Finance) and Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) something called truth, welfare and care for the families and Veterans who have given life, limb and decades of their lives in the service of the nation, that is India.

The answer lies in subsequent paragraphs on just one of the many aspects of suffering that family pensioners and Veterans have endured, especially being shown the light of the (ever lengthening) tunnel by promises made in Rewari in September 2013.

On 6th July 2017, that is more than three months prior to Diwali, the Civilian pensioners of the Govt of India were rewarded for services rendered by the Department of Pensions & Pensioners Welfare providing them with Concordance tables for revising their pensions (F No. 38/37/2016-P & PW (A) dated 6th July 2017 refers).

To the matter at hand, in reply to RTI online request for information registration No. DEXSW/R/2017/ 50548 dated 31st August 2017 on the progress of issue of concordance tables for Armed Forces pensioners, the Deptt of Ex-Servicemen replied vide No. 237/RTI/D (P/P)/2014 dated 13th September 2017 that the  above mentioned concordance tables had been sent to CGDA vide PB to ID No. 17(1)/2016- D(Pen/Pol) dated 13th July 2017 for further necessary action.  

As the O/o CGDA did not deign to provide a reply to a simultaneous RTI online request for information on concordance tables vide registration number CGDFA/R/2017/50306 dated 31st July 2017, a First Appeal registration No. CGDFA/A/2017/60061 dated 13thSeptember 2017 was filed.

In the order No. CPIO/AT/2017/HQ/I/328/Appeal dated 11thOctober 2017, the First Appellate Authority of the o/o CGDA communicated online on 12th October 2017, stating that the “desired concordance tables for notional fixation pay of Armed Forces pensioners are awaited from the Ministry of Defence.” 

It may be relevant to note that the PCDA (Pension), a subordinate office of the CGDA has issued Circular No. 585 dated 21stSeptember 2017, quoting GoI (MoD) letter No. 17 (01)/2017/(02)/D(Pension/Policy) dated 5th September 2017! And Para 3 of the Circular states, inter-alia, “Revised pension/family pension of all Armed Forces Personnel who retired/died prior to 01.01.2016 shall be revised by fixing their pay in the pay matrix recommended by the 7thCPC in the level corresponding to the pay scale/pay band and grade pay at which they retired/died……”

And the same Para 3 is repeated in yet another circular (with no number) issued by PCDA (Pension) vide letter No. G-1/M/01/ICOs/7thCPC/Vol. II/2017 dated 29th September 2017.

The Armed Forces pensioners and Family pensioners will continue to suffer in silence for a few more months to get the correct pensions. 

On the other hand, the civilian staff of the MoD enjoy a well lit Diwali along with Defence Civil Pensioners, who have been granted the enhanced pension forthwith vide Para 5  of PCDA (Pension) Circular C-169 dated 11th July 2017.

So, honourable Defence Minister, now you understand why I request you to teach the officers in MoD and its affiliates like O/o CGDA to treat Armed Forces pensioners with the same alacrity as they have done with Defence Civilian pensioners.

Satyam Ev Jayate is the nation’s motto. Should it also not be applicable to the MoD and CGDA’s officers?
Happy Diwali

Jai Hind

(Source : Aerial view blog - )

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