TRI SERVICES EX-SERVICEMEN
TSEWA (Registration No. 495/2015)
Ref No.TSEWA/SPARSH-01/2022 20th May 2022
Hon'ble Sri Narendra Modi Ji Prime Minister
Govt of India South Block, Raisina Hill New Delhi - 110 011
Hon'ble Sri Rajnath Singh Ji Raksha Mantri
Govt of India 104, South Block, Raisina Hill New Delhi - 110 011
Smt Nirmala Sitharaman Ji Finance Minister
Govt of India 134, North Block, Raisina Hill New Delhi - 110 011
FUNCTIONAL UPGRADATION OF SPARSH FOR EFFICIENCY
Tri Services Ex- Servicemen Welfare Association (TSEWA) is a Regd welfare
organisation with its Headquarters at Secunderabad as per the details given above in
the letter head. The organisation is an Apex National Welfare Organisation for ExServicemen and War Widows with more than 16,000 ex-servicemen as Members from
all the States in India. TSEWA believes in "True Sewa" to the Ex-Servicemen especially
JCO/OR and their equivalents in the Navy and the Air Force. TSEWA is self-funded by
its Members through voluntary contributions and the Executive Committee Members
travel the length and breadth of the country to interact with the Ex-Servicemen, Single
Ladies and Veer Naris and help them in resolving their problems and rehabilitate them.
More details can be obtained from our website www.tsewa.org.
2. A large number of letters have been written by veterans and Veteran Welfare
Associations to various authorities expressing their concerns and anguish on SPARSH
without analyses of the Issues that may be hindering the smooth implementation of
SPARSH. Hence this letter may kindly not be treated as yet another letter of complaints.
Similarly, a large number of letters were written directly and through the Service HQs
Flat No.101, H.No. 1-1-78/5, Edifice Pride, Valluvar Nagar, Ammuguda, Behind CDM, Sec'bad - 500 094
Mobile: 09494037781, E-mail email@example.com, Website : www.tsewa.org
by various veteran organisations expressing their reservations on SPARSH at the initial
stage of development of the System which do not appear to have been given any
thought by the CGDA. TSEWA has carried out in-depth analyses of possible flaws in
the system and is submitting comprehensive recommendations through this letter to
overcome the present impasse and resistance from Veterans on the proposed road to
Digital India as per the vision of the Hon'ble PM of India. Since TSEWA is not involved
in Software Development Life Cycle, certain presumptions are made in this letter based
on the user interaction with the Veterans.
3. The pensions of approximately 33 Lakh Defence and Civilian Pensioners of MOD are
hitherto disbursed mainly through the 28 Public Sector and Four Pvt Sector Banks with
their vast network of CPPCs and Branches in the remotest part of the country. The
pensioners could interact with the PDA Banks and redress their grievances through the
Banks. In spite of initial hiccups, the banks have understood the Rank structure of the
pensioners and have been able to implement various Circulars issued by PCDA to
correctly disburse the pensions on-time, every time. The Banks have spent a fortune on
development of suitable software to handle various issues pertaining to interpretation
and implementation of orders issued by PCDAs. It is purported that there is an annual
outgo of Rs.180 crores to the Banks towards the handling charges of pension
disbursement to the Defence Veterans. The Banks have also extended special services
by way converting the pension accounts to DSP status with attendant benefits
4. Min of Def (ESW) on the advise of CGDA approved central pension disbursal
defence pensioners including defence civilians by creating Central Pension Disbursing
Authority (CPDA). PCDA (Pensions) Prayagraj (herein after referred to as PCDA (P)) is
designated as CPDA. This new system of Central Disbursal of Pernsion is known as
System for Administration of RAKSHAK (SPARSH). CGDA has already incurred
expenditure of 7 160 crores out of estimated requirement of funds of 260 crores.
5. As per the Press Information Bureau release of Min of Def dated 04 May 2022, 4.47
lakh defence pensioners post 2016 retirees have been migrated to SPARSH till 31 Mar
2022 out of 33 lakhs defence pensioners including defence civilian pensioners and in
due course, the balance pensioners who retired pre-2016 will also be migrated on to
Present Serious Flaw with SPARSH
6. Out of the 4.47 lakh Defence Pensioners migrated to SPARSH, about 58275
defence pensioners did not receive their pension of Apr 2022 though they submitted
Annual Life Certificate to their banks in Nov 2021 and received pension from Dec 2021
to Mar 2022. The post-mortem revealed that the SPARSH System has not recognised
the Life Certificate submitted to the Banks and required pensioners to re-submit the Life
Certificate after Log-in formalities are completed. There was inadequate training and
understanding of the process of Registration especially by many non-computer savvy
pensioners and they have been put to tremendous hardships due to stoppage of
Pensions which is the sole source of income for survival of many pensioners.
7. The CGDA/PCDA as is their work culture, were totally unresponsive to the serious
problem and insisted on fresh submission of Life Certificate through SPARSH Medium
for renewal of pensions of the affected pensioners in a typical Bureaucratic way. It is
only after the media raised a stink on the issue, MOD reacted to the situation and gave
a one-time waiver of the need for fresh re-submission of the Life Certificates which gave
the much needed relief when the pensions were restored. The 58,275 affected
personnel included Army Cdrs to Sepoys who retired post 2016 and who were migrated
to SPARSH. The stoppage of pensions resulted in pensioners defaulting in repayment
of term-loans, non-payment of rentals and expenses connected with day-to-day living.
Poor Methodology of Implementation
8. It is amply clear that CGDA/ PCDA (P) have not given adequate thought to the plan
of implementation of SPARSH. It is a saving grace that only 58,275 out of 4.47 lakh post
2016 pensioners who were migrated to SPARSH were affected. It would have been
catastrophic if all the 33 lakh pensioners have been migrated to SPARSH. Some of the
issues visibly not understood by CGDA/ PCDA are given below:
(a) The premise that all pensioners especially older generation of Veteran
JCO/ORs/ Veernaris will be computer savwy or have smart phones to handle
SPARSH is the biggest folly
(b) There is no Pilot study carried out with a limited number of pensioners to
understand the difficulties before migration of Pensioners.
(c) No cognizance of the present disbursement system of Pay & Allowances to
the Serving Defence Personnel is taken whilst defining user requirements of the
Defence Pensioners especially of older generations.
(d) No training of pensioners is carried out to make them understand the system
requirements. Presumption that issue of a simple circular explaining SPARSH
System is adequate to disseminate the contents to the pensioners in the
remotest places, is another big mistake.
(e) Redressal grievance system is totally inadequate and limited telephone
helplines are totally unresponsive.
(f) The work culture of employees of PCDA (P) needs much to be desired. The
measurable output of the employees is not even 4 hours in a day as established
by many ESM Welfare association representatives who visit Prayagraj.
(g) CGDA/PCDA (P) have no idea how to deal with illiterate pensioners /Family
pensioners speaking only local languages who call up to redress their
grievances. (Presuming that they get through the help lines which are never
(h) There are innumerable problems with the issue of e-PPOs. It is a nightmare
for pensioners to get a Corrigendum PPO issued or get the DOB and other
particulars corrected though, the entire correct data is held with the PCDA (P).
(j) TCS has built a huge fort with no doors to let the elephant in. Obviously the
SDLC steps of Planning, Defining, Designing, Building, Testing and Deployment
were not followed both by CGDA and TCS before implementation of SPARSH
which is supposed to be the panacea for all the present problems faced by the
(k) Defining the user requirements is left to some auditors who looked at it from
the audit point of view and not user point of view.
(1) The Geeks sitting in TCS developed the software based on such ill-defined
"User Requirement Manual" who presume that all target users are IT Savvy.
(m) Professional advice of Defence Institutions like MCTE hasn't been taken to
vet the User Requirement Manual before handing over to TCS. Hence this is a
typical case of GIGO.
Serious Present Issues
9. The above are some of the valid presumptions made by TSEWA to further analyse
the ground realities and recommend the way out, for smooth implementation of
SPARSH. The present software developed by TCS may not stand the test of user
friendliness in the absence of adherence to the SDLC Methodology. This will result in
DAD reacting to a situation without root cause analyses. It is already proposed to have
a cell of DAD people at various levels for Grievances Redressal which will result only in
Empire Building by CGDA the cost of which will surpass multiple times of the present
expenditure in the Legacy System of Banks disbursing the pensions. Some of the major
issues faced by the Veterans and Veernaris are analysed below to arrive at the
recommended solutions. These are mentioned without any explanatory notes for the
sake of brevity:
(a) Correct e-PPOs are essential elements for the success of SPARSH. Any
data correction and issue of Corr. PPO or le-PPO at present takes 6-12 months
at PCDAs without any accountability.
(b) The so called Toll Free numbers at PCDAs are never accessible by the
Veterans nor any solutions given even if accessed.
(c)The Data Correction and validity is now palmed off to the Record Offices by
PCDAs though the correct Data is already held by them thus including one more
misery hurdle to be crossed by the veterans.
(d) The Veterans are made to run from pillar to post to get the innumerable
mistakes made/missing data in the PPOs. The problem is accentuated especially
in case of old age, iliterate/ semi-literate JCO/OR Veernaris and invalid veterans
who are forced to travel long distances to reach ZsWO offices or write to Record
(e) The Zilla Sainik Welfare Offices and Record Offices are ill equipped/manned
to efficiently handle the Grievances of the Veterans. The ZSWO offices merely
act as post ofices and there is no accountability.
(f) The next door Banks which are PDAs have no power to help redressal and
merely refer the issues to CPPCs who in-turn seek help from unresponsive
(g) The Record Offices depute serving personnel at regular intervals to PCDAs
to expedite Grievance Redressal without any visible results due to poor work
Culture at PCDAs especially at Prayagraj which is the nerve centre.
(h) The civilian personnel at PCDAs generally do not understand the structure
of Defence Services and trained service personnel who retire young are not given
lateral absorption into PCDAs which would have brought-in the desired
(j) The Navy Pension Office which is doing a great job, is an unsanctioned
establishment and has to depend on temporary deputation of serving personnel
who are pulled out at the cost of efficiency of the ships and establishments.
Recommendations for Improvement
10. With a view to ensure smooth transition from the present Legacy System to the
Digital System envisaged by the Hon'ble Prime Minister, TSEWA recommends the
(a) A fresh de-novo look at the software developed by TCS be done strictly
adhering to the principles of SDLC Method.
(b) The user requirements may be arrived at and vetting be done by Service
establishments like MCTE and not left to CGDA/ TCS alone.
(c) The Banks which are DPDAs and other DPDOs be made as the prime/ abinitio organisations to log-in all grievances by the affected Veterans. These
are the nearest entities serving the veterans and veernaris without hassles of
language or long travel. They should be given a module which will interface with
SPARSH. Adequate training of Banking staff in use of the module be ensured
and earmark dedicated bank staff for the purpose depending upon the number
of veterans being serviced by that DPDA.
(d) Computer savvy veterans may continue to log into SPASH and should be in
a position lodge their Grievances sitting at home and using their own laptops/
(e) Annual Life Certificates be done using facial recognition methods interfaced
with Aadhar which should be made accessible at DPDAs level or by individuals
sitting at home using appropriate software. The procedure to be followed by some
veterans who are permanently living abroad for submission of ALC should also
(f) All grievances lodged by the veterans/veernaris through the DPDAs be ab
initio made accessible by the respective Record Offices with a similar module of
(g) The Record Offices, Navy Pension Office and IAF Accounts Offices servicing
the Veteran issues should be adequately manned to address all Grievances by
direct interaction with the affected Veterans / Veernaris on telephone, Mobiles
etc. till satisfactory closure of the Grievance.
(h) The above service Organisations should have an appropriate module in
SPARSH to escalate all issues to the respective PCDAs for resolution of the
Grievances pertaining to their responsibility / authority. The onus for
satisfactory closure of Grievances should be shifted to the Record Offices
IPCDAs once a Veteran has logged-in the Grievance either through DPDAs
or individually, instead of the Veterans being made to run from pillar to post
for redressal of the Grievance now.
(j)No requests for additional manpower by CGDA be entertained for
implementation of SPARSH. Any sanction of additional Manpower at
CGDAs/PCDAs will defeat the entire purpose of migration from the existing
Legacy System to SPARSH as a cost saving measure. Adequate training of the
existing Civilian Personnel in PCDAs, accountability and motivation aspects be
instituted. Lateral induction of trained ESM be considered to PCDAs/ DPDAs.
(k) Auto Generation of Reports of all pending Grievances at various levels
right up to the Defence Minister be incorporated in SPARSH software for
monitoring and institution of corrective measures.
(1) ZSWOs should be removed from the loop of Pension Grievances redressal
and their role be limited to State issues.
(m) SPARSH activities be suspended immediately pending a re-look at the
software developed by TCS and necessary improvements may be done in line
with the recommendations at para 10 above.
(n) A pilot project be done for implementation of SPARSH on a target group of
veterans in the remotest areas of the country and not limited to urban computer
savvy veterans of the present generation.
(o) All Log-ins/ Registration by Veterans/Veernaris into SPARSH be made
only through Bank DPDAs / other DPDOs using a freshly developed
suitable module thus eliminating the need for pensioners to be computer
savvy or possess costly smart phones for Registration into SPARSH.
(p)Migration of the Veterans /Veernaris be done only on successful completion
of pilot project and all major/minor glitches in the software are removed and the
system fully stabilised.
(q)In the worst case scenario, if SPARSH cannot meet the requirements, option
be given to the individuals to continue under the Legacy System.
11. A lot of effort has gone in making SPARSH as on date. If the above mentioned
suggestions of TSEWA to improve SPARSH are considered, there will be all round
satisfaction and smooth transition from Legacy System to the new Digital SPARSH
After all, a pensioner needs his monthly pension on time and every time and his
grievances should be resolved in a time bound manner at all levels with proper
monitoring mechanism at various levels. The aptness of the quote from Chanakya which
says "The Day the Soldier has to demand his dues will be sad day for Magadha
for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be the King" should
be borne in mind always by all the authorities at all levels. The SPARSH software should
not be CGDA Centric but made inclusive of Record Offices and DPDAs who are the
prime interfaces between PCDAs and the Veteran Pensioners. This alone will
eliminate the harassment faced by Old/Infirm Veterans/ Veernaris especially
JCOIOR ranks who are made to run from pillar to post at present to redress their
12. We humbly request the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Raksha Mantri and the Finance
Minister to immediately issue suitable orders to the all concerned. Alternatively, option
may be given to the Defence Pensioners to either continue to use the legacy system of
pension disbursal by banks or to migrate to SPARSH.
Signed.... (Sudheer Parakala) Commodore, IN (Retd) President
Tri Services Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association Mob: 9849057767 e-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org URL: www.tsewa.org
The Chief of the Army Staff Integrated Hq of MOD (Army)
South Block, C/O DHQ Post Office
New Delhi - 110 011
The Chief of Naval Staff Integrated HQs of MOD (Navy)
South Block, C/O DHQ Post Office
New Delhi - 110 011
The Chief of Air Staff Integrated HOs of MOD (IAF)
South Block, C/O DHQ Post Office
New Delhi - 110 011.
(Source : Via E-mail)