Feel free to contribute on burning issues concerning the armed forces. Contributions would be acknowledged - Use the 'Comments' tab or email navdeepsingh.india[at]gmail.com. No operational/business/commercial matters to be discussed please. Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained. Information on this blog is opinion based and is neither official nor in the form of an advice. This is a pro bono online journal in public service related to issues, policies and benefits, and the idea behind it is to educate and not to create controversy or to incite. Be soft in your language, respect Copyrights.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Unimpeachable proof that Lt Col is equivalent to Non Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) of the Civil Services : flaws on Pages 73 & 74 of the 6th CPC


(Again I may remind readers that the below mentioned should not be construed being against any particular service. This is merely a presentation of logic and facts. Differ if you may but with civility and counter-logic. And sorry if you find this a little technical, there was no other way)

The basis of pay equation of military ranks with grades of the civil services is reflected on Pages 73 & 74 of the 6th CPC report in the form of a historical comparison. But in my humble opinion, the equation tables presented on the ibid pages are not a correct expression of relativity.

This post by BeeCee made me re-visit history. The said pages of the 6th CPC report present a play of numbers while dealing with the Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) of the Civil Services. While mentioning the 3rd CPC (an apt one to one comparison since there was no rank pay then), it has been mentioned that the Civil NFSG in the 3rd PayCom was Rs 2000-2250. But this is just one third of the story since there were two other grades too in NFSG which have conveniently not been mentioned, these were :-

Rs 1650 – 1800

Rs 1800 – 2000

The scale of a Lt Col was interpolated between the two @ Rs 1700 – 1900

Two pay commissions later, both the above mentioned 3rd CPC NFSG scales were converted into Rs 14,300-18,300 by the 5th CPC while Lt Col was placed in Rs 15,100-18,700.

A point of comparison would also be the grade of Commandant (Assam Rifles) (3rd CPC scale : Rs 1800-2000 / 4th CPC scale : Rs 4100-5300) which was specifically mentioned by the 5th CPC as a post tenable by officers of the rank of Lt Col and then granted the S-24 scale of Rs 14,300-18,300 by the same CPC.

So if we keep aside the self created interpretational comparison tables of the 6th CPC on Pages 73 & 74, then this is what we get :-

3rd CPC
NFSG : Rs 1650-1800 & Rs 1800-2000
Lt Col : Rs 1700-1900

4th CPC (which for the first time ‘really’ granted an edge in status to military officers keeping in view the longer length of service required to reach comparative grades)
NFSG : Rs 4100-5300 & Rs 4500-5700
Lt Col : Rs 4700-5900

5th CPC
NFSG : Rs 14300-18300
Lt Col : Rs 15100-18700

6th CPC
NFSG : Rs 37400-67000 with Grade Pay of Rs 8700
Lt Col : Rs 15600-39100 with Grade Pay of Rs 7600

Deputation of Military Officers to civil posts :- While the MoD, for organizations such as MES, DRDO and DGQA has never maintained a clear stand on equivalence, the equation becomes clear and evident by perusing rules of deputation in various other establishments. As explained above, the 5th CPC itself stated that Lt Cols were deputed to the post of Commandant (AR) which was held by AR Cadre officers in the scale of Rs 4100-5300 revised to Rs 14300-18300. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, on the other hand, maintains that Majors of the Army are to be deputed to NFSG posts carrying the scale of Rs 14300-18300. You can see their rules by clicking here. The Ministry of Home Affairs also confirms the placement of the rank of DIG between a Lt Col and a Colonel. Some PSUs equate both Lt Colonels and Colonels with the rank of DIG (Click here to see) whereas certain Public Sector Banks equate Colonels with the rank of DIG for employment / deputation purposes (Click here to see). The 6th CPC however contends that a DIG is equivalent to a Brig while an NFSG officer is equal to a full Colonel !!

The equivalence of Lt Col with NFSG cannot be ignored in light of the following :-

(a) Historically, successive pay commissions till the 5th have roughly equated the pay of Lt Colonels with the NFSG of the civil services, there was no reason why 6th CPC should have followed a different route. Moreover, Colonel which has now been equated with NFSG is a functional and not a non-functional rank.

(b) Not many would know that to retain near parity with civil services in 14th year of service (NFSG), a Group of Officers (GOO) set up by the govt to resolve 5th CPC anomalies in paragraphs 48 & 49 of their report, had recommended officers from the civil and defence services in their 14th year of service to have a parity in pay. In fact the GOO had stipulated parity between Majors in 14th year of service and NFSG officers. This parity established by the GOO has been undone by the 6th CPC.

(c) The rank of Lt Col is achievable in 13 years in the defence services and same is the case with the NFSG of the All India Services (Indian Administrative / Police / Forest Services) and also with most organized Group A services.

(d) The comparison tables articulated on Pages 73 & 74 have no official sanctity and are a result of a self created interpretation, two examples of anomalous facts :

(i) In the table for 3rd CPC, STS has been shown equated with Capt but in the 4th CPC, Capt has been conveniently shown as shifted a step and rank lower and equated with JTS. Is this supported by any statement in the 4th CPC ? Absolutely not !. There is not an iota of reference in the 4th CPC wherein it has been stated that the rank of Capt is being downgraded from the 3rd CPC level.

(ii) In the tables for NFSG during the 3rd CPC, the Pay Commission has conveniently only mentioned the highest NFSG in the civil services and completely eliminated from the table any mention of other two NFSGs. Yes there were three grades of NFSG for the civil services while the report has mentioned only one.

(e) Naysayers have commented that Rank Pay is not to be added into basic pay for comparison purposes. How wrong they are !. Rank Pay was carved out of basic pay by the 4th CPC wherein a running integrated pay band of Rs 2300-5100 with different minima points for each rank was brought into practice for 2/Lieut to Brigadier. Hence all ranks were in the same pay band with fixed minima for each successive rank and a differentiating rank pay for each. To say that rank pay is not to be added into basic pay for status or equivalence would mean that all ranks from 2/Lt till Brig had the same status since they were in the same scale. Is this an intelligible argument ?. SAIs issued after the 4th and 5th CPCs also clearly provide that Rank Pay is a part of Basic Pay for all purposes.

(f) Traditionally, in departments under Ministries other than MoD, Majors and Lt Colonels have been deputed on NFSG posts and Lt Colonels and Colonels have been deputed on Super Time Scale posts interchangeable with the rank of DIG as becomes clear from this, this and this.

(g) The Warrant of Precedence equates a Lt Col with a Superintending Engineer of the Central Engineering Services and a Conservator of Forests of the Indian Forest Services. An SE has been granted Pay Band-4 with a Grade Pay of Rs 8700 whereas a Conservator is in Pay Band-4 with a Grade Pay of Rs 8900. As is widely believed, Lt Col is not a time-scale based rank. Only those officers are promoted and selected to the rank of Lt Col who meet the promotion criterion including passing of departmental courses and examinations.

Are the services not justified in demanding to be treated equal if not special ?

Contrary to popular perception, the Ministry of Defence is supportive of the logical demands of the services. There have been attempts to create fissures between different elements of our defence set-up by a section of the media, but the political leadership as well as the military leadership is much too mature to fall into such a trap. In fact, it is the genuine demand of the services of setting up a committee of political executive to look into the anomalies that has been accepted and the report is expected by the end of October.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Reports of differences with the govt are not correct : Army Chief


The Army Chief has clarified on ‘Times Now’ that reports of differences with the govt are not correct. So there you have it Indian Express. It is great that this has come from the horse’s mouth and should quell all rumour mongering. The reports from the start seemed unbelievable since the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister both were always in favour of resolving the core anomalies concerning the defence services.


Why is Indian Express creating a non-existent rift between elements of our defence set-up ? Such sensationalism is not good for the system


I fail to understand !

First the Indian Express (without checking facts) made a hullabaloo and labelled the demands of the forces as unreasonable.

Then the same newspaper tried to create a rift between PBOR and Officers saying that personnel other than officers were not happy with the delay in implementation. This without even referring to the core issue of the enhancement of pensionary benefits of PBOR taken up with the Govt by the service chiefs.

And today they have tried it again on page-1.
They should not try to create a rift between various categories of personnel, the Chiefs and senior functionaries of the govt or our political leadership. Everybody is playing his or her part and the issue would most likely be resolved given the maturity of leadership at our top levels - the military and the political.

Yellow & slanted journalism I would say, doesn't matter much in the scheme of things but such reporting sends out an incorrect message of fissures in the system when that is not exactly the case !. What do you think ?


Saturday, September 27, 2008

High Level Committee of three cabinet ministers to look into anomalies : new pay to be released before diwali


The govt has decided to constitute a high level committee headed by the External Affairs Minister with the Raksha Mantri and Finance Minister as members to look into the anomalies of the 6th CPC. The decision was taken in consultation with the PM who is currently visiting the US. The following anomalies are expected to be resolved and notified by end of this month :-

(a) Upgradation of Lt Colonels to Pay Band-4

(b) Enhancement of Grade Pay of officers till the rank of Brigadier

(c) Improvement of Pensionary benefits of PBOR

(d) Placing Lt Generals in the newly created HAG+

Have faith, relax and enjoy !!!


Have Faith - II : Message from Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee


In order to end speculative reports on the 6th CPC issue, the Chief of Naval Staff has issued the following message (unclassified) which can also be viewed here on the official naval site :-







The above reiterates what I have been maintaining all along. See this post and also this.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Permanent Commission for Women


Women can now serve as Permanent Commissioned officers in the three services. The proposal for PRC for women has been approved. Now Lady Officers would be able to serve in the JAG Branch, Education Branches of the three services, Accounts Branch of the IAF and the Naval Constructor Branch of the IN. Was long overdue.....

Formal announcement would be issued soon by the MoD


Rumour mongering on Pay Band-4 and other ‘core issues’. An attempt to clear some haze !


Queries on this blog, emails and on top the mainstream media – all have complicated things a bit. While one section of the media reported that the finance ministry had cleared the ‘demands’ of the defence services, another reported that the proposals had been shot down by the finance ministry. The fact though is that the demands have been neither finally accepted nor finally rejected. So where lies the truth (pun intended) ?

The finance ministry has not acceded to requests of the services and has shown its disinclination. There is no truth in reports of finance ministry accepting the services’ proposals. But was this unexpected ? No, not at all. The finance ministry is just a spoke on large govt wheel and in fact is not an authority to comment on past equivalence or relativity. The job of the Department of Expenditure in the finance ministry is just basically to analyse the ‘damage’ to the exchequer by agreeing to such demands. The issue is already much beyond the scope of influence of the finance ministry. Rest assured that the services and also elements in the Ministry of Defence including the Raksha Mantri and his officers including those from the civil services (I know what I am saying here, thank you !) are working overtime to ensure a better deal for men and women in uniform. It is just not fair to put the entire blame on our political leadership and bureaucrats.

A well respected newspaper has also tried to create a non-existent rift between PBOR and officers by saying that due to the logjam in officers’ pay, the payment to PBOR was being delayed : it was unfortunate yellow journalism to say the least. The issue of enhanced pensionary benefits to PBOR is one of the main agenda points of the Raksha Mantri and the service Chiefs and the same is on its way to resolution. Earlier, pensions of PBOR were calculated at the end point of their pay scales with an additional weightage of 10, 8 and 6 years for Havaldars, Naiks and Sepoys respectively. The system of end of pay scale reference however was discontinued by 6th CPC in light of the common running pay bands and this has led to depression in their pensions (on a percentage comparative basis).


Guest Post : 6th CPC : less than honest brokers


The following is a guest post by BeeCee, a retired senior flag rank officer of the Indian Navy who has in the past been associated with cadre management and pay issues in the services. This post is in response to the ‘self created’ comparison tables by the 6th CPC on Pages 73 & 74 of the report.

I must say that they (SCPC) have been 'less than honest' brokers, to say the least.This can be seen in the way they have been selective in stating previous CPC positions and moving away from the established Service Officers- Organised Gp A Services/ IPS equation to a new standard of comparison with CPMFs. The parity with civil services, though stated as given, has been given a complete miss.

1. In the chapter on Armed forces they have shown both Capt and Major as STS (III CPC) merely to manipulate and suit their view and take the logic forward. The Major's starting pay was higher than JAG even if you add the starting edge of Rs 50. The higher pay was also not because of any special dispensation, but because time for promotion to Major was 11 years as against 9 years (including training) for JAG. The distinction between pre and post AVS Major has been obfuscated. If this is placed correctly, present Lt Col (replacement of pre-IV CPC Maj(SG)) as NFSG in armed forces would be clear.

2. Only one pre-IV CPC civil NFSG scale has been shown for comparison with the armed forces. This was the highest NFSG among the many available then. If they had also shown the other civil NFSGs of the time (some shown in the chapters on Gp A/AIS civil services) the logic would not have held.

3. The pre-IV CPC scale of Major(SG) crucial for equation upto NFSG level has not been shown.

4. The III CPC scale of DIG which is shown appears to be wrong. What is shown is the Pre-IV CPC scale to mislead. The DIG's scales were revised by the Home Ministry just prior to the IV CPC placing him above Cols. This was explained and corrected by the IV CPC in its report and who again placed them between Lt Col and Col. Actually with Lt Col and then upgraded. In fact there were 2 DIG scales linked to the year of promotion.

5. The civil scale of SAG II (Brig's nearest eqvt), that was merged with SAG I at IV CPC has not been shown. By the same logic the Brig should also have been on the SAG scale from IV CPC.

In effect, what has been attempted now is to use the III CPC disparity that existed between 'the most advantaged in the civil services' vis-a-vis the armed forces to push down the Services, while narrowing the gap between the various civil services. This is the reason why Services are now left to compare with CPOs, MES etc instead of the Organised Services (This is absolutely not to denigrate the CPOs or MES, but only to draw attention to the hierarchy that existed earlier, from which the Services alone have been displaced). No mention has been made of the uniform progression upto 14 years available across the board so far and was to be maintained. If parity with civil pay structure has been accepted, why is it that only military officers don't get paid during training. Unless the Services confused the issue by clubbing NDA and IMA trg.

In places where the same logic has been applied for both, like inter-se equation of JCOs with civilians, disability pension etc, the civil logic has been beneficial to the Services. In fact I do not know of any situation where Services have been at a disadvantage if the same logic is applied across the board.I think Services walked into a trap with the 'we are different' argument.

Regarding the Special Disturbance Allowance (SDA), the IV CPC did away with the concept. They standardised progression upto NFSG in the 14th year for Organised Gp A services and Armed forces. For the Services this included Rank pay of Major. Since Maj(SG) was done away with, the pay of JAG and NFSG were combined to give a longer run for the Major terminating at the same level as NFSG. Only the starting edge and late commencement of pay was maintained. As to why this was done, maybe the report clarifies it. I don't know. After the V CPC also the Major moved to 14300/- (start of NFSG) in the 14th year (plus 1). This again included Rank pay. They also don't seem to talk of any edge in the scale as such.Things may be clearer if the full reports are read, I am not sure if the extracts quoted by the VI CPC would give the complete picture or can be trusted. What appears to have happened is that VI CPC wrote the analysis/ findings first, and then extrapolated the figures to suit/ justify the analysis. Otherwise there is no way that they could have got to equate a Brig with a DIG or a Lt Col with JAG. There is no end to the debate on 'my job is more important than yours'. It can get quiet silly as seen on the blogs. It is to avoid such meaningless debates that the IV CPC brought in 'uniform career progression upto a point' and the V CPC suggested a 'model cadre structure', i.e, a percentage of the cadre strength in each pay-grade. Implementing these would have been of tremendous benefit to the armed forces and given a sense of fairness across the board. The problem at the last CPC was that they accepted the model cadre structure for all except the armed forces. This is the single major anomaly that has remained post V CPC. The issue of SDA was a forgotten chapter and irrelevant to be revived now by either the CPC or the Services.A comparison with what the VI CPC says and what the Services asked for, or responses to each other could be enlightening.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome to Olive Green Lt Col Kapil Dev !!


Cricketing legend Kapil Dev donned the olive green as a Territorial Army volunteer yesterday. He was commissioned into a TA Battalion affiliated to the Punjab Regiment.

The Territorial Army (TA) is a voluntary citizens’ Army where civil professionals receive military training for a few days each year in their spare time so that in the event of a war or a national emergency, they may bear arms for the nation’s defence.

The TA is not a source of employment but a national service organization wherein only those civilians are commissioned who have a full time civil vocation / occupation. Civil employment / self-employment is a pre-requisite for joining TA as an officer.

Many Ministers, royalties, senior civil servants, sitting MPs / MLAs, industrialists and professionals have been national service volunteers with the TA.

Read more about it here in ‘The Tribune’


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Govt notifies new rules on travel allowance. What does it mean for Military Personnel ?


The Central Govt has notified new rules for travel entitlements. What does it mean for the defence services ?, This :-

Travel Entitlements within the Country :-

1. For Major Generals and above : Business & Club Class by Air, AC First Class by train

2. For Lt Colonels, Colonels and Brigadiers : Economy Class by Air, AC First Class by train

3. For Lieutenants, Captains and Majors : Economy Class by Air, AC II tier by train

4. For Naib Subedars, Subedars and Subedar Majors : AC II tier by train

5. For other PBOR : AC Chair Car / AC III Tier / First Class by train

International Travel :-

1. Army Commanders / Vice-Chief / Chief : First Class by Air

2. Major Generals and above : Business Class / Club Class by Air

3. All others including PBOR and officers till the rank of Brigadier : Economy Class by Air

Re-imbursement for Hotel Accommodation :-

1. For Major Generals and above : Upto Rs 5000 per day

2. For Lt Colonels, Colonels and Brigadiers : Upto Rs 3000 per day

3. For Lieutenants, Captains and Majors : Upto Rs 1500 per day

4. For Naib Subedars, Subedars and Subedar Majors : Upto Rs 500 per day

5. For other PBOR : Upto Rs 300 per day


Monday, September 22, 2008

Features of new post-6th CPC rules for grant of Children Education Assistance and reimbursement of tuition & hostel fee


In a welcome decision, the central govt has notified its new rules for grant of Children Education Assistance and reimbursement of tuition & hostel fee. The same are applicable with effect from 01 September 2008. Following shall be the salient features :

a) Reimbursement can be claimed for upto 2 children by each employee (however only one parent can claim it of course)

b) Reimbursement applicable from Nursery to Class XII

c) Even if a child does not perform well, or fails, the payment of this assistance shall not be discontinued

d) All kinds of fee such as tuition, admission, special, lab, music, games, sports etc shall be covered

e) Annual ceiling shall be Rs 12,000 per child

f) The ceiling shall however be raised by 25% each time DA goes beyond 50%

g) Hostel subsidy reimbursement shall be upto a maximum of Rs 3000 per child per month in which case the reimbursement to fee shall not be permissible

h) Red-tapism reduced. Reimbursement shall be granted simply on submission of self certified receipts

Please make use of the above provisions.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

We've hit 1,50,000 and perhaps good news for Lt Colonels in the offing !!


This blog has hit the 1,50,000 mark. Thank You.

And there may be good news for Lt Colonels in the offing in September itself. The issue of upgradation of Lt Cols/ Wg Cdrs / Cdrs to Pay Band-4 may be resolved by the end of this month. Keep your fingers crossed and thank your Chiefs for their efforts. The Defence Minister thankfully has already taken up the following core issues with the Finance Ministry :-

a) Upgradation of Lt Colonels to Pay Band-4
b) Upgradation of Grade Pays of officers till the rank of Brigadier
c) Placing Lt Generals in the newly created Higher Administrative Grade Plus
d) Improving the pensionary benefits of PBOR

In the meanwhile, have a look at this from 'Indian Express' today.
Also see this from 'The Hindu'.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The equation debate continues ! (with special reference to Lt Colonels and Superintending Engineers of Central Engineering Services)


(The following opinion is this blogger’s own and may not be construed opposed to any particular service. The author has the highest regard for all services including the MES - every single service is playing its part in the system. The discussion may please be kept dignified. Abusive or derogatory comments on any service are not welcome. Thanks)

A lot has been said about the equivalence of Superintending Engineers (SEs) and Lt Colonels. While MES officers claim that SEs are equivalent to full Colonels, Army officers refute this and say that SEs can only be equated at best with Lt Colonels.

Let us touch the issue historically and analyse how we have reached the present anomalous situation wherein SEs have been placed in Pay Band-4 while Lt Colonels have been retained in Pay Band-3.

Past precedent : Traditionally, the appointment of Commander Works Engineers (CWE) was interchangeably held by Lt Col from the Army and SE from the MES, though the pay of an SE was in between a Major and a Lt Col. Within the Corps of Engineers, the appointment of CWE was equated with the Command of an Engineer Regiment and hence when the rank of COs of Engineer Regiments was raised to full Colonel in the 1980s, the Army also raised the rank of officers posted as CWEs so as to maintain a parity between a CO of an Engineer Regiment and a CWE. Resultantly, the Army started posting full Colonels as CWEs. But this was merely an in-house arrangement of the Army and did not ipso-facto mean that SEs now became equivalent to full Colonels. The establishment manual till date maintains that the post of CWE technically can be held by a Lt Col from the Army or SE from the MES. It was the Army’s internal cadre management that now full Colonels were being posted as CWEs. The status or pay scale of SEs was not upgraded.

The concept of tenability of posts : Officers of the MES have often lamented that since Colonels are posted as CWEs, a post which is also held by civilian SEs, both have to be equated. However, within the govt there are many posts which can be held by different grades/ranks from different cadres and the issue is not that simple. There is a difference between an appointment/post and a grade/rank. The tenability of posts has infact nothing to do with one’s grade or rank. To take an example, the post of an Assistant Garrison Engineer (AGE) is held both by Civilian Assistant Engineers (AEs – Group B/Class-II) and Assistant Executive Engineers (AEEs – Group A/Class-I), now would it mean that AEs of the MES have become equivalent to AEEs ? Most definitely not !, it simply means that the appointment of an AGE is tenable by both grades - AEs and AEEs. On the other hand, an AGE till the 80s could be a Subedar Major, 2/Lt, Lt or a Capt but it could not have meant of course that a Subedar Major then became equal to a Capt. Could the Army then also say that a Subedar Major (Group-B) was equivalent to an AEE (Group A) since both held the same post of AGE ? Of Course not. When different cadres feed one single line of posts, it is perfectly normal to have varying tenability norms to suit that particular cadre. Let us take another example, the post of DC/DM/Collector of a District can be held by STS, JAG or NFSG officers and similar is the case with the district police chief who in the district administration works under the DC/DM/Collector. Now it so happens many times that the DC is an officer of the STS while the police head is an officer of the JAG or NFSG, so can IAS officers be then allowed to say that the Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) of the IPS is now junior to the Senior Time Scale (STS) of the IAS ?, most definitely not !. Moreover in the MES, SEs posted as CWEs cannot write the ACRs of Lt Cols posted as GEs. The Warrant of Precedence, the establishment manual and MoD guidelines till date equate SEs with Lt Colonels.

Pay Scales : The following is a comparative analysis of the starting pay of SEs and Lt Cols :

3rd CPC
Lt Col – Rs 1700
SE – Rs 1500

4th CPC
Lt Col – Rs 4700
SE – Rs 3700

5th CPC
Lt Col – Rs 15,100
SE – Rs 14,300

6th CPC
Lt Col – Rs 15900 – 39100 with Grade Pay of Rs 7600 * (* under revision)
SE – Rs 37400 – 67000 with Grade Pay of Rs 8700

Rank Pay Confusion : This blogger has seen many comments wherein it is mentioned that Rank Pay is not to be counted for status purposes. It may be underlined here that Rank Pay was carved out of Basic Pay in the 4th CPC since an integrated pay scale of Rs 2300-5100 was implemented. The logic behind Rank Pay was to differentiate between various ranks since the integrated scale was the same from 2/Lt till Brigadier. A minima was also brought into force to which the rank pay was added to bring out the correct pay scale. To put it more clearly, while the pay-scale of a 2/Lt remained 2300-5100, the pay scale of a Lt Col was based on a minima of Rs 3900 with a Rank Pay of Rs 800 within the integrated scale of Rs 2300-5100, which basically meant that the actual pay scale of Lt Col came out to be Rs 4700 – 5900. To say that Rank Pay was not a part of Basic would mean that all ranks from 2/Lt to Brigadier are of the same status since they were in the same scale of Rs 2300-5100 !. Moreover, the Central Govt also adequately clarified in SAIs issued after the 4th and 5th CPCs that Rank Pay was very much a part of Basic Pay. There is no force of law in any letter issued by any administrative authority contrary to the said SAIs. The MoD in 2007 has also again clarified that there are NO orders which state that Rank Pay is not to be added into basic pay for comparison of status. Please see this document to see the equation in Army HQ as actually followed.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

System of disability pension calculation all set to change (for the better!). What to expect ?


Till now, the structure of disability pension in the defence services was based on a slab system which is all set to change to a percentage based system.

Disability pension consists of two elements, service element and disability element. Service element is akin to ‘service pension’ with the added advantage that there is no minimum qualifying service prescribed to earn this element. Hence even if a person is invalided after one single day of service, he/she is entitled to service element. For persons who have rendered qualifying service to earn a pension, their service pension becomes their service element for the purpose of disability pension. On the other hand, Disability element is granted to those individuals who are invalided/released/discharged/superannuated with a disability over 20%. The 5th CPC slab rates of disability element for 100% disability were as follows :

(a) Officers : Rs 2600/-
(b) JCOs : Rs 1900/-
(c) Other Ranks : Rs 1550/-

Unlike the slab system, the civil services had a percentage system for calculation of disability element – 30% of basic pay was the rate prescribed for 100% disability in cases of normal disability pension. Though under the slab system, PBOR had an edge over their civilian counterparts, the said system placed the officers at a disadvantage vis-vis civil service officers.

The 6th CPC has now abolished the slab system and put into place a percentage system for defence disability pensioners too. Under this system, percentage of basic pay would be used to determine the disability element. While it shall be 30% of basic pay for 100% disability, there would be a different percentage system for calculation of disability element in case of operational/war injuries. This would be similar to the system being followed by the civil services as on date.

Though the modalities have not been announced, to take a broad idea of the new system that is expected to be put in place, please click here. Of course the figures of ‘minimum pension’ as provided in the link above would also change as per new 6th CPC orders.

It may also not be out of place to mention here that the entire disability pension (including service element/service pension) is exempted from payment of Income Tax. To learn more about Income Tax exemption to disability pensioners and the authority thereon, please click here.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

A letter by a retired Chief Justice : 'Why this bias against the Army ?'

Why this bias against the Army?
Justice Rajinder Sachar
(The following is a reproduction of Justice Sachar's own views. This blog may not necessarily agree with comments passed on any particular service. Nevertheless it is heartening to know that people from various walks of life are aware of the issue at hand)

Recently an inspired news-item appeared in the Press (obviously at the instance of the IAS bureaucracy) ridiculing the Service Chiefs’ claim not to deflate the parity of the Army officials vis-a-vis the civil servants. The Army’s request is more than genuine. One fails to understand the IAS lobby’s blatant partisanship. The late Cabinet Secretary Nirmal Mukerjee, one of the best of the lot, described the IAS as an anachronism in post-1947 Independent India and recommended its abolition and substitution by expert technocrats as in the rest of the world.

I am surprised at the bureaucracy’s partisan, one-sided criticism of the Army. It ignores the harsh reality like the non-family period being half of their service period. This partiality may be due to what is called in journalist jargon “ debt to repay” for some special scoop having been passed on to the paper (nothing wrong of course in a free Press — the only objection is why make the Army the whipping boy).

It is still more surprising that the Army’s case is being deflated deliberately by ignoring the shocking facts disclosed, namely that all DGPs (which are state-related posts) are placed above the Lieutenant-General. By what reasoning is the demand to put the Generals in the same grade as the civilian DGP described as spurious?

More serious, Lieutenant-Colonel had earlier the same pay as IAS Director (an officer between Deputy Secretary and Joint Secretary). But the revised scale now gives IAS Director Rs 14,000 more and even a non-IAS Director Rs 11,000 more than Lieutenant-Colonel.

Is the Army demand to keep the parity as earlier fanciful? Will the government have a second look at the claim of the Army which has genuineness written all over? Let us not forget that in our feudal setup, hierarchy sometimes carries more weight. That is why sometimes a Deputy Secretary would carry more clout than a university professor. Will the Centre ignore the babus and give the Army its well deserved pay and rank?

Justice RAJINDER SACHAR (retd), New Delhi


Thursday, September 11, 2008

'Approval of Pay Band-4 for Lt Colonels by the Cabinet today' is a rumour, kindly ignore


Some sites are circulating the news that the Cabinet has today approved the upgradation of Lieut Colonels and equivalent to Pay Band-4. This is just a rumour and best ignored. The agenda point for the same was not taken up today by the Cabinet probably because of the absence of the Defence Minister. Maybe next week...

So ignore the rumours, relax for now and read this again :-)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Maintain pension parity between Army Officers retiring on different sets of dates : Hon'ble Supreme Court


In a landmark decision, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Union of India Vs SPS Vains (Retd) (SLP No 12357 of 2006 decided on 09 September 2008) has upheld the orders of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court wherein it was directed that Major Generals retiring prior to 1-1-96 (implementation date of 5th Pay Commission) should be granted a pension at par with post 1-1-1996 retirees. The Writ Petition in the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court was filed by Major Generals who retired prior to 1-1-1996 and whose pension was fixed lower than post 1-1-1996 retirees. This had happened since the start of the pay scale of Major Generals (18400) was less than the starting pay of Brigadiers (16700+2400 Rank Pay = Rs 19100) leading thereby to a situation that the pension of a pre 1996 retiree Maj Gen was fixed at Rs 9200 but Rs 9550 for a Brigadier. To cater to this anomaly, the govt had stepped up the pension of pre 1996 Major Generals to Brigadier level thereby leaving them at a loss as compared to post 1996 retirees. The High Court had allowed the Writ Petition and had directed equal treatment for pre and post 1996 retirees. The orders were challenged by the Govt of India in the Hon’ble Supreme Court but the Apex Court through a detailed order has upheld the High Court directions and has also laid down a landmark law which would come as a relief to all defence retirees and the value of which shall be known in times to come.

Here are some pearls from the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court :

“….The larger issue involved is whether there could be a disparity in payment of pension to officers of the same rank, who had retired prior to the introduction of the revised pay scales, with those who retired thereafter….”

“….The question regarding creation of different classes within the same cadre on the basis of the doctrine of intelligible differentia having nexus with the object to be achieved, has fallen for consideration at various intervals for the High Courts as well as this Court, over the years. The said question was taken up by a Constitution Bench in the case of D.S. Nakara (supra) where in no uncertain terms throughout the judgment it has been repeatedly observed that the date of retirement of an employee cannot form a valid criterion for classification, for if that is the criterion those who retired by the end of the month will form a class by themselves. In the context of that case, which is similar to that of the instant case, it was held that Article 14 of the Constitution had been wholly violated, inasmuch as, the Pension Rules being statutory in character, the amended Rules, specifying a cut-off date resulted in differential and discriminatory treatment of equals in the matter of commutation of pension. It was further observed that it would have a traumatic effect on those who retired just before that date. The division which classified pensioners into two classes was held to be artificial and arbitrary and not based on any rational principle and whatever principle, if there was any, had not only no nexus to the objects sought to be achieved by amending the Pension Rules, but was counter productive and ran counter to the very object of the pension scheme. It was ultimately held that the classification did not satisfy the test of Article 14 of the Constitution….”

“….The object sought to be achieved was not to create a class within a class, but to ensure that the benefits of pension were made available to all persons of the same class equally. To hold otherwise would cause violence to the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution. It could not also have been the intention of the authorities to equate the pension payable to officers of two different ranks by resorting to the step up principle envisaged in the Fundamental Rules in a manner where the other officers belonging to the same cadre would be receiving a higher pension….”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

All you wanted to know about toll tax exemption to private vehicles of defence personnel

As most of you must be aware, private vehicles of defence personnel are exempted from payment of toll tax on all public and private roads and bridges in the country. The toll exemption orders obtained by me were also upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court (Read about it here) thereby settling a long pending controversy on the issue. Time and again queries have been raised on various aspects of toll exemption. In order to clarify all such doubts, I am providing links to two such self-explanatory letters at the end of this post addressed by me to various establishments which should help in bringing about some more clarity on the subject.
Be that as it may, the answers to most of your common queries are as follows :

(a) That the Indian Tolls (Army & Air Force) Act, 1901, provides for toll exemption to personnel of regular forces and their private vehicles at all times, irrespective of whether they are on duty or not.

(b) That there is no requirement of being ‘in uniform’ to avail toll exemption.

(c) That toll exemption is available all over the country on both private and public roads and bridges. Central and State governments are both under the ambit of the Act.

(d) That at present, Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Flyway is not providing toll exemption but the case has not been finally decided and is very much pending vide an Appeal. The matter is again sub judice.

(e) That ex-servicemen are not entitled to toll exemption and various representations on the issue would not serve any purpose being contrary to the legislative provisions and mandate of the Act. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways as a goodwill gesture has already exempted ex-servicemen who are gallantry award winners from payment of toll tax on National Highways. Roads and bridges other than NHs are not under the purview of MoRTH.

(f) That the Hon’ble Supreme Court has dismissed a petition challenging the exemption to private vehicles of defence personnel on all private and public roads and bridges all over the country. The Hon’ble Supreme Court refused to strike down Section 3 of the Act which provides for exemption.

Click here to view a self-explanatory letter on all aspects of toll exemption

Click here to see a letter on toll exemption on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway


Friday, September 5, 2008

Court to the rescue : Haryana Govt decides to remove mother of all absurdities


Can we have a wee bit break from the pay commission, ok, thanks...

The State of Haryana, like most of the States, offers entertainment tax exemption to defence personnel. Servicemen and women simply have to pay the price of admission without the entertainment tax in cinemas and multiplexes which leads to a 30% discount.

Haryana Govt however had a funny law in this regard. In Haryana, in order to avail this exemption, defence personnel had to undertake the following :-

a) Produce Identity Card at the ticket counter

b) Submit a certificate signed by a JCO or above at the ticket counter, and, hold your breath,

c) Watch the movie in full military uniform to prove your identity.

Yes you saw it right, one was expected to go to the movies in military gear in order to avail a discount of a few rupees.

We challenged the said stipulation of wearing uniform in the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court on the ground that it was absurd, arbitrary and made the entire scheme redundant and impractical since military rules anyway do not allow defence personnel to visit cinema halls in uniform. The Petitioner was a young lady officer from the JAG Branch.

Thankfully, the Haryana Govt today informed the Court that they had decided to delete and remove the stipulation of wearing uniform from their rules thus ending a long drawn battle with absurdity. Who would have thought…?

The idea behind this is also to educate the men and women in uniform that you are entitled to avail entertainment tax exemption in all cinemas and multiplexes in most of the States. While Rules in certain States provide the submission of a simple certificate at the ticket counter, Delhi has further simplified it and dispensed with red-tapism - there you just need to show your identity card at the counter to avail the discount. But the flip side is that in Delhi, Commissioned Officers are not authorized this exemption whereas in other States, all ranks are entitled. In case of infringement of this law, please promptly report the violation to the local excise and taxation authorities.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Have faith !!!

Have faith !!!

This Editorial by Indian Express today was plain disgusting and perhaps planted, but let’s not ascribe too much importance to it.

Our Chiefs are respectable men of honour and if they have expressed reservations about the award of the Pay Commission, it is something that is expected in a democracy, in a system based on strong foundations. What was wrong in putting across a view on the implementation of the Pay Commission ? Nothing I would say !

Contrary to the views of some visitors on this blog, this blogger does NOT personally feel that all is wrong with the govt, or that the top brass is not interested in the welfare of the junior ranks, or that the bureaucracy is the root of all evil in this case. There have been goof ups and mistakes are bound to happen in every structure, but we should fight it with logic and not rhetoric. And that is precisely why I am amazed at the editorial. The write up wants to make us believe that the services’ take on equivalence with civil ranks is all hogwash and that the Pay Commission had come up with a rational one on equivalence and that it is a big deal that the Chiefs have expressed reservations. If they do not, who does ?

The Chiefs, or for that matter anyone in uniform in the top echelons, have always put forth their views in a dignified manner and I’m sure the Raksha Mantri would do his best to address the problem which is quite humungous. Notwithstanding what Indian Express says or what the Order of Precedence prescribes, let us have the hard facts – the fact that a Lt Col was getting Rs 1500 per month more than his nearest civil counterpart on 1-1-2006 and now after the Pay Commission, the civil counterpart would bypass the same Lt Col by more than Rs 14000 per month, can this be ignored ? And can we ignore the difference of collected arrears from 1-1-2006 till 1-9-2008 based on this ?

Some comments on some posts on this blog seem to repeat again and again how certain other services are ‘looting’ the system or that how the Army alone is proving to be the saviour of the nation. I beg to differ. Every service is like a cog in the system with a set role to perform, we all have a part to play, so bringing down each other won’t do any good, cribbing won’t help, abusive tendencies won’t take us anywhere. If we have to convince the powers that be, we surely have to take the support of logic and nothing else, and that, rest assured, shall happen. Anomalies happen not just in the forces but in other services too. I’ll give you an example. A pre-2006 Civil Pensioner who was receiving a basic pension of Rs 12,999 as on 31-12-2005 would now receive a basic pension of Rs 29,379 whereas a pensioner who was receiving Rs 13,000, that is, a rupee more, would now receive a basic pension of Rs 40,000. So the difference of one rupee has turned into a difference of eleven thousand in just one day !!!

I’m in a Catch – 22, situation that is :-) . When I say something in favour of the system, I’m branded as a ‘mouthpiece of the govt’, and when I beg to differ from the establishment, I hear something else, but that my friends is the beauty of the net and freedom of speech and expression. For all the problems related to the Sixth Pay Commission, I would just say, let's point them out with civility & logic, not rhetoric – relax and have faith, there are people up there wanting to fix them !!


More new notifications on post-2006 pensioners and various allowances


Click here for latest notification for pension of POST-2006 retirees / Gratuity / Family Pension / Disability Pension / Ex-Gratia

Click here for the approved DA / Allowances / HRA / Compensatory elements / Classification of cities etc


See it here first : Sixth Pay Commission approval orders / resolution / notification for PENSIONERS

See it here first, the complete govt notification / resolution on acceptance of the Sixth Pay Commission Report on Pensioners AND the notification / Office Memorandum for pre 01-01-2006 (Pre 6th CPC) retirees.

These notifications are in pdf format and are applicable to civil pensioners. The modalities of defence pensions are more or less the same and separate orders shall be issued by the Ministry of Defence for defence pensioners. There should now be no mystery over pension since these notifications contain detailed tables articulating the new pension admissible. These tables are applicable to defence pensioners too and the only thing that remains to be seen is whether a fitment of the newly introduced MSP is to be taken into account while calculating the pensions of past pensioners.

Click here to see the resolution / notification of Approval of 6th CPC Pensionary Benefits

Click here to see the notification / Office Memorandum of Approval of Pensionary Benefits of pre – 01-01-2006 (Pre 6th CPC) retirees

Thank You

PS - While emails on military / pay / precedence / protocol / pensionary issues are welcome at navdeepsingh.india@gmail.com, please do not send individual mails requesting me to calculate pension / pay / arrears since I lack that kind of time to reply to such correspondence due to the demanding nature of my profession. No offence meant to anyone in particular, sorry :-)

Monday, September 1, 2008


Well Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s finally here, the notification and resolution for the defence services on the Sixth Central Pay Commission.

Click here to see the complete resolution and notification
Scroll left & right a bit for the complete experience :-)

Most of the recommendations by the 6th CPC have been accepted by the govt, and believe me, not all are bad. To be fair to the PayCom, there have been some out of the box proposals such as full pension on completion of 20 years (15 years for PBOR) which should bring a cheer to the defence community. The areas of concern remain basically the status and pay of Lt Colonels and the status of Brigadiers vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts. Grade Pays have been enhanced but this shall have no effect on status since the corresponding Grade Pays of civil services have also been enhanced. DGAFMS is now in the Apex Pay Scale of Army Commanders, and Lt Generals overlooked for placement as Army Commanders due to lack of residual service shall now be upgraded to the Army Commanders’ Pay Scale of Rs 80,000 fixed, though the fineprint says that it shall be non-functional meaning thereby it shall have no effect on status. Of course there is another issue that DGPs in States (who do not feature at all in the Warrant of Precedence) and DGs of CPOs (Article 25 on WoP) have been granted more pay than Lt Generals (who are higher on Article 24 of WoP). Honorary Commissioned Officers have been granted regular scales which shall have a massive effect on their take home salary and pension.

On the anomalies, rest assured that our top brass shall most definitely take up the issues with the powers that be. Our Chiefs have to function within the four corners of the system and established ethics and norms of a democracy and they must be doing their best to ensure that the grey areas are ironed out.

For a historical background on the equivalence of Lt Cols vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, click here

For all issues concerning the 6th CPC and Warrant of Precedence, click here