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 Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained.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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Status, equivalence and pay parity : does it affect pensioners and retirees ? It damn well does !!


I have often heard retired officers commenting that the fight for status and equivalence is a battle which is to be fought by the serving community and it is the One Rank One Pension (OROP) demand which really concerns retired personnel.

This is a misconception. The pension of retired personnel is directly linked to the status and pay of serving personnel. Some instances may be absolutely glaring and some may not, but the fact remains that the two issues are intertwined. I’ll explain how.

Whenever Pay Commission recommendations are implemented, it is provided that the pension of earlier retirees (for example, pre 1-1-2006 retirees) would not go below a value @ 50% of the starting rate of the new pay scale for every grade or rank. To take an example, after the 5th CPC, the minimum basic pension admissible to a Major could not be less than Rs 6,400/- (that is, 50% of starting of Rs 12,800 – the start of a Major’s scale). But now see below how things changed for retired personnel this time due to a change in the pay equation of serving officers - especially for the rank of Lt Col :-

Situation till now
Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) Officer of the Civil Services (Director to Govt of India) : Rs 7150/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 14,300/-)

Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Lt Col : Rs 7550/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 15,100/-)

Situation after the 6th CPC
Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG) Officer of the Civil Services : Rs 23,050/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 37400 + Rs 8700 Grade Pay)

Minimum Basic Pension admissible to a Lt Col : Rs 11,600/- (that is, 50% of start of scale – Rs 15,600 + Rs 7600 Grade Pay)

Or Let’s put it more simply :

Minimum possible basic pension of an NFSG Officer after the 5th CPC : Rs 7150/-
Minimum possible basic pension of a Lt Col after the 5th CPC : Rs 7550/-

Minimum possible basic pension of an NFSG Officer after the 6th CPC : Rs 23,050/-
Minimum possible basic pension of a Lt Col after the 6th CPC : Rs 11,600/-

Could you spot the difference ? Oh really ??? Don't tell me !!!

Though practically speaking the pension of Lt Colonels who retired prior to 2006 after full pensionable service (33 years with or without weightage) would be around Rs 17,000, officers who retired pre-maturely in the rank of Lt Col prior to 1-1-2006 would be the worst hit. Another category facing the heat would be disability pensioners. The service pension part (service element) of disability pensioners invalided before completion of pensionable service would be fixed at Rs 11,600/- flat and this shall be applicable both to pre and post 1-1-2006 cases, while the service element of their erstwhile civilian counterparts (pre and post 1-1-2006) would now be fixed at Rs 23,050/-.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

3 questions and 3 answers….


Before I begin with this post, I have something to say. There have been comments on this blog that only sixth pay commission issues should be focussed on.

While pay commission / status / equivalence issues are an integral part and parcel of this blog, may I also remind that my thrust has always been on spreading well rounded knowledge based on facts & documents as also initiating debate on important military (non-operational) issues. This blog deals not just with the PayCom but also with military benefits which shall remain central to its theme. Of course being a burning issue, PayCom matters will be provided primacy.

Now with the post. I’ve received many queries and mails on three pertinent issues. While I try my best to reply to individual mails, separate replies sometimes become difficult because of professional commitments. Hence, here are your answers :-)

1. No, toll tax exemption is not available to retired personnel. For more read this post and this one too.

2. Yes, retired personnel in receipt of disability pension are entitled to Income Tax exemption on the entire amount of pension and not just the disability element. For details read this and this.

3. No, the notification for defence pensioners has not yet been issued.

Thank You


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sahayaks : Is the concept prevalent only in the Indian sub-continent ?


A lot has been said about abolition of the system of orderlies or ‘sahayaks’ in the Indian Army in the recent days. Many have pointed out the colonial and feudal slant of the concept and have also stated that such system exists only in the Indian sub-continent, that is, in the armies of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh primarily.

This thought (of the system being of this sub-continent alone) is not correct in its entirety since the system is very much in place in other countries too, albeit in a different format.

While talking about the US Army, Lt Col P Crocker (Retired) in his book “Army Officers’ Guide” says, and I quote :

“In the past, some soldiers in addition to their regular duties could also work, if willing to do so, as personal servants to officers and their families. In the Army the custom has always been that such work was entirely voluntary, with the officer compensating the soldier for his work. Historically, these men were known as orderlies or strikers. Some soldiers desired such jobs to supplement their service pay, just as some soldiers of this period take off-duty jobs called “moonlighting”. By custom and official restrictions, the use of soldiers as servants of officers and their families in garrison assignments has terminated except for some senior officers and for special reasons in each case. However, for units in the field, in training or combat, an officer may be assigned a soldier orderly for personal services so the officer can devote maximum time to the responsibilities of command. Many times it is the driver of the vehicle assigned to the officer who performs such personal services. "

Contrary to popular perception, the recommendations of Parliamentary Committees are not binding on the govt or the cabinet. Why isn't anyone talking of those recommendations which were out & out pro-defence personnel but are simply resting on paper without being implemented ?. The issue of Sahayaks (and Suraksha Sahayaks in the CPOs) in my humble opinion is not as pertinent as is being made to look. In fact, it was surprising that it became a part of the pay commission report while dealing with the CPOs. Of course combatants should not be employed on menial tasks but if misuse of manpower is to be addressed, it should be addressed in every govt service and not just the uniformed services.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tradition & History : Police Ranks (with special reference to the Central Police Organisations)


Let me start by saying that I do not believe in superiority or inferiority of any service. I also do not like it when the CPOs/PMFs are shown in bad light. They are doing a job as tough (if not tougher) than the Army and ideally there should be pay parity amongst all Group-A services within the govt including the CPOs and the Defence Services.

Having said that, I’ll return to the issue at hand. A lot has been said by officers of the CPOs on the supposed equation of the rank of Second-in-Command with Lt Col of the Army. They have also demanded upgradation to Pay Band-4 if the rank of Lt Col is granted the same. Before touching the actual equation and historical aspect of the same, let’s take a look at the following facts and then come to our conclusion whether the rank of Second-in-Command can be compared with Lt Col or not :-

Years of service required to reach the rank : 11 years including training
4th CPC pay scale : Rs 3700-5000
5th CPC pay scale : Rs 12000-375-16500

Lieutenant Colonel
Years of service required to reach the rank
: 14.5 years including training if assumed from the Indian Military Academy
4th CPC pay scale : Rs 4700-5900
5th CPC pay scale : Rs 15100-400-18700

Now let us proceed with history – firstly with Police rank badges and then with Police ranks with special reference to CPOs.

From District Police Chief onwards, the police had the following system of rank badges till about independence :

Superintendent of Police / Assistant Inspector General of Police : Three Stars (Upgraded to Crown on reaching the basic pay scale of Rs 950/-)

Deputy Inspector General of Police : Crown with one Star

Inspector General of Police (highest police rank) : Crown with Two Stars

In the late 1950s and early 60s, the police establishment went in for a major overhaul and upgradation of rank badges. This followed the introduction of additional ranks such as Selection Grade etc. To meet new ranks, rank badges were appropriately upwardly modified. Contrary to popular perception, the Ministry of Defence very vehemently protested the rank confusion created by junior police officers wearing senior military rank badges but the issue was sorted out in a high level meeting between MHA and MoD (the meeting is documented and minuted) where it was rather unusually concluded that there could be no confusion between police and military ranks since police rank badges are silver in colour whereas military ranks are made of brass, and it was also decided that rank badges would not reflect the actual status comparison of military and police officers. This later resulted in the rank of DIG (then established by pay and by the MHA as being between a Lt Col and a full Colonel) wearing rank badges as worn by a Brigadier of the Army. So far so good. But this came to haunt the military years later when by forgetting the historical background of the issue, police officers started demanding status and pay equation by virtue of the rank badges worn. The skewed situation got adversely solidified when the 6th CPC commented about an ‘established relativity’ between a Brig and a DIG in all probability based on the equality of brass carried on the shoulders by the two ranks.

That being the backdrop, let’s now talk of the CPOs : Till the 5th CPC, there was no separate grade of Second-in-Command, instead there used to be two grades of the rank of Commandant in Central Police Organizations : Commandant (Ordinary Grade) and Commandant (Selection Grade). The so called rank of Second-in-Command was in the same grade as Comdt (OG). The point to be noted here is that both were in the Non-Functional Selection Grade pay scales and NOT in Junior Administrative Grade. Comdt (OG) (as also 2IC where it existed) was an officer in the NFSG scale of Rs 4100-5300 while Comdt (SG) was in Rs 4500-5700. Comdt (OG) with NFSG scale who used to wear the State Emblem with one Star was usually equated with a Lt Col for functional reasons in organizations such as Assam Rifles though the Army still maintained that the parity of Lt Col was with Comdt (SG) and not Comdt (OG). Both NFSG scales and ranks of Comdt (OG) and Comdt (SG) were merged by the 5th CPC and granted the scale of Rs 14300-18300 and another junior rank called Second-in-Command was created by the same Pay Commission in the Junior Administrative Grade of Rs 12000-16500 (erstwhile Rs 3700-5000). Now this junior rank was ordained to wear the former rank badges of Comdt (OG). Hence, the erstwhile NFSG Comdt (OG) – functionally considered equivalent to a Lt Col was granted the scale of Rs 14300-18300 and the Second-in-Command was a new junior rank created by the 5th CPC for internal Cadre Management of CPOs. The appointment of 2IC also existed in certain CPOs prior to 5th CPC but it was the same grade as Comdt (OG) and all such existing 2ICs were also upgraded to the new NFSG of Rs 14300-18300 while new 2IC appointees after the 5th CPC were granted a lower rank of JAG in the scale Rs 12000-16500. The above mentioned can be explicitly seen from Paras 70.19 & 70.21 of the 5th CPC dealing with CPOs. How can one then say that by creation of a new junior rank for CPOs (2IC) below the erstwhile rank of Comdt (OG) for their own management, the rank of Lt Col also stands degraded by a one level ?. The military is not to follow the system of CPOs and has nothing to do with their organizational tinkering. It is the CPOs which introduced a junior rank in the JAG – would it automatically have an adverse impact on the military, absolutely NOT. If Commandants start wearing the ranks of a full Colonel, would it mean that they have now become equivalent to Colonels ? No I would say. One also keeps hearing that there has to be a parity between Commandants and full Colonels since both command Battalions and that an officer is promoted to the rank of full Colonel in about 15 years which is similar to Commandants of CPOs. This is incorrect too since most Infantry Battalion Commanders are actually Substantive Lt Colonels holding the acting rank of Colonel but in the pay of Lt Col. Army officers are promoted to the rank and pay of substantive Colonel after 20 years service, that is, if at all promoted. Though preferably, the system of rank badges should have been made parallel to actual status in the 1950s itself, it did not happen but it should also not lead to false perceptions of grandeur. Can a non-gazetted Inspector of Central Excise (who wears three stars without a cloth band) be equated with a gazetted Group-A Assistant Commandant of the CPOs only because of similarity of rank badges ?. Can an Inspector of Bihar Police who now wears One Star without cloth band compare himself with an IPS Probationer because they share the brass on their respective shoulders ? Or can a Shatabadi Train Ticket Checker claim equivalence with a Wing Commander of the Air Force because they both wear three full stripes on their shoulders ?. What is worn on the shoulders by officers of the CPOs by virtue of their in-house/MHA orders has no relevance or effect on MoD or on what is worn by military officers.

The Indian Navy-Coast Guard Equation : While the MoD could not have controlled the upgradation of rank badges by organizations under the MHA, in-house relativities as far as Coast Guard is concerned, were kept more realistic. Commandant (SG) in the scale of Rs 14300-18300 of the Coast Guard still wears Three Stripes akin to a Naval Commander (Lt Col) while a DIG in the scale of Rs 16400-20000 is equated with a Colonel and wears Four Stripes akin to a Naval Captain (Full Colonel). A DIG is allowed to wear the rank stripes of a Commodore only after some set years of service as is the case in the Navy. Mind You, a naval Commodore strictly speaking is not equivalent to a Brigadier of the Army. Naval Captains after three years of service are constituted (not promoted) as Commodores which is basically an appointment and not a rank, though traditionally they are treated at par in status with Brigadiers in Military circles. Commodores when granted command of a ship are reverted back to four stripes of a Captain.

Any thoughts ???


Friday, October 24, 2008

In these times of chaos, this seems to be the perfect dose. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic !)


Look at the definition of Rank Pay in Special Army Instruction (SAI) 2/S/98 :

2 (b)
: “RANK PAY” means the pay admissible to an officer appropriate to the rank actually held, either in acting or substantive capacity, in addition to the pay in the revised scale. Rank Pay forms part of the basic pay.

And the definition in the recently issued SAI 2/S/08 :

3 (b) : “RANK PAY” means the Rank Pay admissible to Commissioned Officers of the three services.

Can you spot the difference ?

Now read this from ‘The Tribune’ this morning.


MoD delinks rank pay from basic pay

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 23

A fresh controversy appears to have erupted over orders issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on revision of the pay scales of armed forces personnel consequent to the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

In new special army instructions (SAIs) issued in the past week, the MoD has modified the definition of rank pay earlier admissible to commissioned officers and has de-linked it from the basic pay despite the fact that SAIs issued after the fourth and the fifth pay commissions define rank pay as “part of basic pay”.

Legal experts say that the fresh move of the MoD to de-link rank pay is not only in contravention of approved recommendations of the Union Cabinet, but also against the spirit of the MoD’s own earlier SAIs and court orders. The revised definition, sources claim, would adversely impact the status of armed forces officers.

Para 3 (b) of the SAI 2/S/08 issued on October 11, 2008, terms rank pay only as “rank pay admissible to commissioned officers of the three services”. Earlier, SAI 2/S/87 and SAI 2/S/98 also mentioned that rank pay forms a part of the basic pay. It is learnt that the service headquarters are taking up the issue with the MoD.

The new “disparity” has come to light even as a high-level committee comprising three Cabinet ministers constituted to look into pay-related issues raised by the armed forces is yet to submit its report. According to officers, rank pay was carved out of basic pay of military officers by the Fourth Pay Commission, when a common scale was introduced for all ranks from second Lieutenant till Brigadier. The rank pay was added into the basic pay as a differentiating factor. The addition of rank pay as a part of basic pay was approved by the Union Cabinet and also notified in SAIs issued by the MoD.

Sources claimed that there were still instances wherein civilian officers posted to the MoD, by their own interpretation, refused to add rank pay into basic pay for status comparison purposes, despite the fact that courts of law had also ruled rank pay to be an integral part of basic pay.

While the tussle over the status of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel vis-à-vis equivalent civilian officers continues, the Jodhpur and Chennai Benches of the Central Administrative Tribunal have, in a case filed by MES officers, already held that directors and superintending engineers of the Central Engineering Services are junior to full Colonels and are equivalent to Lieutenant Colonels.

In the meantime, the Central government has started implementing pay progression parity for all Group A organised civilian officers with the IAS but the defence services have been kept outside the purview of the new scheme. The pay achieved by 100 per cent civil officers in 16 years is achievable by less than one per cent military officers and that too after 33 years of service, sources said.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh ! What've you done, Mr Saikat Datta ???

(May I again request readers not to indulge in personal attacks. Mr Datta is a respected journalist and just as I disagree with some facts in his article, he may have a different take on the issue. His article is a journalistic viewpoint, and I support his right to have his own opinion to the hilt. Let us be more accommodating and flexible. Sorry and Thanks)

Firstly, is it a mere coincidence that all that’s said against the defence establishment now emanates from ‘finance ministry sources’ ?

Saikat Datta has come up with a good one on the Military’s case for pay enhancement. I support Datta’s right to disagree with the services’ demands but I also feel tempted to address the factual errors so very prominently displayed by him.

After all the hullabaloo, this is what we needed – a supposed ‘Order of Precedence’ in a national magazine of repute which shows a Section Officer equal to a Major of the Army !. Yes, this is what is reproduced in the said article in Outlook. Click here for Page 1 of the Article and here for Page 2. So Mr Datta, what about Lieutenants and Captains, I’m sure if a Major is of the status of a Section officer, the ones who provided you with this ‘order of precedence’ would now want a Capt to be equated with an Upper Division Clerk (UDC) and Lieut with an LDC – that’s how the hierarchy below SO goes. And what about Subedar Major ? Oh, he’s a peon, alright. Now that would be really satisfying for some !!!

Well for starters, there is no such ‘order of precedence’ as reproduced in Saikat Datta’s article. Only the President’s Secretariat and the Ministry of Home Affairs are competent to deal with status and equivalence. The lone document that can be relied on is the official Order of Precedence (also known as Warrant of Precedence - WoP) last drastically amended in 1979 and issued by the President’s Secretariat. This WoP (amended till Oct 2007) clearly and unambiguously lays down the following equivalence :

Article 11 : Cabinet Secretary

Article 12 : Service Chiefs

Article 23 : Lt Generals (Army Commander equivalents) and Secretaries to Govt of India

Article 24 : Other Lt Generals

Article 25 : Additional Secretaries to Govt of India / Chief Secretaries of States outside their States.

Article 26 : Major Generals and Joint Secretaries to Govt of India

The current Central WoP is only till the rank of Major General. For ranks and posts below Maj Gen / JS to GoI, the old Warrant of 1937 is followed as per Govt of India instructions. The actual WoP down till the rank of Capt is available here.

Saikat Datta however reproduces a supposedly 1968 issued ‘Order of Precedence’ in his article which lists Army Commanders (GsOC-in-C) with Additional Secretaries, Major Generals with Joint Secretaries, Brigadiers with Deputy Secretaries, Colonels with Officiating Dy Secretaries (Needless to say, no such post exists), Lt Colonels with Under Secretaries and Majors with Section Officers. It is another story that the official number of said table or the legal sanctity of its issuing authority is not mentioned in the article. Can such a self created ‘Order of Precedence’ override the Order of Precedence issued by the President’s Secretariat. Here is a take on so called equivalence by the Army HQ, and here is the stand of the Home Ministry on equivalance. Tell me, what do you say about this Mr Datta ?. Tomorrow can the Army HQ also override the President’s warrant and locally issue a similar equivalence table showing a Capt equivalent to an Additional Secretary to Govt of India ?. Give us a break from this propaganda.

Alright let’s leave that aside, even the 6th CPC was not that cruel to the forces. The 6th CPC (and the Cabinet after due amendments) had articulated the following status and pay equivalence :-

1. Service Chiefs = Cabinet Secretary

2. Lt Gen (Army Commander) = Secretary to Govt of India (Apex Scale)

3. Lt Gen = Additional Secretary to Govt of India (Higher Adm Grade)

4. Maj Gen = Joint Secretary to Govt of India (Senior Adm Grade)

5. Brig = No equivalent in the Secretarial hierarchy but has now been equated with a DIG of IPS and Conservator of IFS.

6. Col = Director to Govt of India (Non-Functional Selection Grade)

7. Lt Col = Deputy Secretary to Govt of India (Junior Adm Grade)

8. Maj = Under Secretary to Govt of India (Senior Time Scale)

9. Capt = No equivalent

10. Lieut = Junior Time Scale

Of course a Section Officer finds mention in the 6th CPC report but sorry the said post has been equated with a Subedar of the Army. But maybe the 6th CPC got it all wrong and SOs should have been granted a Grade Pay of Rs 7600 in Pay Band-3 !!

The problem that the Services have with the 6th CPC hypothesized equivalence is that the rough pay equation of the 5th CPC and the one recommended by the Group of Officers (GOO) in 1999 has been disturbed. Till the 6th CPC came along, the pay equation was :-

Capt = Under Secretary to GoI, Maj = Dy Secretary to GoI, Lt Col = Director to GoI, Col = DIG of IPS, Brig = No equivalent, Maj Gen = Joint Secy to GoI, Lt Gen = Addl Secy to GoI, Lt Gen (Army Commander) = Secy to GoI, Service Chiefs = Cabinet Secy

Saikat Datta also gives a feeling as if the Cabinet Secretary and his team of Secretaries felt that the Services’ demand of maintenance of an edge by Regular Officers over those of the Military Nursing Services (MNS) was a big joke. Well it was not so Mr Datta. The final approval of the Cabinet would show that indeed the said demand has been accepted and MNS officers have been granted lower grade pays and status than regular commissioned officers. And let me also tell you that it is only in the Army (after the 6th CPC) that Nurses have been granted a Group-A (Class-I) status equal to other officers. On the civil side, Nurses are appointed on Group-C (Class-III) appointments.

While I hold MNS officers in high esteem, the Cabinet has not only perpetuated an anomaly by placing Lt Colonels in a lower pay band vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts, but another grave injustice has been committed closer at home, look at this :-

Lt Col of Regular Army

5th CPC Scale : Rs 15100-400-18700
6th CPC Scale : Pay Band-3 (Rs 15900-39100)

Colonel of Military Nursing Service

5th CPC Scale : Rs 13400-300-15500
6th CPC Scale : Pay Band- 4 (Rs 37400-67000)

How’s that for ‘specious arguments’, Mr Datta ??

Mr Saikat Datta replies :

Dear Navdeep,

Hi. This is Saikat Datta.

I wrote the piece so I welcome your take on it. However, I have only reported what i have gathered.

I have done the same to highlight how the IAS has given themselves a lot more money then what was approved by the Cabinet! I wish you had read that article to get an idea of what i am trying to say in my pieces.

My point is that there is a growing intolerance to any opinion on any issue these days. And there is no leakage of any confidential information. Just highlighting some things in an alternative perspective. If you give me your email I am sure we can discuss this further. As regards the document that I have published (the 1968 document) this is something that was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on behalf of the cabinet secretariat. This was appended to a letter from a particular group of military officers in their representation to the pay commission.

In brief the point of the article was/is that by trying to drag down other services the army chief took the debate away from the legitimate demands of the three services for their men and officers. In fact I also state that the Navy Chief's representations as well as his signals were in the finest traditions of the services. However, mere rhetoric will not help us argue for parity, status or more money. It also needs some soul searching. Issues such as perks for senior officers by means of subsidised liquor, free rations, misuse of PBORs by making them wash clothes, swipe the floor etc. I have personally witnessed these above acts. Should Brigadiers and above be given such perks?. I have no answers but I would love to hear your views on the above.

Warm regards


Saturday, October 18, 2008

FIFTH Pay Commission anomaly for Majors finally resolved in 2008 (Yes you read that right !!!)


As many readers would know, in Feb 2000, it was decided by the govt to sanction a starting basic pay of Rs 13,125 (Rs 11,925 + Rs 1200 Rank Pay) to Majors / Lt Cdrs / Sqn Ldrs as against Rs 12,800 (Rs 11,600 + Rs 1200 Rank Pay) notified earlier vide the relevant SAIs/SNIs/SAFIs pursuant to 5th CPC recommendations. This (the step up) was done to maintain a parity between pay progression of military and civil officers in accordance with the length of service which was a direct result of an anomalous situation which went unnoticed by the 5th CPC. However another anomaly crept out of this already anomalous condition wherein newly promoted Majors were placed in the new Rs 13,125 basic whereas some of their seniors were retained at Rs 12,800.

This anomaly has now been rectified by the Ministry of Defence through a letter dated 10th October 2008 vide which a stepping up of the pay of affected officers has been implemented. This stepping up of pay would be applicable to officers promoted to the grade during 01-03-1999 to 28-2-2000.

More than the minor anomaly itself, what meets the eye is the fact that it has taken almost 8 years for such an inconsequential anomaly to be corrected. This is the reason why the Services Headquarters are keen on immediate rectification of anomalies of the 6th CPC. If a proactive follow-up is not put in place, then all of you can expect the resolution of the finer 6th CPC anomalies around the year 2018 !!!, well perhaps that too maybe !!

PS- Thanks to the so many readers for sending this in. I did not want to post this minor issue on the blog but the time taken for this is really mindblowing.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Military Reservists, Where are they ??


There is no dearth of legislation on the subject

Territorial Army was raised 59 Octobers ago. The nation is today involved in a proxy war which has kept our Army occupied in roles it is not traditionally meant to perform, an engagement which has resulted in dilution of basic defence functions. Countries which are militarily strong rely upon a strong base of reserve forces in which ordinary citizens contribute, which unfortunately is lacking in our case. The concept of citizen-soldiers for local territorial defence is as old as the Army itself, and today it is a need that is staring us in the face.

We in India have a wonderful organisation called the Territorial Army (TA) which is a part-time voluntary force. As a concept, it is the greatest thing that could happen to a country like ours that has a large population at its disposal. TA is citizens’ Army. The TA is meant to be a reserve organisation of part-time volunteers employed in different professions on the civilian side, who receive military training for a few days in a year so that in the event of a national emergency, they may volunteer to bear arms for the nation’s defence. The legislature wanted this organisation to be used as a second line of defence in wars and as an assisting force in internal defence duties in case of national emergencies. At present, unknown to many, the TA is performing a variety of duties rather well including ecological protection and counter terrorism and is on its way to fast expansion since at just about 3% of regular army strength, there is a requirement for its augmentation in order to be an effective component of the overall defence set up.

Favourable is the fact that our law makers had long back realised the importance of voluntary military training organisations and reserve forces and hence there is no dearth of legislation on the subject. With Low Intensity Conflict all around us, what we need immediately is a large trained pool of volunteers who can be mobilized for short periods to provide localised territorial defence with minimum dislocation of their civil careers.

Unfortunately while there is no dearth of laws on reserves and military training, the implementation has either been discontinued or such laws have not been executed at all. Some of such legislative Acts are :-

1) The Lok Sahayak Sena Act, 1956 : The object was to provide for constitution of a National Volunteer Force by imparting military training to adults to inculcate a sense of discipline, security and self-reliance with no military service liability.

2) The Territorial Army Act, 1948 : Aimed to provide a second line of defence in wars. Provided for training of gainfully employed civilians in their spare time so they could volunteer to bear arms in case of a war or national emergency. Members have a military service liability of a few days in a year, or more in case a member volunteers with the consent of his civilian employer, if any.

3) National Service Act, 1972 : Provides for compulsory national service for individuals with certain technical qualifications in case called out by the government to serve with the armed forces or otherwise.

4) Reserve Forces Act, 1888 : Regular Army personnel have reserve liability for a particular period or till a particular age after they retire from regular service. Under this Act, former personnel can be re-called for periodical training or service in case of war.

5) National Cadet Corps Act, 1948 : This affords providing basic military training to school, college and university students to enable them to become better citizens with no military liability.

6) Civil Defence Act : This Act provides for establishing civil defence mechanism by the civil administration for assistance in times of need.

7) Navy Act, 1957 : Apart from governing the Regular Navy, the Navy Act has provisions regarding creation of Naval Reserve Forces. Naval personnel can also be called out on active service after retirement in case of a national need.

8) Reserve and Auxiliary Air Forces Act, 1952 : This Act provides for creation of three different kinds of forces, firstly, the Regular Air Force Reserve which provides for re-calling of retired Air Force personnel, secondly, the Air Defence Reserve that involves maintenance of a register and a list of trained personnel who can be called out in an emergency, and thirdly, the Auxiliary Air Force which provides for enlistment of civilian volunteers for part-time Air Force training - the Air Force equivalent of the Territorial Army (TA). Training was to be arranged in such a fashion that it caused minimum dislocation or interference in civil vocations.

The need of the hour is to reduce the regular standing Army and give a boost to reservists with more cutting edge efficiency and to utilize these legislative provisions. Almost all these Acts provide for an “employment protection” clause which means that whenever reservists are called out or they volunteer for active duty, their employment is protected and their employers (if any) are legally bound to place reservists in the same pay, grade and position as they were, when they return to their actual professions. Apart from being of use to a national cause, reservists are also an asset to their parent organisations in their civilian careers since they pick up unmatched leadership and discipline skills from the forces. Time and again we also hear of initiation of a mechanism for making part time military service compulsory for civil servants, not being aware that the TA Act, 1948 already empowers the government to call out civilian employees for compulsory military service whenever required under Section 6-A of the Territorial Army Act. The concept of reserves would magnify our resources of fighting men and women without being a burden on the exchequer. In recent times, while there has been no dearth of applications for officership in the forces, there has been a lack of the correct talent and the correct motivational level resulting in fewer candidates being selected at the commissioned officer level. But, people who do not want to serve the Army full time or those who do not want to make the Army their profession and want to continue in pastures greener than olive green, may have no problem in becoming part-time reserve officer-volunteers by dedicating a few days in a year for military refresher capsules. This way they can be a part of the nation’s defence in case of a dire need and can also continue with their respective employment and vocations.

India has a large population at its disposal and it is not that people are not oriented towards national service; it is only that such concepts need to be effectively encouraged. Adequate measures need to be adopted to give effect to provisions that have been long lying dormant and semi-implemented in books of law. India can emerge as strong economic and military power if citizens are made a part of the country’s defence since protection of the frontiers or interiors is not only the domain of our brave armed forces, each and everyone of us should contribute. After all, an Army alone never goes to war, the nation does.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

May I seek a minute of silence in the honour of….


…...Ex-Gunner Bachan Singh who passed away this morning. This gem of a soldier (Africa Star / Burma Star / Defence of India Medal) fought a long battle for his dues and received his pension arrears of about 60 years a few months back.. He got injured in North Africa, was treated in a Military Hospital in Cairo during WWII and then was medically boarded out in 1947. He was granted disability pension which was abruptly discontinued by the CDA in 1949 while holding that his disability had gone below 20%, this despite the fact that a duly constituted medical board by the Army had confirmed a disability of 30%. His pleas for a resurvey medical board fell on deaf ears. However, with the help of our ex-Vice Chief, Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman (then GOC-in-C WC), his case was taken up with the PCDA(P) as well as the Govt for re-consideration. A thorough medical examination of this 95 year old soldier was carried out in 2005 at Command Hospital Western Command and the board opined that the disability was such which could not have improved in any manner, and that it had remained constant / static all these years since 1949. Our persistence and Gen Pattabhiraman’s help resulted in the sanctioning of his disability pension with arrears with effect from 1949, a historical landmark, and something which goes to show that the govt is not always all that insensitive as it is projected to be. Of course the arrears were not much but still the spirit behind the gesture was symbolic, and the old fauji had something to look forward to, and a reason to thank olive green and some great souls like our ex-Vice Chief who ensured that he got his dues 6 decades after he was released. The battle did not end there, the bank which was to release his arrears made him and his relatives visit the branch numerous times but kept delaying his payment on flimsy grounds. It took some tough talk by representatives of the Army who visited the branch to get the ball rolling. Incidentally, just two days back I had written a letter to the bank asking them not to make the old veteran visit the branch every month for his pension – they were insisting on his presence in the branch every month in blatant contravention of MoD guidelines. But nature thought otherwise……sad but atleast I had the satisfaction of seeing his case through and I thank none other than Gen Pattabhiraman for it. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Punjab Govt and the Army today, and by me on behalf of Gen Pattabhiraman who has personally conveyed that he be added in the list of mourners. Bachan Singh was one of those rare soldiers alive who had actively served both in Africa and Burma. May this gunner’s soul rest in peace.
The report of his death has been covered by 'The Tribune' - access it by clicking here.

There are many other Bachan Singhs out there who need us, so let us give all we can, it is because of them that we enjoy this richness of military tradition that we so very cherish.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

All Organised Group-A Services (not including the Armed Forces) to have parity in pay progression with the IAS


As we all know, there is wide disparity in promotions between the IAS and other Group-A services after the level of the Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG)/Selection Grade (SG). While almost all services reach the NFSG/SG level (Rs 37400-67000 with a Grade Pay of Rs 8700) after 13 years of service, progression beyond that to Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) and above is heavily tilted in favour of the IAS. In view to eliminate this disparity, the 6th CPC in Paragraph 3.3.12 on Page 174 had recommended the following :

This is not justified as organised Group A services have to be given their due which justifiably should mean that the disparity, as far as appointment to various grades in Centre are concerned, should not exceed two years between IAS and organised Central Group A services. The Government should, accordingly, consider batch-wise parity while empanelling and/or posting at Centre between respective batches of IAS and other organised Group A services with the gap being restricted to two years. Whenever any IAS officer of a particular batch is posted in the Centre to a particular grade carrying a specific grade pay in pay bands PB-3 or PB-4 , grant of higher pay scale on non-functional basis to the officers belonging to batches of organised Group A services that are senior by two years or more should be given by the Government. The higher non-functional grade so given to the officers of organised Group A services will be personal to them and will not depend on the number of vacancies in that grade. These officers will continue in their existing posts and will get substantial posting in the higher grade that they are holding on non-functional basis only after vacancies arise in that grade. This will not only ensure some sort of modified parity between IAS and other Central Group A services but will also alleviate the present level of disparity existing between promotional avenues available to different organised Group A services.

Hence the 6th CPC had recommended progression into higher grades for all other services of the same batch with a restricted gap of 2 years. So if an IAS officer is empanelled as Joint Secretary in 19 years of service at the Centre, all other Organised Group-A services (including technical services) shall enter the Joint Secretary’s grade in 21 years. The progression shall be on a non-functional basis which means that they shall continue to be posted on their actual respective posts but would receive the pay, grade pay, perks and facilities of the higher grade. As explained in an earlier post, all Joint Secretaries GoI are Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) officers but all SAG officers are not Joint Secretaries to GoI. While it takes around 19 years for an IAS officer in the SAG to be empanelled as a Joint Secretary to Govt of India at the Centre, the same officer is promoted to SAG in 16 years while in his/her own cadre. Till the time a SAG officer (Grade Pay 10000) is not empanelled as a Joint Secretary to Govt of India, he/she holds the post of Director to Govt of India (Grade Pay 8700) when posted to the Centre though he/she may have held the SAG in his/her own State/UT with a Grade Pay of 10000.

The recommended pay progression parity for other services has now been accepted and implemented by the Govt.

The newly promulgated Indian Police Service (Pay) Amendment Rules, 2008 contain the following note under Rule 3 :-

“Note 3: Whenever any Indian Administrative Service officer of the State or Joint Cadre is posted at the Centre to a particular grade carrying a specific grade pay in pay band 3 or pay band 4, the members of Service, who are senior to such Indian Administrative Service officer by two years or more and have not so far been promoted to that particular grade, shall be appointed to the same grade on non -functional basis from the date of posting of the Indian Administrative Service officer in that particular grade.”

The newly promulgated Indian Forest Service (Pay) Second Amendment Rules, 2008 also contain the above stipulation.

Also according to new rules, the following is the promotional criterion for All India services officers :-

1. Promotion to Senior Time Scale (Pay Band-3 / Grade Pay 6600) : 4 years for all

2. Promotion to Junior Administrative Grade (Pay Band-3 / Grade Pay 7600) : 9 years for all

3. Promotion to Selection Grade (Pay Band-4 / Grade Pay 8700) : 13 years for all

4. Promotion to DIG in the IPS and Conservator in IFS (Pay Band-4 / Grade Pay 8900) : 14 years. This grade does not exist in the IAS

5. Promotion to Senior Administrative Grade (Pay Band-4 / Grade Pay 10000) : 16 years for IAS, 18 years for IPS and IFS

All service rules are available on www.persmin.nic.in

The Pay problems of the Defence Services can also be addressed if the same pay progression criterion is adopted for them too. And provided there is a will to do so, there is no reason why this cannot happen. Functional grade pay can be granted till the rank of Lt Col in 13th year of service and after that non-functional grade pay can be released linked with the progression of other Group-A services. The manpower pool is the same (graduation is the minimum qualification for all Defence and Civil Services), the recruiting agency is the same (UPSC) and all are Group-A central govt employees and hence in my humble opinion, pay progression should also ideally be implemented universally. In fact since the Pay Commission had recommended similar pay bands for all including the uniformed services, then the pay / career progression formula should also have been the same. If put into practice for the defence services, this would not only reduce discontentment but also meet the requirement of the spirit of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

What do you think ?

Mark my words, this would ultimately happen. Perhaps in the 7th CPC, but it would !


Monday, October 13, 2008

Pride and Precedence : Major Manvendra Singh (Territorial Army), Member of Parliament, Barmer


Before this, a Newsflash : Mr Pranab Mukherjee met the PM on the military pay issue today. He is positive that the anomalies would be resolved very soon.

You can also view this (below) write-up here

(The views are the writer's own, this blog may not subscribe to the political statements expressed in this write-up)

Pride & Precedence : Manvendra Singh

The Congress party's DNA does not allow it to handle three subjects with insight, intellect or innovation. On most other issues the party comes up with interesting ideas, even if the process adopted is bizarre. But DNA is, in this case, essentially about memory and that is precisely the undoing of the Congress party when it comes to dealing with Pakistan, China, and the Indian armed forces. Not necessarily in the same breadth, but even as individual subjects.

While the principal culprit would of course be the invertebrate nature of the average Congressperson, the onus for this intellectual disaster falls squarely on the shoulders of late Prime Minister Nehru. The sheer scale of his capabilities and intellect when compared to what his contemporaries possessed created an aura of impenetrable proportions. It was, in a sense, India's first example of outsourcing wherein the party simply left thought to its leader. Whatever policy Nehru formulated was enshrined in party shastras. No reason to think again.

The ideas that the great leader bequeathed his small party did not require intelligence in implementing, as if they were cast in stone. But for the economic policy that was tossed out by an equally interesting leader, the late PV Narasimha Rao, the inability to think out of the box over Pakistan, China and the Armed Forces remains an enduring legacy. A brief attempt over these three issues during the term of the late Rajiv Gandhi came to naught as the enormous inertia of the Congress party checked him.

The same inertia has come to mark the incredibly inept handling of the armed forces Pay Commission crisis. The Government of India has compounded errors with its unbelievable ignorance about the grievance of the armed forces. The three chiefs have displayed their own ineptitude in how they've carried the message for their services, but more on that later.

The root of the crisis lies in the strange Indian practice of constituting a pay commission that would look at the army in Siachen and the additional secretary in South Block. How the two job requirements, and service ethos, can ever be written about on the same page defies explanation. Despite that the government did not appoint an armed forces member on the commission even when it had the opportunity to do so.

The end result of which is that the service headquarters are banging their heads on the wall to plead that the report as it stands is not implement able. Unlike what anybody has alluded to or accused the chiefs of not doing, the issue is not over pay, but over precedence. And as the doorman of any government official knows, it is precedence that carries the order of the day. But in this case the order of the day is going to have two very serious crises.

In the short term the government's ignorance, and insistence, is certain to wreck carefully crafted unified command structures in insurgency areas. Just as politicians stand accused of turning the socio-political clock back in the Kashmir valley, politicians can now also be accused of aiming to turn the operational clock back. The reason being that the Pay Commission has come up with its own formulations over pay and precedence.

While it had the authority to look into matters of pay, it did not have the licence to tamper with precedence. And by doing what it has done, it has ensured that the carefully worked out counter-insurgency mechanism stands on the verge of collapsing. The primacy accorded to the army vis-a-vis police, state and central, is being systematically being whittled away.

As a former journalist who covered the last Pay Commission, and its very sorry air force fiasco, suffice to say that what confronts the country today is far more serious. And insidious. The key officers accountable for India's tactics on the Line of Control or in anti-insurgency operations within are to lose the very precedence that has given them the authority to bring the situation to where it is.

While the responsibility devolved upon the state and central police forces, the control continued to spiral out of hand. It was only when the Army was deployed, and set into motion its own counter-insurgency grid, that a semblance of control could be seen. Now this same Army is being made accountable to the police forces in terms of precedence. When this has not happened in any other country in the world, how India could hope to re-invent this relationship is perplexing to say the least.

The second serious crisis is one the country will have to face when it goes into a conventional war. As per the war manual the Army takes command of the BSF and the Navy of the Coast Guard. When this tinkering of precedence has happened, who will now relinquish to whom? It is a very serious crisis of command and one which is testing the resilience of the three services.

There weren't any blogs during the last Pay Commission, and nor was there much of an email presence. Yet mobilisation happened on levels that could be termed scary. Both these new technologies have given much air to voices of those that have always remained mute.

In order to have the honour of wearing the President's commission an officer forfeits certain fundamental rights. This holds true for all ranks. The historical and global logic being that the sheer scale of that honour is enough to compensate for those losses. Those who have experienced the pleasure and honour of the uniform will vouch for the judiciousness of this exchange. So it is galling when the three chiefs seek to right a wrong and they're accused of sedition. Being soldiers they're of course meant, and seen, to be mum on all matters. But when honour is at stake it is the duty of all to stand up and be counted. For this is at the core of India's civilisation as enshrined in the Bhagvad Gita.

In their inexperience with politicians, and their ineptitude at being messengers, the chiefs were delivering the wrong message all this while. It had nothing to do with pay but with precedence. It is in the nature of all bureaucracies to encroach. The military bureaucracy also does it when given a chance. But this creeping encroachment encouraged by political blindness could cost the country very dearly. For at stake is the honour of India's armed forces, the institution that the country holds dearest. And giving it to those that the country loathes, in khaki, safari and white.

Courtesy Rediff, Thank You.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Mythbuster : The truth about military scales


In my humble opinion, the fight of the services is a call for equality and not an elitist battle for superiority as is perceived by certain quarters.

Myth : Lt Col is equivalent to Deputy Secretary Govt of India and Colonel to Director GoI

Reality : The Sixth Pay Commission (Page 73) and the Ministry of Finance have led us to believe that a Lt Col is equated with the Junior Administrative Grade (Dy Secy to Govt of India) while a Colonel is equivalent to Non-Functional Selection Grade (Director to Govt of India). The issue however is that this contention of the 6th CPC and the MoF is supported neither by any official document nor by the Department of Personnel & Training or the Ministry of Home Affairs. Letters issued by MoD for functional equivalence have no sanctity whatsoever in dealing with direct one to one equivalence. If there is a letter by MoD which functionally equates JAG in a particular cadre with Lt Col, then there is another by the same Ministry which equates NFSG with Lt Col in another cadre. The fact remains that the rough pay equivalence of a Lt Col has always been with the NFSG and there is no document with the govt or with the pay commission that postulates that Lt Col is equal to JAG and not to NFSG. The official stand of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on this issue can be seen by clicking here. The MHA has clarified that there is no document which determines the equivalence of military and civil officers. The stand of the DoPT can be seen by clicking here. The equivalence reflected by the 6th CPC is hence a self created interpretation without any official back-up. The traditional stand of the Army HQ on the issue can be seen by clicking here.

Myth : End of Pay Scale is to be taken to determine seniority amongst different posts.

Reality : Partially true. The end of scale is definitely a criterion for determination of seniority amongst posts but the said criterion is explicitly mentioned as being applicable only to ‘civil posts under the central govt’ and not to military ranks. The 5th CPC had stated that only those posts would be classified as Group – A (formerly known as Class-I) which had a minimum end of scale of Rs 13500. But the same Commission made it clear that this ‘end of scale’ criterion was only applicable to Civil Posts. The same can be noticeably seen from Page 461 of the 5th CPC report where pre-revised scales are discussed. If the same ‘end of scale’ concept is transferred to Military Ranks, then there shall be utter chaos. It is commonly known that in the 5th CPC the pay scales of Lieut and Capt both ended below Rs 13500, if you apply the ‘end of scale’ criterion to military ranks then it would mean that Lieuts and Capts of the Army are not Commissioned (Group-A) officers. The scales of Military Officers were not unduly extended because there was no functional requirement for the same – a Lieut for example had a starting pay of Rs 8250 and after four years of service with four increments had to be upgraded to a Capt’s scale, so at best there was a requirement of four increments in the scale and it made no sense to extend a Lieut’s scale to Rs 13500 unlike on some of the civil posts where there was persistent stagnation. Or let’s take another example on the flip side : the 4th CPC scale for a 2/Lieut was Rs 2300-5100, if we take the end of scale criterion for comparison of civil and military scales then it would mean that a 2/Lieut with an end of scale of Rs 5100 was senior to a Superintending Engineer (SE) of the Central Engineering Services who had an ending scale of Rs 5000. Does it make sense ?, not at all !

Myth : The pay of a Lt Col was always equal to Dy Secy GoI

Reality : There has never been a direct one to one equation of pay with the civil services but the pay of a Lt Col was definitely not equated with a JAG. It was always roughly equated with the NFSG of the civil services. After the 3rd CPC, there were three NFSG grades and the pay scale of a Lt Col (1700-1900) was interpolated between the NFSG grades of 1650-1800 and 1800-2000. After the 4th CPC, the pay of a Lt Col (4700-5900) was more than civil NFSG grades of 4100-5300 and 4500-5700. After the 5th CPC, the pay scale of a Lt Col was 15100-18700 which was more than the civil NFSG scale of 14300-18300 (15100-18300 for the IAS). It is for the first time after the 6th CPC that a scale much lower than NFSG was postulated for Lt Cols. A Group of Officers set up by the Govt of India in late 1990s had also harped on parity between Majors in their 14th year of service and NFSG officers of the civil services, and now we have elements in the MoF saying that a Lt Col is not equivalent to NFSG !

Myth : Lt Cols are designated as Joint Directors in Army HQ and hence are junior to Directors

Reality : What a pitiful argument against the services. Joint Director is just a nomenclature of a designation and not a grade or a rank. It is perfectly normal for appointments to be named differently for internal cadre management or even for different grades / ranks from different services to hold the same appointment in a particular hierarchy. In the Army Service Corps (ASC), Brigadiers are posted as Deputy Directors Supply & Transport, would it mean that such officers become equivalent to a Capt merely since they are designated as Dy Directors. Major Generals of the Army Medical Corps (AMC) are designated Deputy Directors of Medical Services, would it mean that Maj Gens of the AMC are equal to Capts of other Arms only because both are ‘Deputy Directors’ ?. The CBI Director is in the Apex Scale of Rs 80000, can an IAS officer with 13 years of service who is posted as a Director in some Ministry claim equivalence to Director CBI on the basis that both are called ‘Directors’ ?. In fact, I personally feel that Lt Cols in the Army HQ should be designated Directors, Colonels should be known as Senior Directors while Brigs should be nomenclatured Principal Directors / Dy Director Generals. ‘Joint Director’ is just a designation for functional requirement and in no way reflects the grade, rank, pay or status.

Myth : Certain Lt Colonels have been holding deputation appointments tenable by JAG officers in other organizations, hence Lt Cols have to be equated with JAG

Reality : Yes, the Army for internal cadre management has been posting Lt Cols to some posts tenable by JAG officers from the civil side but this is nothing out of the world. The same happens in civil services too, please peruse Clarification No 5 of this latest letter issued by the Ministry of Finance after the 6th CPC and everything would fall into place. On the other hand, the Army has also been posting Lt Cols to posts tenable by NFSG in certain organizations. Army officers of the rank of Major have also been sought by Govt of India for NFSG posts as would become clear by clicking here. Many a times it so happens in official circles that different organizations send officers of different grades for the same deputation post. No big deal, it does not reflect on status in any case. Certain officers of inter-service organizations claim that the status of Lt Cols was downgraded in mid 1980s when command of units was granted to Colonels instead of Lt Colonels and again when the rank of Lt Col became a Time Scale rank in 2004 leading to the absence of a ‘selection board’ whereas civilian counterparts still have to undergo a Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC). They also claim that the rank of a Col is achievable in 15 years in certain Arms and Services. Firstly, till date, the Command of units is with Substantive Lt Colonels who are actually Acting Colonels. An officer of the military as on date assumes the rank of a substantive Colonel after 20 years of service. Secondly, promotion to the rank of Lt Col is not automatic but depends on successful passing of service tests, examinations and courses besides other criteria such as physical fitness. The DPC on the civil side too is not a selection board but just a committee which simply sifts through documents to see whether officers meet the criterion of promotion mentioned under service rules.

Myth : Rank Pay is not a part of basic pay

Reality : The biggest myth. Rank Pay was actually carved out of basic pay by the 4th CPC. Officers from the rank of 2/Lieut till Brig were placed in the same scale of Rs 2300-5100 with a minima prescribed for each rank with an additional rank pay to differentiate between different ranks since the scale was the same. Hence for example, a minima of Rs 3900 was prescribed for a Lt Col in the integrated scale with a rank pay of Rs 800. This ultimately resulted in a scale of Rs 4700-5900 for Lt Cols. The 4th CPC nowhere mentioned that Rank Pay was not a part of basic pay or that it was not to be added for status purposes. In fact if we go by the line that rank pay is not to be added into basic pay then it would mean that all ranks from 2/Lieut to Brig enjoy the same status since they are in the same scale of Rs 2300-5100. It’s true that in between certain letters were issued by some officers in MoD stating therein that rank pay was not to be added into basic for comparison of posts in organizations such as the DRDO, but tell me, when the pay commission had not said so and on the contrary had explicitly stated that it was a part of basic and the same was also approved by the union cabinet, then can some non-descript officer sitting in some vague office in MoD issue any administrative instruction in contravention of the accepted pay commission report or in contravention of SAIs issued by the MoD itself ?. The addition of rank pay into basic pay accepted by the Cabinet and issued through SAIs is not open to interpretation by officers or officials of the MoD or for that matter any other Ministry. Further, even the MoD has agreed while replying to a case filed by MES officers in CAT that rank pay is to be added into basic pay and that the scale of a Col is higher than that of a Director. Click here to learn further about this case. The Hon’ble Kerala High Court in the now famous Maj Dhanapalan case has also held that rank pay is a part of basic pay. The rough pay equation of Military and civil officers till the rank of Brigadier had always been in the following pecking order:


This has now been changed by the 6th CPC to :

Note : The figures in “( )” represent the number of years required to reach the grade/rank including training period assuming that the military officer was trained at IMA. The figures in “[ ]” represent the total percentage of directly appointed officers reaching the particular grade/rank.

JTS (0) [100%] = Lieut (1.5) [100%]

Capt (3.5) [100%] = No civil equivalent as per 6th CPC

STS (4) [100%] = Maj (7.5) [100%]

JAG (9) [100%] = Lt Col (14.5) [100%]

NFSG (13) [100%] = Col (21.5) [<30%*]
DIG (14) [100%] = Brig (29.5) [<5%*]>
* Approximate value subject to correction. The comparison is between commissioned officers of the regular army appointed through the CDSE conducted by UPSC and organized Group-A officers appointed through the CSE conducted by UPSC

(JTS-Junior Time Scale, STS-Senior Time Scale, JAG-Junior Administrative Grade, NFSG-Non Functional Selection Grade)

Jai Hind.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guest Post : Shekhar Gupta etc


The following is another 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. Take a look at his earlier posts here & here

Having been goaded into reading the IE editorial and Shiv Aroor’s defence of it, I am willing to concede lack of malice. Shekhar Gupta may even have got it right on some bureaucratic -military implications, but I think he has entirely missed the point on what’s going on.

I also agree with him that Mr. Antony has not exactly covered himself with glory, but for quite the opposite reasons. Instead of drawing attention to, and seeking accountability from the SCPC and the Committee of Secretaries who have brought this situation to pass, he seems to have let attention drift to the Chiefs who have highlighted the problem. But this is also precisely the problem with the IE editorial. It shifts both the focus and the responsibility from those responsible for the mess, to those who cried foul.

The Profession of Arms is nothing if not about standing up for a ‘Just Cause’. And I suspect the Service Chiefs have done just that – Stand up for a cause they believe to be Just. The Service Hqs have made too many mistakes in the past on their approach to pay related issues. Now if they have managed to draw attention to the charade that takes place every decade in the name of Pay commissions, they have done signal service not just to the armed forces, but the country as a whole. I don’t think trivializing it, is in the larger national interest.

The article in the Observer on what the bureaucrats apportion to themselves around every CPC is merely an indicator of what goes on without public or political scrutiny.

Some of the best recommendations of the last CPC came in the ‘note of dissent’ of Mr. Suresh Tendulkar, then Member FCPC and now Economic Adviser to the PM. Would somebody ask him to have a look at what is going on and see what has happened to V CPC reccos on reigning in the bureaucracy.

I am no fan of the V CPC (report is on the net, on the same site as the VI CPC), but even where there was no dissent, there were recommendations to bring some sense into babudom. This included re-iteration of the IV CPC norm of uniform pay progression up to 13th year (for organized Gp A services) and establishment of a model cadre structure ie a fixed percentage of the officers’ strength in each pay grade. The former was implemented for Civil and Armed Forces officers but the latter wasn’t implemented though accepted for civil services, by the Committee of Secretaries. Therein lies the crux of the whole issue now brought into the open by the Service Chiefs.

If implemented for the civil services, a break will be applied on the practice of a handful of civil services promoting every entrant, good, bad, indifferent or however disjointed, to a joint-secretary’s pay in a relatively short time.

More importantly, other more professional/technical civil services will realize how they have been done in by the 'elite services' and could find a well-deserved place in decision making. If implemented for the armed forces, all Cols would move to the joint-secretary’s pay giving them compensation comparable to civil services. But it would alter the civil servant’s perception of his own importance.

The lack of home-work in the SCPC report may be over-looked, but it is the attempt at quiet burial of some fair, transparent norms attempted by two previous CPCs, by both the SCPC and the current lot of Secretaries, that is at the root of the present imbroglio. Some accountability is in order, but definitely not from those who blew the whistle.

Nor is this happening for the first time as IE says. It was the firm stand taken by a former CNS on pay issues that set the bureaucracy against him. What is probably different now is that the other two Chiefs have also stood firm. Public memory may be short, but newspapers should be having archives. IE may however have another point there. Dereliction of duty may be too strong a phrase, but inaction in the past has definitely added to the burden of present incumbents.

As to what is going on, I am not in uniform, but what can be seen from the media, blogs etc is that there has been a loss of innocence at the middle and lower levels of the Officer corps. With the loss of innocence has also come a loss of trust of the bureaucracy and the political class. In the past, even while deriding each other, there was still an implicit trust (often misplaced) that if one were to lose life and limb in the line of duty, it was for a worthy cause or that his family would be taken care of. Now they seem to be wondering.

Regaining that trust is going to be a much more up-hill battle for the government (and the media) than any perceived kinks in civil military relations. That may in fact be the curse of this CPC, not what the Chiefs did.


New Scales as recommended for University and College Teachers and how they compare with the military


Atleast teachers are expected to get a good deal after submission of the report by their Pay Review Committee (Yes, teachers have their own pay panel !)

The nomenclature of University Teachers has now been changed to :

Asst Professor (in lieu of Lecturer) : Pay Band-3 with GP of 6600

Asst Professor Senior Scale (in lieu of Lecturer Senior Scale) : Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay of 7200

Asst Professor Selection Grade (in lieu of Lecturer Selection Grade) / Associate Professor : Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay of 8000

Professor : Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay of 11000

Senior Professor (new post) : Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay of 12000

Professor of Eminence (new post) : Apex Scale of Rs 80,000

Vice Chancellor : Apex Scale of Rs 80,000

The nomenclature of College Teachers is now the following :

Asst Professor (in lieu of Lecturer) : Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay of 6600

Asst Professor Senior Scale (in lieu of Lecturer Senior Scale) : Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay of 7200

Asst Professor Selection Grade (in lieu of Lecturer Selection Grade) / Associate Professor : Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay of 8000

Senior Associate Professor (new post) : Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay of 8700

Professor in PG Colleges (new post) : Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay of 11000

Principal of Under Graduate College : Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay of 8700

Principal of PG College : Pay Band-4 with Grade Pay of 11000


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Director (Govt of India) is junior to Colonel : Central Administrative Tribunal


(Again may I request that the discussion may be kept civilized without abusive comments on any particular service. Difference of opinion and counter-logic is always welcome though. Thank You)

OK sorry for a long break, the circumstances were unavoidable :-)

Well Well, there you have it !. Some civil service officers have been maintaining that a Director to Govt of India is equivalent to a full Colonel and not a Lt Colonel. Superintending Engineers of the MES (Also known as Directors when holding staff appointments) who were in the 5th CPC scale of Rs 14300-18300 (Revised to Rs 37400-6700 with a Grade Pay of Rs 8700) have time and again represented to the Govt that they should not be made to work under Colonels. For the uninitiated, full Colonels write the CRs of Directors / Superintending Engineers when posted in certain headquarters. Further, the establishment instructions of MoD also till date clearly equate SEs with Lt Colonels. The grouse of civil Directors also emerges from the fact that Lt Colonels are designated as Joint Directors by the Army, not realizing that the Army designates Lt Colonels as Joint Directors merely for internal cadre management and it has nothing to do with their actual grades. Hence, it merely reflects their designation for a particular appointment and not their rank or grade. More on the tenability debate is available here.

Notwithstanding such representations by certain quarters against ‘undue subordination’ under Colonels of the Army, what has not been highlighted is the fact Directors / SEs of the MES have already approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) twice seeking directions that Directors are senior to Lt Colonels and also that Directors / SEs should not be placed under Colonels. The first Case (OA No 298 of 2006) was filed by the Indian Defence Service of Engineers Association against Ministry of Defence, UPSC, E-in-C of the Army besides three other respondents. In the said case it was represented by the Applicants that an SE was equivalent to a Brigadier of the Army (huh ??!!??) and that Colonels should not be allowed to initiate ACRs of Directors / SEs while on the other hand Directors / SEs should write the ACRs of Lt Colonels.

In an important and well rounded decision which was till date kept under wraps, the Hon’ble CAT (Chennai Bench) has held that there is no superior-subordinate relationship between a Civil Director and a Lt Colonel and a Lt Col does not report to a Director but only to a Colonel / Principal Director. The Hon’ble Tribunal has also held that the question of a Director writing the CR of a Lt Col does not arise and mere designation of a Lt Col as a Joint Director does not help the claim of MES officers. A similar decision has also been rendered by the Hon’ble CAT at Jodhpur.

The Respondents (MoD and others) in their reply before the CAT at Chennai contended that an SE could not compare his status with officers of the Armed Forces whose terms and conditions of service and rank structure were different and that one to one equation with civilians was not possible on the basis of pay scales. It was also stated by the Respondents that according to Govt of India, an SE was equivalent to a Lt Col and that a Colonel was senior to a Director/SE and had a higher charter of duties and greater responsibilities. The Ministry of Defence and other respondents also submitted before the Hon’ble CAT that the appointment of Lt Colonels and of Directors was equivalent.

In yet another similar case, the Hon’ble CAT at Jodhpur was also approached by an SE praying that the Ministry of Defence may be directed that Colonels should be restrained from writing the ACRs of SEs. Here also the MoD and other respondents submitted before the Hon’ble CAT that the said case had been filed under the misconception that an SE was equivalent to a Colonel. The MoD further submitted that a Colonel had always been superior to an SE and that a Colonel had rightly been granted the duties of writing ACRs of SEs. The MoD and other respondents also stated that the basic pay of a Colonel (Rs 17100-19350) was higher than that of an SE (Rs 14300-18300) and that the rank pay was a part of basic pay as per SAIs issued by the MoD. The Hon’ble CAT at Jodhpur too dismissed the claim of the Applicant SE finding no substance in it.

The issue has thus been well settled judicially by the Hon’ble CAT and it has also attained finality since no appeal has been filed against the above mentioned decisions according to information available to this blogger.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

More on “Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) is equivalent to Major General” misnomer etc


(The below mentioned is the second part of the series. Readers are again requested to keep the discussion forum dignified and not to degenerate members of other services and cadres. Though I am totally for freedom of speech and expression, undignified and abusive comments and comments with personal remarks shall be deleted. Counter-logic and difference of opinion is more than welcome though.)

The issue of equivalence of status and pay has long been a controversial one. The contention of the 6th CPC that there is an established relativity between the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) and Maj Gen is flawed and perhaps emanates from an incorrect interpretation of the Warrant of Precedence which lists a Major General equivalent to a Joint Secretary to Govt of India. Firstly, Note 1 to the current WoP makes it amply clear that the order of precedence is meant for ceremonial purposes only. Secondly, it is not the SAG that has been equated with a Major General but the appointment of a Joint Secretary to Govt of India and that too only for ceremonial purposes. Merely because a Joint Secretary GoI happens to be an officer of the SAG would not automatically mean that all SAG officers become equivalent to Major Generals. In fact, SAG level officers also hold the appointment of ‘Director to Govt of India’ under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS) till they are empanelled by Govt of India as Joint Secretaries. While SAG is a grade, Joint Secretary to GoI is an appointment. SAG officers who are empanelled and holding the appointment of Joint Secretary to GoI under the Central Staffing Scheme can alone (if at all) be compared with Major Generals. Unfortunately, even the past pay commissions have been treating SAG officers at par with Major Generals for pay purposes. Traditionally however, certain SAG officers have even been equated with Colonels / Brigadiers of the Army, a very close example would be that of an MES Chief Engineer (SAG) who holds interchangeable charge with a Brigadier of the Corps of Engineers. While the Maj Gen-JS to GoI equivalence from the WoP has been taken as the basis of equation of pay, the same has not been done for Lt Generals. A Lt General who features on Article 24 of the current WoP has been granted a scale two steps lower than a DG of CPOs who is junior to Lt Gen and is placed on Article 25. Featuring on the WoP depends upon the appointment of a person and not his grade, to take an example, a Chief Secretary to State Govt within his state is featured on Article 23 (equivalent to Army Commander / Secy to Govt of India) but when the same officer is outside his State, his position drops to Article 25 (below even a Lt Gen). Coming back to the self-created interpretational equivalence articulated by the 6th CPC - a DIG has nothing in common with a Brigadier except the rank badges. 100% of directly recruited IPS officers attain the rank of DIG while less than 8% make it to Brigadier in the Army. An IPS officer reaches the rank of DIG in 14 years (Please refer to Rule 3 C (i) and Proviso of Rule 3 of IPS Pay Rules, 2007 published in Gazette of India on 21 Feb 2008) whereas it takes 28 years to become a Brig in the defence services. Till now the rank of a DIG was placed between a Lt Col and a full Colonel.

The nomenclature / designation confusion : It is sad but we have been made to believe the Maj Gen – JS GoI equivalence since long and timely action was not taken about it. The problem lies somewhere else. Earlier the Secretarial ranks were differently nomenclatured than today and the hierarchy was as follows : -

Rank 1 : Asst Secy Govt of India (Article 61 of Old WoP)

Rank 2 : Under Secy Govt of India (Article 57 of Old WoP)

Rank 3 : Addl Dy Secy to Govt of India (Article 45 of Old WoP)

Rank 4 : Dy Secy to Govt of India (Also on Article 45 of Old WoP)

Rank 5 : Joint Secy to Govt of India (Article 29 of Old WoP - was equated with a Maj Gen)

Rank 6 : Addl Secy to Govt of India (Article 27 of Old WoP)

Rank 7 : Secy to Govt of India (Article 26 of the old WoP. Whereas Lt Gen was on Article 24 while GOsC-in-C were on Article 16)

This with time was later changed to the following nomenclature :

Rank 1 : Under Secy to Govt of India

Rank 2 : Dy Secy to Govt of India

Rank 3 : Director

Rank 4 : Joint Secy to Govt of India (still cleverly equated with Maj Gen since in the old warrant such was the case)

Rank 5 : Addl Secy to Govt of India

Rank 6 : Secy to Govt of India

Rank 7 : Cabinet Secretary

Hence, while the Maj Gen – JS equation was cleverly maintained, it was not realized by the services or even by the govt that the erstwhile Secretarial Rank 5 of Jt Secy had now become Addl Secy to GoI. In fact going by the changed logic, today’s Joint Secretary should have been equated with a Lt Col (equivalent to Dy Secy to GoI / Rank 4 under the old nomenclature). We just stuck to designations and not to the actual hierarchy that was changed and re-named over the years. Moreover, if we keep aside the appointment equation which has always been confusing, the length of service equation as was maintained is clear as a crystal and this should have been used as a benchmark to determine scales and status even in the past :-

(a) Members of the ICS with 30 years of service were equated with Brigadiers commanding Infantry and Cavalry Brigades on Article 32 of the Old Warrant. Other Brigadiers featured on Article 35.

(b) Colonels of all Arms and Services and Lt Colonels of Indian Medical Service (now AMC) were on Article 38 and so were officers of the ICS with 23 years’ service and also Chief Engineers (now SAG). The rank of DIG was listed on Article 45 of the Old Warrant.

(c) Lt Colonels were listed on Article 47 of the Old Warrant alongwith ICS officers with 18 years of service.

(d) Majors were listed on Article 59 with ICS officers with 12 to 18 years’ service and IP (Indian Police – now known as IPS) officers with 15 to 20 years of service.

The status equation as on date leaves much to be desired though.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No differences between the Armed Forces and the Govt, may release addl Rs 6000 crores : Raksha Mantri


In a welcome statement, the Defence Minister has categorically clarified that there are no differences between the services and the Govt. This follows an earlier statement by the Army Chief to the same effect. Mr Antony has also added that the govt is ready to fortify the forces with Rs 6000 crores over and above of what the PayCom had recommended.

This should also now put all those rumours of fissures between the highest echelons to rest now that it has come from the horse’s mouth. This is also particularly reassuring since it shows that the Minister is ready to go along with the services on the genuine issues concerning the 6th CPC. The reports of differences between the Minster and the Naval Chief also seemed to be a bit strange and unbelievable since the Minister had never disagreed with the points raised by the services relating to the anomalies in the implementation of the pay commission.
Post facto note : The reference to the additional Rs 6000 crores in all probability deals with the additional funds required (over and above the PayCom report) after the Cabinet approval. It does not refer to the amount that may be required to tackle the anomalies. Sorry for the confusion !