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 Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained.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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lieutenant Generals in HAG+, myth and reality

The placement of 33% Lt Generals in HAG+ has both upsides and downsides. However some of the anger against the move is misplaced. I would attempt to clear some misgivings :

Myth : Only 33% Lt Generals and equivalent would be promoted to HAG+

Reality : Wrong. It is not that only 33% Lt Generals would be able to attain HAG+. The fact is that at any given point of time, only 33% of total number of Lt Generals (excluding Army Commanders and equivalent) would be placed in HAG+. As the top Lt Generals retire, the ones junior down the chain shall get placed in HAG+ by seniority. Hence ultimately, in the present situation (wef 01 Jan 2006), most of the Lt Generals (approximately 90%) should retire from HAG+ and the percentage should further go up with time.

Myth : HAG+ is applicable only to Lt Generals of the Arms

Reality : There is going to be no discrimination between Arms and Services. All Lt Generals shall be placed in HAG+ by seniority.

Myth : The 6th CPC had lowered the status of Lt Generals and the placement of 33% Lt Generals in HAG+ is not a rectification of that anomaly

Reality : The 6th CPC had not tinkered with the status of Lt Generals. Even after the 5th CPC, Lt Generals were lower than DsGP in pay. The following was the pay equation of Three Star officers of the IPS and the Defence Services post-5th CPC which was continued by the 6th CPC :

Addl DGP = Lt Gen


Selected DGP CPOs = Lt Gen (Army Commanders)

After placement of 33% Lt Gens in HAG+, following is the situation now :

Addl DGP = Lt Gen

DGP = Lt Gen (top 33%)

Selected DGP CPOs / DGP (One Cadre post) = Lt Gen (Army Commanders and Corps Commanders who are not placed as Army Commanders due to lack of residual service)

While some officers have argued (and in a sense rightfully so !!) that the Military should have refused the 33% offer, my personal humble opinion is that had we not accepted the 33% figure, it would have resulted in all Lt Generals remaining below DsGP. It was nothing or something, and in such a situation, ‘something’ may have been thought of as a better choice by the services - while the scope of further improvement always remains valid. In the ultimate analysis, this should be better than shutting the door once and for all. By the way Lt Gens in HAG+ shall now be equated with Special Secys to Govt of India.

Myth : The Govt should have (and could have) granted HAG+ to all Lt Gens

Reality : The HAG+ is a promotional upgradation from HAG with a minimum amount of residency period required in HAG in consonance with the respective service rules. There is no service under the Govt where an officer can move up from SAG level directly into HAG+ and there is no service or cadre wherein 100% officers of the HAG are promoted to HAG+. The number of officers moving up from HAG to HAG+ in every service remains quite low. There is no practice anywhere in the govt of placing all officers of a cadre in HAG+.

The pitfalls :

(a) Pension for pre-2006 Lt Generals who retired from the erstwhile HAG remains a grey area but I’m sure Services Headquarters must be deliberating this issue with the govt. Ideally, the pension of retired Lt Gens should also be fixed at HAG+ level since from now onwards almost all are going to retire in that grade.

(b) The issue of some Corps Commanders being in HAG while DsGP of States being in HAG+ needs to be addressed from an operational point of view. However as far as the status equations are concerned, the Warrant of Precedence (amended till 2008) is very clear on this aspect. In the WoP, a Lt Gen features on Article 24 followed by DsG CPOs on Article 25 while State DsGP are not even listed on the WoP.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Revised table of comparative appointments

Now that some Lt Generals are in HAG+ (there would be a separate post on that soon), there is a need to revise the earlier table of appointments made available on this blog.

This table is a must for all officers of the defence services since it clearly elucidates the comparison of rank and appointments between the defence services and the following civil services after promulgation of new scales post-6th CPC :

Universal Civil Pay Grades

Indian Administrative Service in the States

Indian Administrative Service and other Organised Group A Civil Services at the centre under the Central Staffing Scheme

Indian Police Service

Indian Defence Accounts Service

Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax as well as Central Customs and Excise)

The comparative table of appointments can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

Please feel free to take a print out alongwith footnotes on legal size paper and pass it on generously. The table and its contents may please be kept at the back of the mind for a more rationalised and realistic interaction with civil officers whenever the need arises.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pay progression parity with the IAS ordered for ALL organised Group-A Civil Services

If you remember this earlier post on the blog, I had informed readers about the impending system of pay progression parity with the IAS conceptualised for all organised services which had basis in this paragraph of the 6th CPC :

“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.”

The 6th CPC had recommended parity between IAS and other services in the sense that it was recommended that whenever IAS officers got emapanelled at a particular grade in the Centre, their batchmates with a differentia of two years were also to be upgraded to the same grade on a non-functional basis.

The govt has finally published the orders for such upgradation for all organised Group-A services and the orders can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

Before we start feeling too bad about this, I must inform readers that this upgradation is purely on a non-functional basis and would hence have no repercussion on status. This would not be considered a promotion and status would continue to be determined by the actual functional grade pay. Moreover, officers who are posted on Secretarial appointments at the centre after empanelment under the Central Staffing Scheme would not get the benefit of this non-functional upgradation. However, all officers of the Organised Group-A services which had slow(er) promotions are now expected to surely attain PB-4 in 15-16 years of service and GP of Rs 10,000 in about 21-22 years of service.

Thank heavens for MSP otherwise whatever financial edge that we had achieved would have been nullified by this. It’s time for the defence services too to seek this parity.

Friday, April 24, 2009

UPDATED : Congrats to Lieutenant Generals, orders for upgradation of 33% Lt Generals to HAG+ issued

Rejoice if you have three stars on your car or collar or flag.

33% of Lieutenant Generals are now officially in Higher Administrative Plus (HAG+) Grade.

The exact modalities on the percentage of officers upgraded to HAG+ would be released soon. Officers are expected to be upgraded to the new grade by seniority irrespective of Arm / Service.

The countdown for improvement of pensionary benefits for PBOR is also on.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

High Court issues Notice-of-Motion to ECI for not carrying out house to house survey for service voter registration

While you would soon hear more news on PB-4 and rest of the pending issues, I thought I would update readers on a very important development.

As some of the readers may recall this earlier blog post, Election officials have not been carrying out house to house survey and enumeration in military and cantonment areas for registration of voters as is provided under the statute. In fact, the easiest way out to ensure participation of service voters is house to house enumeration and not filling up of Form-6 as is the practice - which basically is a residual provision if the name is not included through house to house survey or for any other reason.

The Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court today issued a Notice of Motion to the Election Commission and the Central Govt as to why house to house enumeration was not being carried out by election officials in Cantonments. While the case may not result in action as far as the current elections are concerned, it should definitely settle the law for all times to come.

The Petitioner in the Writ Petition is Brig H S Ghuman, Shaurya Chakra, a veteran of the Punjab Regiment.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Papa Bravo – FOUR has officially taken over (Amendment to SAI also downloadable)

“Have you had your plus sign today” : Prince (Positivity / 1988)

So how are my naysayer friends doing ?

Well, PB-4 orders have been issued.

Details :

Initial fixation – Rs 38530

Current Deputation status – All current deputationists to be fixed in PB-4

Status of Pensioners – Orders would be issued by Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare functioning under the Ministry of Defence

So Enjoy half Colonels.

Click here to view and download PB-4 orders and the amendment to the SAI, including new fixation tables for Lt Colonels and equivalent (and separate tables for officers of the AMC/ADC/RVC).

Monday, April 20, 2009

An IAF system worth emulating which can be put into motion for the Army and Navy too

The blog post “How can RTI Act be practically interlinked with welfare of defence personnel” generated some really interesting replies.

One of these really caught my eye :

“…In IAF we follow a different approach. When the letter is sent from the unit to the SP & DM, the same is also sent to the Air Force Provost Unit under whose jurisdiction the home address falls. The staff of Air Force Police makes a visit to the home address of the Air Warrior to know the actual facts and assist the family members to lodge the FIR and other formalities…”

The other two services can definitely emulate this. Whenever there is a police dispute-related problem at the home front of serving personnel, apart from letters to the local administration, some men from the nearest provost unit can visit the concerned thana or chowki in full military uniform and liaise with the police to get the issue sorted out at the earliest. Besides being a good morale booster, such a policy could definitely yield results since it would send the correct message to the local administration about our organisation intimately being involved and interested in looking after the welfare of our personnel. Also the stamp of the visit of ‘Military Police’ would give the necessary impact and force to the situation ultimately providing impetus towards resolution of the problem at hand. In case of non-resolution of the issue at the JCO/NCO level, an officer of the Provost unit can liaise with the SP / SSP of that particular district. Such a visit by CMP personnel would also help units analyse the gravity and legitimacy of the problems in question.

This is one thing which needs no change in policy. Provost units are inherently supposed to maintain close liaison with the Police and co-ordinate with the Police set-up as and when required. A simple letter from the Services Headquarters to set such an in-house policy in motion could work wonders for this very common predicament faced by our personnel who are posted far away from their places of residence.

It would be nice if readers could leave comments out of experience or otherwise on how to fine tune such a system to provide succour to our personnel facing such problems at home.

Also, whenever letters are endorsed to DCs and SPs about welfare of serving personnel, one copy should also be marked to the Zila Sainik Welfare Office / Zila Sainik Board. The District Sainik Welfare Officers have at their disposal the services of ‘welfare workers’ who are retired NCOs / JCOs of the services and whose duty is to co-ordinate with district authorities for the welfare of serving and retired personnel. In Punjab for instance, many-a-times the problems of defence personnel get sorted out by a proactive policy of making such ‘welfare workers’ visit and liaise with the local authorities for resolving issues concerning defence personnel.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shun this negativity

“Keep your mind in a vertical motion – always looking up " : Prince (Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful / 2009)

I do not want to sound judgemental, or critical and I most definitely do not intend to hurt anyone, but please allow me to say something - purely a personal opinion on the current state of affairs.

It cannot be denied that the status of defence services has suffered a set-back over the years and this blog has been in the fore-front for making out a case for pay parity between different services.

However there are quarters amongst the serving and retired community who are spreading disinformation and making it seem as if the entire political executive and bureaucracy is working day in and night out to degrade and demean the forces. This thought process is neither correct nor in the overall fitness of things. PB-4 was announced in the end of January and it is April now and there are indications that the file may have even already reached the MoD from MoF but it is not appropriate that most of us behave as if the govt has nothing else or better to do than to browbeat the forces. The chat box on this blog is indicative of this pessimism and negativity which has engulfed us. Some retired and serving personnel are even convinced that PB-4 has been rejected in totality. Rumour mongers are having their heyday basking in this new found glory and fauj bashers have been fed another round of fodder.

We talk of these two months taken for the corrigendum SAI to be notified due to the lethargy of a multiplicity of agencies but Sirs and Ma’ams, the same happens for civil servants too. Officers of the civil services including the IAS face the same wrath of the finance babus and it is nothing unique to discover that some of the proposals of civilians have been hanging fire for years together. While the Lt Col issue was partially redressed by the GoM, even graver anomalies of civilians have not even been touched since their anomaly committees are yet to get into action. So why this impatience ?

We talk of this intentional lethargy on the part of babus, but have we never experienced such sluggishness within our own (military) system ? Tell me, have you never heard of urgent proposals pending in Record Offices for umpteen number of months ? Have you never seen important proposals sent up through chains of command not being decided at all ? Have you never heard of Statutory Complaints taking four times the amount of time prescribed by law ? Have you never heard of appeals against rejection of disability and family pension claims pending with us for years together ? Let us not comment on the efficiency of other organs of bureaucracy when we suffer from the same malaise and that too more critically.

Negativity would take us nowhere. Yes, there are elements who do not want the military to get its due but such elements are not in a very great majority as is widely believed. The time taken for PB-4 to come through is no big deal in my humble opinion and is not military-specific since such delays, though undesirable, happen too commonly in many spheres of governance. Once the SAI is issued, I would urge retired Lt Cols to relax a bit and not go on a tirade against the establishment again since it would take additional time to issue instructions for pensioners because a separate department deals with the same. While publication of SAI would be done by the ‘establishment’ branch of the MoD, the department of ESM Welfare, which is a separate entity altogether, would issue the pension corrigenda after the issuance of instructions for serving officers.

Before criticising all and sundry including our very industrious officers at the Service Headquarters and Pay Cells, we should understand that it is not easy to run the house. Without fully knowing the facts, we sometimes let loose our horses and in the bargain antagonising even those in the civil set-up who are supporting us to the hilt. Notwithstanding the stand of the current govt on our proposals, I’m not sure how history will treat the decision of veterans to send out an advisory to the defence community to vote for a particular party. In a democracy, the adult franchise is to exercise the power of vote through a secret ballot and the maximum that should have been done was to educate our former servicemembers on the manifestos of various parities leaving the choice to individuals. But again this is purely my personal opinion.

My only appeal to readers is to relax and realise that this delay is nothing new in our red-tapist officialdom. We have to move on to make the system, both military and civil, realise the pitfalls of such lethargy on all important issues but we have to move step by step and pragmatically. Let us all make positive strides in moving the system together. Shrill chaotic rhetorical noises or one loud but logical sound, the choice is ours and history shows that the latter ultimately prevails.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Useful and must-have information for all defence personnel : Comparative tables of military and civil service appointments in States and the Centre

The status, appointment and pay comparison between various services such as the IAS, IPS, IRS, IDAS etc against the backdrop of the military is pretty confusing to most.

I have prepared a table / chart / ready-reckoner for the same which each and every officer of the defence services should have access to. This table has taken into account the scales laid down after the 6th Central Pay Commission. A separate table of status comparison in accordance with the Warrant of Precedence is also reproduced under the tabulation. Anyone who is unable to download the same may email me.

Please fee free to distribute amongst the military community.

A print-out of the above document (with footnotes) on legal size paper is highly recommended for all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Something which we should definitely debate : Disarming Charm by Karan Thapar

The following appears in the Hindustan Times, an advisory note by Karan Thapar. Before moving to Mr Thapar's write-up, I would like to say something. While I do not want to be judgemental or take sides, I think he is right to an extent, but we need to debate this. I sincerely believe that rather than seeking ‘special’ indulgence, we should on the contrary seek ‘equal treatment’. We should instead ask the political executive to be treated equally with All India Services as far as status, pay and career progression is concerned. Time is witness to this reality that rather than respect for an institution, too many concessions without a proper logical reasoning breed scorn and jealousy. Already, to deny the services their well deserved dues, nitpickers have been harping on the free rations and subsidised liquor without fully realising the concept behind these, and if we go ahead for full Income Tax exemption too, the effect on the public psyche, in my humble opinion, could in fact be counter-productive. IT exemption while posted in a properly defined criterion such as CI / CT Ops, wars and war like operations would be a much better idea than across the board exemption. But this is my personal opinion of course and readers may have a different take on this.

Disarming Charm

Karan Thapar

Shorn of its high-flown rhetoric and grand-sounding convictions, a manifesto is simply a set of promises a political party makes to the electorate, hoping to secure its vote. In that sense, it’s a political compact. Put a shade more crudely, it’s a deal or a bargain. Which is why most people accept that manifestos can get away with almost any promise and few people worry about their character, range or practicality. In fact, most doubt such promises will be implemented and, thus, tend to ignore manifestos altogether. And that includes politicians. Mayawati, for instance, doesn’t bother with a ‘manifesto’.

The BJP manifesto, however, has made a few commitments that deserve serious attention. At first sight they’re novel and enticing. They could make a substantial difference. But dig a little deeper and you might find they are also disturbing. They raise questions of principle that the party does not seem to have addressed.

I’m talking of the following promise: “all personnel of the Army, Air Force and Navy, as also paramilitary forces, will be exempt from paying income tax on their salaries and perquisites”. Alongside the badly-needed commitment to one-rank-one-pension, a separate Pay Commission for the services and incentive-based steps to make a career in the defence forces more exciting as a way of overcoming the officer shortfall — which I, for one, endorse and applaud — this will be widely welcomed by all serving soldiers and several retired ones. For many it could determine how they vote.

But is this particular promise justified? As far as I can tell no one seems to be asking that question. Let me raise a series of issues and then leave you to come to your own conclusion.

First, on what grounds should the defence and paramilitary services be treated as a unique category of the population to be exempted from income tax? If you argue that they perform a special function that calls for special tax treatment, what about doctors or nurses or teachers? If you anchor it to the fact that they risk their lives to protect ours, then the truth is that’s not the case right through their career. So, should tax only be exempt when they’re at war or fighting insurgency?

Second, in a poor democracy like India, where it’s said that 80 per cent of the people live on 20 rupees a day, it’s an article of faith that those who can afford to pay a fair tax have a moral duty to do so. You could argue that the famous slogan from the American War of Independence — ‘no taxation without representation’ — applies the other way around as well. Therefore, should any section of the people be deliberately excused from this moral duty?

Third, is it fitting that generals who earn Rs 60,000 a month or more, with access to DID rations and supplies at special prices, be exempt from tax whilst civilians who earn Rs 30,000 and have to buy food and supplies at market prices be required to pay tax?

Fourth, if soldiers and paramilitary personnel are exempt from tax then why not policemen? After all, they are the first line of security and the guardians of law and order for the ordinary citizen. Is it right to exclude them? Police officers are bound to say no.

However, my concern with the BJP’s promise to exempt all defence and paramilitary personnel from income tax goes beyond such issues of principle. I’m also worried about its consequences.

If implemented, might this not provoke a measure of resentment against its beneficiaries? So far — and with justification — our soldiers are held in enormous esteem by every Indian. Indeed, the Army is particularly beloved. But might that not be diluted by jealousy or resentment of unfair favours?

It’s not for me to advise the defence services, yet, if in their position, I would politely but firmly refuse this offer. Soldiers, I believe, should never accept discrimination — neither against themselves nor in their favour. As true Indians, they stand with the rest of us in support of justice and fair play.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

'Our' blog completes one year today

It’s been a year since this blog came into existence. I’m sure readers would have enriched their knowledge by interacting with each other.

A friend who is a regular visitor wanted to know which posts have had the maximum hits, which generated the most comments and so on. I found the data interesting and do not mind sharing it with you. So here are some vital statistics :

Total Blog Posts


Maximum number of hits in one single day


First Post

6th CPC further cements the legacy of degradation of military ranks

Posts with the maximum comments

The make believe world of inferiority : Courtesy the 6th CPC
More on the "SAG is equivalent to Maj Gen" misnomer

Rejoinders and discussion thereon

Oh What have you done Mr Dutta ! (Saikat Dutta of the Outlook)
Abhinav replies and amplifies (Abhinav Kumar, IPS)

Most viewed ‘guest post’

God Save us from ourselves (BeeCee)

Most circulated blog post

Let’s stop cribbing and concentrate on ‘homework’ : A wake up call

Thanks for all the support.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

PB-4 Attitude reflector : MoF now opposes move to raise retirement age of Hon’ble SC Judges

Relax, there is no conspiracy theory at play for denial of grant of PB-4 to Lt Cols, it’s just the attitude of our large, heavy, rusted, unwieldy wheels of officialdom. But this time the red-tapist baboos may be playing with fire. Indian Express (Yes, fauj’s favourite daily) reports that Finance Ministry has now opposed the move to raise the retirement age of Judges of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The funny part is that this proposal was mooted by the all-powerful Union Law Ministry and the ‘rejection’ by the FinMin is not even supported by any recorded reasons. A close parallel can be drawn with the PB-4 issue which after due approval of the PM, GoM and the MoD is hanging fire with the finance babus presumably due to some vague voice from the MHA that PB-4 for deputationists in the NSG may create problems wherein officers on similar appointments from the CPOs would continue to be in PB-3 whereas Army officers would be in PB-4. The point to be noted here is that there are many appointments even on the civil side which are tenable by officers of varying grades. For example, the police chief of a district can be of the Senior Time Scale (STS) as well as the Junior Administrative Grade (JAG). Moreover even within the NSG, Army officers have to serve in SAG, while officers of the CPOs are with the SRG and there is no lateral movement therein. As it is, it is for the MoD to decide and the MHA to sort out such concerns and the MoF does not have an iota of jurisdiction to comment on such issues.

The problem is not with the structure per se but with the attitude of the people comprising this structure. The tentacles of red-tapism and non-application of mind have engulfed all pillars of our democracy and its sub-systems. Nuisance value today is directly proportionate to power and only those occupations are perceived important which have the ability of creating the maximum impediments in public life and in day to day activities of citizens. PB-4 will come soon but not before reminding us how elements within governance can embarrass even the highest echelons of authority with their irritant (little) worth. Sad, but true.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How can RTI Act be practically interlinked with welfare of defence personnel

“Welfare : Serving Solider”, how often do we send across letters with such subject lines to the civil administration and how often is action actually taken on such requests from military authorities, let’s not rack our brains since the number of the latter is bound to be dismally low.

Despite constant reminders by our Defence Ministers to States from time to time on similar subjects, no action on ground seems to have actualised. While some States have been proactive in this regard, most have slept over such correspondence leaving in the lurch our serving personnel who are mostly placed far away from their homes.

I however feel that a two pronged approach wherein the unit writes to the civil administration and the person concerned follows it up on a personal level through RTI, can work wonders. The RTI Act, if used properly, is a great tool in the hands of the common man and can go a long way in bringing succour to regularly faced impediments by our soldiers, sailors and air-warriors.

Let’s take the example of a soldier who is posted in J&K and there has been a theft at his house in his village but the Police is neither registering an FIR nor taking action against the culprits. The first step would be for his unit to write to the DC/DM/Collector, the District SP and the concerned SHO requesting them to take action in this regard alongwith an enclosed application of the affected person. If no action is taken, after waiting for a reasonable period of time, say about two weeks, the individual concerned can send an RTI Application, something to the following effect :

To :
The Public Information Officer
Office of the Superintendent of Police
ABC XYZ District, Uttar Pradesh

No 123456789 Havaldar DEF GHI
Son of JKL MNO
Village and Post Office : QRS TUV
Tehsil and District : ABC XYZ, Uttar Pradesh

Subject : Requirement of Information under the RTI Act, 2005


I am a serving soldier of the Indian Army and am currently posted to an operational area. On the night of 01 April 2009, some unruly elements in my neighbourhood committed theft in my house and stole Rs 35000 in cash which belonged to me and also my wife’s jewellery. Despite my letter to the SHO and my father’s repeated visits to the Police Station, no FIR has been registered and neither has any police personnel visited my house to investigate the matter. The same was reported through my application and my Unit’s Letter No 123456/XYZ dated 05 April 2009 to your office but despite that no action has been taken on ground. With this background, please provide me with the following information under the RTI Act :

(a) What action was taken by you on Letter No 123456/XYZ dated 05 April 2009 sent by my unit addressed to you ?

(b) Please provide me a copy of any instructions that you may have issued to the concerned SHO on receipt of the ibid letter by you ?

(c) Please inform me what action was taken by the SHO upon providing him the information of a theft at my house ?

(d) Please inform me the names of the Police Personnel who visited my house for investigation when the information was provided to them. Please also provide me a copy of the FIR registered on our information to the said SHO.

The RTI fee of Rs 10/- is enclosed vide an Indian Postal Order. You are requested to forward the information to my residential address provided above.

Thanking You


Undertake the above exercise and see how it moves the authorities into action. The empowerment of citizens of India through various laws should ideally percolate down to every man and woman on the street. Defence personnel should make full use of the Act and it is in every sphere of administration that this very important tool can be used. For example, an officer is being made to wait for an unreasonably long period of time for issuance of an arms license, he should straightaway send an RTI request seeking information as to why so much time is being taken ?, where is the file as of now ?, who all have dealt with the file since the time it was submitted ? etc.

Let’s make optimum use of the rights and privileges provided to us under law.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tenant Eviction / Rent Control Acts with special reference to properties of serving personnel and those on verge of retirement

One of the major irritants experienced by our serving and retiring personnel is the problem of unscrupulous tenants who refuse to vacate properties when these are most required.

To counter this problem for defence personnel, most of the States have enacted provisions in their rent control Acts which provide speedy and summary procedures for eviction of such tenants. If you know anyone who is facing such problem, please advise him or her to make a trip to the local (lower) Courts and peruse such provisions in the applicable State Act. Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent) Control Act was the path-breaker in this regard since this particular Act provides for disposal of eviction requests / applications by serving or retiring personnel within a period of one month from the date of application with the Rent Control Court. In fact, Mr P V Narsimha Rao, when he was holding charge of the Defence Ministry, had written a detailed letter to all States to emulate the Kerala Act and most of the States had responded positively. The matter was re-iterated to the states in 1986 by the Defence Ministry and even infirmities in the Acts of certain States were pointed out.

The law provides us with many such enabling provisions but we must spread awareness about these especially amongst our serving personnel. A trip to the local Sainik welfare office / board is also highly recommended for personnel who are on the verge of retirement. Otherwise, if you ask me, when the property is in an urban area, it is safer to lease it out to a company or an organisation and not to an individual unless you are very sure.

Friday, April 3, 2009

An even simpler way-out :

Regular visitors on this blog should be familiar with BeeCee, a senior retired naval officer who has earlier contributed through his guest posts and comments, most popular being :

6th CPC : Less than honest brokers


Not so pragmatic : God save us from ourselves

Now with reference to the earlier post on the blog, BeeCee has a simpler solution in mind. He has suggested that instead of delinking rank progression from grade pay progression, we can simply configure our military ranks with civil grades and the length of service required to achieve them. For example, instead of promoting officers to the ranks of Capt and Major at 2 and 6 years of service, we can simply promote them at 4 and 9 years as is done in the civil services for Senior Time Scale (STS) and Junior Administrative Grade (JAG). Lt Col and NFSG are already on a similar footing @ 13 years. Hence while civil servants shall be promoted to STS, JAG and NFSG in 4, 9 and 13 years, military officers could also be promoted to the same grades in 4 (Capt), 9 (Maj) and 13 (Lt Col) years with exactly the same pay and status parity. Though this would involve rolling back of some of the benefits of the AV committee report, it would ultimately be in the fitness of things. Moreover, wherever we feel the requirement of an early promotion, we always have the ‘acting rank’ route to ameliorate any such problem. All promotions in the future can aptly be linked to any cadre upgradation on the civil side.

Maybe we need to put up all these suggestions to the High Power Committee as and when it is set up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The only practical way-out for parity in pay and career progression :

There is lack of a meeting point between the civil and the defence services as far as pay (and career) progression is concerned. A practical aspect of the problem also emanates from the steep pyramid-like structure of the forces which cannot be exactly configured with the civil set-up or so they think. Another feature of the problem is the now (though wrongly) ensconced Joint Secretary to Govt of India = Major General equivalence at the executive level in the Ministry of Defence. Also with AV committee report implementation, the time frame required for promotions in the defence services have undergone a humongous change in the backdrop of civil promotions. For example, the Senior Time Scale (STS, PB-3 / GP 6600) equivalence with a Captain is no longer acceptable to the civilian set up because while a Capt is promoted to the rank in 2 years of service, an STS officer reaches that grade in four years.

So what is the way out ? The way out is that pay and career progression should be de-linked from military rank progression as far as comparison with the civil services is concerned. Military rank may continue to act as an internal functional / command and control mechanism but without any relevance to comparison with the civil services. For example, Capt with two years of service as Capt (total 4 years commissioned service) can be elevated to STS (GP 6600) just as in the civil services. A Major with three years of service as Major (total 9 years commissioned service) can be elevated to JAG (GP 7600) as is the case with civilian counterparts, Lt Col with one year of service as Lt Col (total 14 years of commissioned service) is upgraded to GP 8900 and Lt Col / Col with total 18 years of service is promoted to SAG (GP 10000). Colonels, Brigs and Maj Gens can stay in GP 10000 while for executive purposes, only a Maj Gen can be granted the functional signatory powers of a Joint Secretary to Govt of India to maintain status quo that is the root cause of the lack of a meeting point.

Promotions to higher levels, i.e, HAG+ (Lt Gen) and Apex Grade (Lt Gen – Army Commanders' / VCOAS grade) can continue as hitherto before. This would be in line with the time based promotions in the civil services and also as implemented for all Govt Doctors under the Central Govt under the Dynamic Assured Career Progression Scheme (DACP).

Please also peruse this tabular representation of the above proposal for a better picture.

Side by side, we also need to highlight the fact again that the time being spent in training in military establishments is not counted towards service as in the case of others. We need to again impress on the establishment to count our training period (after award of a degree of graduation) as service for all intents and purposes.

Before naysayers reduce the above to dust, I would like to point out that such time based progression is not new to the forces. In the Navy, Captains with 3 years of service are upgraded to a higher Grade Pay. If it has worked for the Navy since times immemorial, it can damn well work for the sister services. The military ranks have always acted as an internal functional requirement and shall remain so. The above proposal would also eliminate voices seeking ‘removal’ of one rank from the military hierarchy since this would result in progression almost at par with the civil services without tinkering our time tested rank structure.

More than anything else, we need to change our mind-set and find ways to reach a mutually acceptable consensus on this very important issue.