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 Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained.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 30, 2009

LTC Journey on own car and hired taxi permitted in cases of disability / handicap

Thanks also to Mr BP Singh for sending this in.

The Govt of India has relaxed rules on the subject. While earlier, LTC journeys were only permitted on Govt run transport, central govt servants shall now be able to use their own car or a hired taxi in case of physical handicap or disability of self or any of the dependants.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pay in original Pay Band to be protected on voluntary shift to a lower post : Govt of India

This should come as a relief to officers who opt for moving to a lower post on their own volition.

Earlier, the pay of officers shifting to lower posts in terms of FR 15 (a) was restricted to the higher end of the scale of the new (lower) post even in cases where the said higher end happened to be lower than the pay drawn by such officers in their original scales. On promulgation of running pay bands with Grade Pay after the 6th CPC, there was utter chaos in the system especially for officers opting for lower posts which had a lower pay band, for example officers in PB-4 opting for lower posts in PB-3.

The govt has finally issued orders regulating the said problem. According to orders issued on 21 October 2009 (with effect from 01 January 2006), the original pay of such officers shall remain protected, however the Grade Pay admissible would be as per the new (lower) post.

The letter in question lays down the following :

“…the pay in the pay band of the Government servant will be fixed at a stage equal to the pay in the pay band drawn by him prior to his appointment against the lower post. However, he will be granted grade pay of lower post. Further, in all cases, he will continue to draw his increments based on his pay in the pay band +grade pay (lower).”

The complete letter can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

There may be similar situations in govt organisations where exact or ‘to the point’ rulings or decisions of the DoPT or the cadre controlling agency may not be available, for example shifting of senior officers on deputation followed by absorption in parallel organisations, fresh appointments made on the basis of earlier experience in higher posts etc. The spirit of the ibid DoPT guideline may be invoked to deal with such situations too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A fauji feather in the RTI Cap !!!

A few months ago, I had published this blogpost about a retired General of the Sappers.

I would have to do it again !!!

Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) is the organisation that has instituted the National RTI Awards. The Foundation was set up on 19 December 2006 by Magsaysay Award Arvind Kejirwal, Journalist Manish Sisodia and TV producer / writer Abhinandan Sekhri, in their own words to ‘ensure that our society becomes more inclusive and that real power rests with the common citizens of India’.

The organisation is definitely on its way to achieving its aim, and, in a bold endeavour, has published its scientifically and empirically collected first round of data in the form of a report which can be accessed by clicking here.

What should make us happy is the fact that Lt Gen P K Grover, State Information Commissioner, Punjab, has been listed as one of the best Information Commissioners in the country and the Punjab State Information Commission as one of the best Commissions.

Amongst others, the jury of the Awards shall include Justice J S Verma, Mr J M Lyngdoh, Mr Fali S Nariman, Mr Narayana Murthy and Mr Prannoy Roy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The mother of all compendiums !!!

Is it ‘compendiums’ or ‘compendia’ ? Experts on the Queen’s language may please enlighten ! Or perhaps I should just ask my wife :-)

Veterans keep writing in to know about various welfare schemes concerning them initiated by the Central Govt in general and Kendriya Sainik Board in particular.

The Kendriya Sainik Board has a well researched policy book on most of the schemes related to veterans and their families. The said compendium also contains broad guidelines issued to the State Governments from time to time on the subject of various issues concerning retired personnel and family members.

You may download the compendium by clicking here. I must caution you however that at almost 350 pages and 5 MB, it’s a pretty heavy file, hence patience would come handy !!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Admiral Mehta to be High Commissioner to New Zealand : Official announcement soon

If you remember what I said back in the day on this blog - the rift between our ex-Naval Chief and the Government was a creation of a (very small) section of the media and an imaginary yield of some very fertile minds. This and this would remind us of the time.

Now is the time to put all rumours to rest, because Admiral Sureesh Mehta is going to be the next HighCom to Kiwiland. An official announcement would most probably be made very soon.

OK now everybody, ‘Salute the Soldier’. :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Govt of India enhances pension of Pakistani Army pensioners receiving pension on behalf of Pak Govt and Burmese Army pensioners / family pensioners

Yes, people may not be aware of this but the Govt of India (on behalf of the Pak Govt) pays pension to displaced Pak Army pensioners who are Indian citizens and settled here. Our Govt also pays pension to Burmese military pensioners and family pensioners. This pension is technically known as ad-hoc ex-gratia allowance.

Consequent to the recommendations of the 6th CPC, the Govt of India has increased this allowance to Rs 3500/- per month to armed forces pensioners and family pensioners from Pakistan and Burma. Payment of Dearness Relief would be over and above this amount.

In another progressive move to help out Burmese pensioners, the Govt of India has tweaked its policy on the subject to remove some hardships. The Govt of India pays the difference between the minimum pension amount applicable in India and the amount paid by the Myanmar Govt. The payment of pension to Burmese pensioners by Govt of India is based on the pension rules in vogue in Burma which provide that family pension is only to be paid for a period of 10 years from the date of death of the employee / pensioner or till the date the deceased would have attained the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The Govt of India has now decided not to discontinue family pension as is provided under the Myanmarese rules and the extra burden would be absorbed by Govt of India.

Orders to the effect can be accessed by clicking here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


"There was never a good war or a bad peace." - Benjamin Franklin

Happy Diwali, but please remember those we lost....

(Thanks to www.2funks.com for the actual image from a war zone)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Repeated queries on Children Education Allowance (CEA) and clarification by the Govt thereon

There remain certain grey areas amongst the general populace regarding the applicability and modalities of Children Education Allowance.

Most of the common queries on the issue were answered way back in November 2008 by the DoPT through a formal office memorandum which can be accessed by clicking here.

Any other interpretation on Children Education Allowance has no sanctity in the eyes of the Government of India.

An interesting query on the subject was forwarded to me by a civil central govt officer – Whether CEA would be applicable to more than two children if twins are born after the first child ? The answer is Yes and even this query is replied to in the ibid Govt OM. And yes, officers on Study Leave are also entitled to claim CEA.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Telephone re-imbursement to Central Govt Officers : Clarifications

As most would be aware, officers with GP 7600 and above (Dy Secy to Govt of India level and higher) are entitled to telephone re-imbursement of residential phones vide directions of Ministry of Finance which are applicable to all central govt employees, ministries and departments. The said facility is also available in the Defence Services to officers above the rank of Lt Col (GP 8000) since there is no rank with a GP of 7600 in the defence services.

There has been utter confusion on the issue. Some compounded by the fact that lower level accountants in many ministries and departments are known to create needless impediments by squeezing out negative and absurd interpretation of govt orders on the subject. To clear such air, the Govt, in 2007, had issued a clarification on some very pertinent queries on the same, which alongwith the main letter, can be accessed and downloaded by clicking here.

Most important out of these clarifications would be the one at Serial No 9 which in effect says that such re-imbursement can be claimed for a private mobile phone in addition to the official tele connection and the one at Serial No 18 which authorises Mobile and Broad-Band alongwith the regular connection. Also, 25% of other Group A level officers, that is, Lieuts, Capts and Majors on the military side, are authorised Rs 800/- monthly disbursement to this effect. Now please do not ask me how this 25% is to be calculated, I have no clue !!!. If someone has an idea on this, please share it with all of us.

Entitled personnel should make optimum use of this facility provided by the Govt of India.

Do not send me individual mails on this. Please share your thoughts as comments on the blog post through which a discussion can be better initiated.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where rules provide for approval, voluntary retirement cannot be claimed as a matter of right : Supreme Court

This may come as gloomy news for those seeking ‘voluntary’ or ‘pre-mature’ retirement as a matter of right.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that where rules specifically provide for approval of request of voluntary retirement by a particular (competent) authority, then such retirement cannot be claimed as a matter of right. The Hon’ble Supreme Court rendered this decision while adjudicating a case involving an employee of Air India.

The ruling is in consonance with earlier law laid down by the higher judiciary on the subject. Even prior to the latest ruling, it had been consistently ruled by Hon’ble Courts that where rules provided discretion of the authorities in grant of voluntary retirement, it (retirement) could not be claimed as a matter of right. Of course, it has also been held time and again that such discretion cannot be exercised arbitrarily or discriminately by the concerned authorities and the ‘Right to Equality’ can also not be infringed in this regard.

More can be seen on the ruling by clicking here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Full Pay and Allowances for the entire period of hospitalisation : Orders issued by MoD

In another welcome move, the MoD has issued orders authorising full pay and allowances for the entire period of hospitalisation of defence officers.

Full pay shall also be granted to such officers while on sick leave (even if the period of leave is more than 6 months).

The orders have been retrospectively implemented with effect from September 2008.

The same may be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Disability Pension on Voluntary Retirement : Orders issued by MoD

I’m back.

As regular readers may be aware, there was a bar on grant of disability pension on voluntary retirement for personnel of the three services. The Hon’ble Courts had however time and again held that disability pension could not be denied to voluntary retirees. The services had also been taking up the issue but the rules were nonetheless not amended, till now that is.

Acting on the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission and in line with decisions of the Hon’ble Courts, the Ministry of Defence has notified disability pension for voluntary retirees. The caveat however is that the new stipulation has only been made applicable to personnel who retired after 01 Jan 2006, though the Hon’ble Courts have granted this relief to all affected personnel irrespective of the date of retirement.

The letter on the subject can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

I may not be able to reply to all emails received by me during the period of my absence, please bear with me. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Q & A (5)

(Note : Moderation of comments would be slow for a few days during the absence of Maj Navdeep Singh)

Readers may send in their Questions through email for a Q & A session with ‘Q&A’ as the subject. For rules, please read this post.

I served in the Army for 12 years and took premature retirement on compassionate grounds in 2004. Please inform me about the facilities available to me as an ex-serviceman. (V Rawat)

You are not entitled to the status of ex-serviceman as per Govt of India guidelines. Post-1987, broadly speaking, only those persons are termed ‘ex-servicemen’ who retire with a pension or are released on completion of terms of engagement. You may access the definition of ‘ex-serviceman’ as per year of retirement by clicking here.

I was awarded Vayu Sena Medal during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. I am in receipt of monetary benefit for the Gallantry award alongwith my monthly pension from the DPDO. I came to know that vide provisions of IT Act Sec 10 (18), Gallantry Awardees (including Vayu Sena Medal) are exempted from paying income tax on pension. I have been filing tax returns regularly. My query is that what is the procedure to inform the IT dept about the IT exemption for me. Other than just writing a letter to the ITO, is there any certificate to be produced to the ITO. If so, who is the authority empowered to issue such certificate. (Gp Capt Menon)

Your CA would be able to answer that better. However you need not attach any certificate alongwith your returns as far as I know and you can simply produce a copy of your citation in case demanded by the IT department at any time. You may just mention the relevant section of the IT Act under which the exemption is available to you.

Do I need to attach a fee of Rs 10/- while appealing to an Appellate authority in my district under the RTI Act ? (Col ABC)

No, there is no provision of any fee under the Act for filing appeals.

What is the rough military equivalent of a District Superintendent of Police or Senior Superintendent of Police ?

Generally, officers of the Senior Time Scale (GP 6600) or Junior Adm Grade (GP 7600) are placed as Police chiefs of districts. In case of the officer is of the STS, then post-6th CPC he or she is equivalent to a Major and if the officer if of the JAG then he or she is senior to a Maj but junior to a Lt Col.

The minimum pension / family pension used to be Rs 1275/- during the 5th CPC, has a new figure been notified ? If yes then what is the new figure ? My mother is still being paid a family pension of Rs 1275/- . (Ram Kumar)

The new minimum pension is Rs 3500/- per month plus the applicable DA. You may write to your mother’s Pension Disbursing Agency (PDA) for enhancement to 6th CPC rates.

(Posted by Navjosh Singh during the absence of Maj Navdeep Singh)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Toll exemption for gallantry awardees

(Note : Comment moderation would be slow for a few days during the absence of Maj Navdeep Singh)

As regular readers may be aware, toll exemption is only available to serving personnel and their private vehicles on all bridges and roads in India. This exemption is not available to retired personnel.

However the Govt of India, as a goodwill gesture, has granted toll exemption to all retired gallantry awardees. This is only restricted to National Highways over which the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways exercises jurisdiction.

Readers have written in to seek a copy of the notification which provides this exemption, the same can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

(Posted by Navjosh Singh during the absence of Maj Navdeep Singh)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Disparity in disability pension between Officer Cadets and Recruits

(Note : Comment moderation would be slow for a few days during the absence of Maj Navdeep Singh)

Our officer cadets who are boarded out with a disability attributable to, or aggravated by military service are getting a raw deal.

Such cadets in all military academies are entitled to only Rs 1275/- per month as a disability ex-gratia (likely to be notified @ Rs 3500/- per month soon). Moreover this amount is not categorised as ‘disability pension’ and such cadets are not entitled to the status of ‘ex-serviceman’, ECHS or any other military facility which is granted to retired or released officers.

On the other hand, a recruit who may get injured on the first day of training is entitled to proper ‘disability pension’ alongwith the status of ‘ex-serviceman’, ECHS and all facilities that are available to released Jawans.

A hypothetical comparison of an officer cadet and a recruit for 100 % disability is as follows :

Officer Cadet
Pay Scale : Regular scale of Rs 15600 Basic + Rs 5400 Grade Pay without MSP

Monthly Ex-Gratia on being boarded out with a disability attributable to or aggravagted by service : Rs 3500/- per month

Pay Scale : Regular Scale of Sepoy

Monthly Disability Pension : Rs 4600 Service Element + Rs 3100 Disability Element + Rs 3000 Constant Attendant Allowance

An anomaly which needs to be addressed at the earliest.

(Posted by Navjosh Singh during the absence of Maj Navdeep Singh)