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 Legal advice/litigation related issues would strictly NOT be published or discussed or entertained.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, December 31, 2009

A good effort by AFRO

In light of the implementation of the recommendations of the 6th CPC, the Air Force Records Office (AFRO) has brought out a nice booklet which provides a rudimentary bird’s eye view of benefits available to released / discharged / retired personnel.

Though the said guide should not be used as an authority for claiming pensionary or other benefits and is also not technically perfect at places, it definitely provides a good insight into various entitlements.

Besides pensionary and other retiral benefits after the 6th CPC, the said handbook contains information on ECHS, Placement nodes and other welfare related subjects. It also serves as a guide for filling up of pension related forms.

It makes a good reading for personnel of the Army and Navy too since most of the modalities cover all three services.

An e-version of the handbook can be accessed and downloaded by clicking here.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Delay in release of gratuity ?

Click here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Battle of Saragarhi

Readers may read about the Great Battle of Saragarhi here.

The Saragarhi War Memorial located at Ferozepur in Punjab is almost in a state of neglect and the precincts are also under occupation of a certain religious sect, members of which are not exactly carrying out activities which go with the sanctity of the memorial.

Interestingly, the website of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had listed the memorial as a protected monument, but when the said notification was sought from them, they replied that it was an incorrect entry on their site and the memorial was not actually a protected monument. Interesting !

Strange that we are allowing our Military History to wither away.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So what is ‘Annexure-IV’ ? (Attention : Pre 01-01-2006 Pensioners)

In a welcome move, a joint public notice by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Finance was published yesterday in many newspapers.

The said notice called upon banks to provide ‘Annexure-IV’ to pre-01-01-2006 pensioners so that the correctness of pension and arrears could be ascertained.

So what is ‘Annexure-IV’ ?

‘Annexure-IV’ is a form which was annexed with Govt of India letter dated 11 Nov 2008 dealing with the revision of pension of pre-2006 pensioners. This annexure was supposed to be filled up and returned by the Pension Disbursing Agencies (PDAs), that is, banks, DPDOs etc to the office of PCDA(P) with a copy to the pensioner concerned. The said Annexure contains all details as to how pension has been calculated and the arrears thereon.

The public notice was necessitated by the situation that banks have not calculated pension of pre-06 pensioners correctly in many cases and neither have they returned Annexure-IV duly filled to the pensioners or the office of PCDA(P).

All pensioners have a right to demand a copy of Annexure-IV from their PDAs. Please exercise it.

For those who are still hazy about the said Annexure may download it by clicking here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The elusive solution !!! Where is it ?

When I wrote about the new stipulation for promotion to SAG and HAG on the civil side, as recently conveyed to all Ministries by the DoPT, many had rued that all civil servants would now reach the grade pay of Maj Gen in 17 years of service. This is a misconception. The service postulated by the DoPT is the minimum required service for promotion to these grades and does not mean that officers would be automatically placed in the SAG on completing 17 years in their respective services. On a similar note, the defence services also have minimum prescribed limits for military ranks which are 15, 23, 25 and 28 years for Cols, Brigs, Maj Gens, Lt Gens / Army Cdrs respectively and 12, 20 and 25 years for Acting Brigs, Maj Gens and Lt Gens. But this of course does not translate into promotions on reaching such prescribed service limits. Have you heard of an officer becoming a Brig in 12 years ?. Same would remain the case with the civil services. Any blind emulation of the civil system of rank progression as it is cannot be implemented in the defence services. We cannot have all defence officers promoted as Maj Generals after 17 years of service, can we ? In my humble opinion, though many readers of this blog differ with me on this, the rank of Time Scale Col @ 18 years of service is also not a desirable option. One just cannot have all officers with 18 years behind them sporting red georgette (gorget) patches on their collars. This does not go with the command and control scheme of any defence service and neither has been implemented in any part of the world. Reducing the current time-frame of 26 years to about 21-23 years for officers who are not able to make it to the selection grade of Col may be a more practical solution.

However, again I would say that the best way out of this would be to de-link pay progression from military ranks. Readers may like to view this earlier post on the issue. And this one too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Parity between pre and post 2006 retirees : Story not over yet !!?!!

The government had officially closed the chapter for grant of any additional benefit to pre-2006 retirees or any improvement in the modified parity already implemented (2.26 of old basic pension OR 50% of minimum of new pay band + Grade Pay + MSP when applicable, whichever is higher). Similarly, the government had also officially closed the chapter for grant of full pension to retirees who had been released between 01-01-2006 and 02-09-2008 after putting in 20 years of service. As we know, the government has already relented on the latter aspect and even issued the letter granting the benefit. Now it seems that there is going to be a re-think on improving the modified parity granted to pre-2006 pensioners.

In a meeting between the National Anomalies Committee on the 6th CPC Chaired by the Secretary Personnel, Govt of India, and the Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers, the government has decided to consider the issue once again. It would be worthwhile to state that almost all pensionary modalities made applicable to civil employees are extended to defence personnel also.

More details on the meeting can be accessed by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Organised Group A Civil Services soon to have a uniform promotion policy for senior grades

The Sixth Pay Commission had recommended uniformity in promotion policies of various organised Group A Civil Services. The DoPT has issued instructions to all cadre controlling agencies yesterday to initiate amendment in service rules. Broadly, the following shall now be the eligibility criterion for promotion to senior executive appointments, that is, SAG (Pay Band-4, GP 10000) and HAG (67000-79000) :

For promotion to Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) : Minimum service requirement of 17 years

For promotion to Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) : Minimum service requirement of 25 years

The letter issued by DoPT yesterday can be downloaded and accessed by clicking here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Extension of free gift schemes to CSD consumers and a need to check default

Many a times, service-members and veterans end up buying consumer goods from the open market because of the reason that certain offers and free gift schemes are not made available to CSD customers. Some of our people also believe that such schemes are not ‘legally’ not meant to be extended to CSD consumers.

This is however an unfair trade practice by suppliers and dealers. If a gift scheme is offered by a supplier in the open market to all consumers and is not only a local arrangement by a particular dealer, it is bound to be extended to the CSD too. Entitled personnel should make it a point to survey the market first and demand gift schemes from the concerned dealers if the same are being extended to customers other than CSD consumers. In case of default, the same may be immediately reported to the following address :

Customer Service Cell
c/o DGM (MS)
Canteen Stores Department
‘Adelphi’, 119, M K Road
Mumbai – 400 020

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A. 33 years’ requirement for earning full pension waived for post-Jan 06 / pre-Sept 08 civil retirees too B. Retd Offrs reqd for Commonwealth Games

The requirement for 33 years of service for earning full pension has now been dispensed with for Post-Jan 06 and Pre-Sept 08 central govt civil pensioners too. Now all those who retired after 01-01-2006 with 20 years of service would be entitled to full pension. Also the govt has ordained that no recoveries would be made on account of the revised dispensation which may now result in a lower amount of gratuity than the one already paid (by including weightage which is not applicable now).

Secondly, the Commonwealth Games organising committee has shown interest in employing retired officers for the games. Retired Colonels would be appointed as Directors @ Rs 60,000 per month, Majors and Lt Cols can join as Project Officers @ Rs 45,000 per month and Capts can join as Asst Project Officers @ Rs 35,000 per month. The vacancies are limited and would be screened by a board. Those interested may contact Major Rao, the Chairman-cum-MD of Skylark Group, on his personal number 9811441189 or on 0124-4557000. Please do not mark your queries on this to me or to my personal email ID. Thanks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pension Blues

Despite the fact that the implementation of pensionary modalities after the 6th CPC started almost a year back, defence pensioners are still facing a lot of problems with their Pension Disbursing Agencies (PDAs). Most of these are regarding incorrect fixation of pension and non-receipt of arrears. I receive a lot many mails on the subject and most pensioners want to jump on to the stage of litigation straightaway. This is not the correct approach and litigation should always be the last and ultimate resort after all channels are exhausted.

Before deliberating any kind of litigation, pensioners / family pensioners / disability pensioners must always undertake the following :

A. Send a copy of the grievance to the Pension Disbursing Agency (Bank / DPDO etc) in writing through Registered Post.

B. Endorse a separate copy to the office of Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Draupadi Ghat, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Oral requests and mere visits would not be of any use unless the grievance is reduced in writing and communicated.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Q & A (7)

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.

Thanks for the good work being carried out by you through this blog. It has become a routine for us to visit your blog. I had a query regarding the need to travel by Air India for LTC. The recent post shows that the travel by Air India is compulsory if the money is being paid by government. Is it the same for LTC also ? (Lt Cdr Ranjan)


The delay and interpretation of CDA(O) for various claims leaves a lot to be desired. Most correspondence in this regard also goes unanswered. Even DO letters to concerned Accounts Officer and Principal CDA(O) are not replied to. What/Who should be the next step in grievance Redressal mechanism as regards CDA(O) ? (AC)

Simple. As discussed earlier in the Q&A section, use the RTI Act. Ask them about the action taken on your grievances through the RTI Act.

I wanted to know the disability (100%) pension and attendant allowance that my husband is entitled to after serving for 21 yrs and 9 months. He lost his eyesight in an accident on temporary duty. Please provide the rates before and after Jan 2006.Thanking in anticipation. (Aneeta)

As of now, the disability element rate for pre-06 retirees is Rs 5880/- per month for 100% disability + the applicable Dearness Relief. The rate applicable during the 5th CPC regime was Rs 2600/- per month. The rate of disability element is however likely to be revised soon. CAA is now admissible @ Rs 3000/- per month, earlier it was Rs 600/- per month.

Have the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries been implemented ? (Col Srinivas)

The recommendations have been accepted. As on date, implementation orders have been issued only regarding the two issues of grant of classification pay for pensionary purposes and removal of 33 years’ service requirement for earning a full pension for officers who retired between Jan 2006 and Sept 2008.

Is it true that while defence forces are under the purview of the RTI Act, the para-military forces have been excluded from the same ? (Mahavir Singh, DIG)

Surprisingly Yes. However the govt is actively considering bringing the para-military forces under the purview of the RTI Act it is learnt. Moreover, the MHA is very much under the purview of the Act and in case the information required has a link with the Home Ministry, the RTI application can be sent to the MHA instead of the concerned CPO.

Monday, December 7, 2009

MEA being unfair to non-IFS Group A as well as Commissioned Officers

Everybody’s a royalty within his or her own domain. The MEA hence has its turf in our missions abroad.

Officers of Central Group A Services and Commissioned Officers are not getting their due while being on the strength of foreign missions. And this applies to status, entitlements as well as allowances. As we know, after the 6th CPC, Grade Pay is the determinant of all entitlements and allowances under the Central Government in India, but the same analogy is not being followed by the MEA in foreign missions, which are in fact, in accordance with law, a part of Indian Territory.

Colonels and equivalent of the Army (PB-4/GP 8700) and at times officers of the Rank of Director to Govt of India (PB-4/GP 8700) are being equated with First Secretaries of the MEA staff (PB-3/GP 7600) for the purposes of protocol and also foreign allowances. The Counsellor of the Mission from the IFS (PB-4/ GP 8700) outranks all other officers of similar grade from other services and in fact is granted a higher protocol than even a Brigadier of the Army (PB-4/GP 8900). Brigadiers have been tagged with Counsellors for rates of entitlements. Officers of the grade of Director to Govt of India with 20 years of service when on deputation to missions are being designated ‘First Secretaries’, an appointment which is essentially held by officers of the IFS with 9 years of service. It is also learnt that officers of the rank of Lt Col (PB-4/GP 8000) are being equated with IFS officers who are two ranks junior, that is, Second Secretaries (PB-3/GP 6600), for the purposes of certain entitlements whereas as far as I know, even MoD letter No 4(1)/98/D(Pay/Services) dated 19 May 1999 states that it is Majors who shall be equated with Second Secretaries for such purposes. Incidentally the ibid MoD letter also clearly stipulates that ‘pay’ for defence officers shall include (the then applicable)‘rank pay’.

The correct equation in Missions after the 6th CPC definitely has to be the following as far as the Defence Services are concerned : Minister – Brigadier – Counsellor / Colonel – Lt Col – First Secretary – Second Secretary / Major.

Friday, December 4, 2009

This would not be music to Veerapa Moily’s ears

As discussed here earlier, the Law Minister aspires to make the Government a ‘responsible and reluctant’ litigant.

However this story here may not be music to his ears at all I bet.

The government machinery needs to be more sensitive to the needs of pensioners. The above report shows how some elements on the Legal Advisory side in the Ministry of Defence have been ignoring requests from the Army and also putting aside legal advice from the highest echelons of the Law Ministry resulting in wilful denial of benefits to poor disabled soldiers. This not only affects the morale of our veterans but also results in embarrassment to the Army in particular and the Ministry of Defence in general. Very sad indeed.

A related story appeared in the same columns earlier.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Audi Alteram Partem

“Top General indicted….”,

“The Court of Inquiry into the Darjeeling scam case has brought out….”

Thus screamed the ‘Indian Express’ last morning. The lead was followed by others too.

But the news-reports are so cleverly worded that there is no inkling whatsoever whether the CoI has actually concluded or not. Or whether there has been an indictment at all. If the Inquiry report has not yet been submitted, then how can the guilt be conjectured?

Nobody should be condemned unheard, but it seems Gupta Sahib has others plans. This is character assassination at its worst. Imaginary speculation again at work.