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Friday, November 25, 2011

Pension enhancement of widows likely. On Sonia’s intervention ?

People following the subject would be aware that while the service pensions of ranks from Sepoy till Subedar Major were enhanced by the Govt, no such orders were passed for family pensioners. The corresponding enhancement was not effectuated since the top brass at the MoD was briefed by the Pension wing of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare that the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) which had examined pensionary anomalies, had made no recommendation on the subject of family pension. Ms Neelam Nath, the then Secretary ESW, was also convinced of the logic which actually emanated from Section Officer / Under Secretary level.

Prior to 01-01-2006 (6th CPC), pension in respect of ranks from Sepoy to Sub Maj was calculated based on the top-end (maximum) of the scales rather than the bottom as was applicable to Commissioned Officers and civilian retirees. After the 6th CPC, the service pension calculation formula for all ranks and services was changed to 50% of minimum of pay band + Grade Pay (GP) + Military Service Pay (MSP) + X Group Pay (where applicable) while the formula for family pension was 30% of the same above mentioned components.

The CoS examined the issue and came to the conclusion that the edge enjoyed by personnel other than Commissioned Officers needed to be restored and maintained. While it was not possible to grant pension by taking the maximum of 6th CPC figures since Pay Scales had been abolished and replaced by Pay bands and since the maximum was common for many ranks bunched together, it was decided that the pension of such personnel would be calculated by taking the 50% of notional maximum of 5th CPC scales within the 6th CPC pay bands + GP + MSP + X Group Pay (if applicable). The notional 6th CPC maximum of 5th CPC scales was calculated by using the universal formula of ‘Old 5th CPC maximum X 1.86’, the resultant figure was the fitment within the new 6th CPC scales. Though this definitely resulted in an enhancement of pensions of retired defence personnel themselves, but did not translate into higher family pensions. This new enhancement for service pensions was made applicable from 01-07-2009.

Hence in the net result, with effect from 01-07-2009, while the service pension was being calculated based on the notional maximum of 5th CPC scales within the 6th CPC pay bands, the family pension continued to be calculated on the basis of minimum of the 6th CPC pay bands. As mentioned above, whenever the said anomaly was projected to the MoD, the standard reply was that no such enhancement was recommended by the CoS while the truth was that no such proposal was even examined by the CoS, but naturally it was a logical outflow from the enhancement of service pensions and hence needed to be examined in that light. Since service pension is basically fixed at 50% of the pay and family pension at 30%, logic necessitated that after the enhancement of the fitment, the notional pay for both kinds of pensions had to be the same since both were conceptually similar except the percentage.

It is however learnt that in view of the fact that the Raksha Mantri was personally briefed about the entire issue and even Ms Sonia Gandhi was sounded on the subject, the Ministry is now open to enhancement of family pensions also on the same lines of ‘notional maximum’ as implemented for service pensions. Much credit goes to the IESM for continually keeping this very important subject in limelight. The Chairperson of IESM has been informed about the changes on the anvil personally by the Raksha Mantri. Though time would tell how things shape up finally, but this in-principle acceptance of the rectification of this very grave anomaly is a worthy substantial step in the right direction.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Press Release by MoD on Permanent Commission to women

Official Press Release by the Ministry of Defence through the Press Information Bureau :

Permanent Commission to Women Officers

Armed Forces were requested to prepare a comprehensive coherent policy paper on induction of Women, which has been submitted to the Ministry in August 2011. The policy paper has been considered by the Ministry keeping in view the role and responsibility of the Armed Forces in defending the nation and protecting the territorial integrity of the-country. Based thereon, a Government letter has been issued on 11th November, 2011 inter-alia laying down policy on induction and employment of women in Armed Forces as under:

(i) Women Officers may continue to be inducted as Short Service Commission Officers' (SSCOs) in Branches/Cadres where they are being inducted presently in the three Service's;

(ii) Women SSCOs will be eligible for consideration for grant of permanent commission along with Men SSCOs in specific Branches in the three Services viz. Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps (AEC) of Army and their corresponding branches in Navy and Air Force; Naval constructor in Navy and Accounts branch in Air Force, as specified in Ministry's letter No:12(i)/2004-D(AG)Pt.Il, dated 26th Septembet,2008;'

(iii) In addition to the above, in the Air Force, women SSCOs will be eligible alongwith men SSCOs, for consideration for grant of permanent commission in Technical, Administration, Logistics and Meteorology Branches.

The grant of permanent commission will be subject to willingness of the candidate and service specific requirements, availability of vacancies, suitability, merit of the candidate as decided by each Service.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in written reply to Shri Balwinder Singh Bhunder in Rajya Sabha today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 10 Military Academies according to Onlinecollege.org

Carol Brown, a freelancer who regularly contributes to www.onlinecollege.org has sent in a link related to an article on the ‘10 Most Prestigious Military in the World’ which can be accessed by clicking here.

Here is a brief of the list :-

1. United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, USA

2. United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, USA

3. Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, Sleaford, UK

4. Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK

5. The Special Military School of Saint-Cyr, Coetquidan, France

6. The PLA National Defence University, Beijing, China

7. General Staff College, Moscow, Russia

8. National Defence Academy of Japan, Yokosuka, Japan

9. South African Military Academy, Thaba Tswana, South Africa

10. Hellenic Military Academy, Vari, Greece

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rank Pay Case

Many people keep inquiring about the status of the Rank Pay case which is now fixed for 22 Nov 2011 before the Supreme Court. Since the case is pending adjudication before the highest Court of the land, it is not proper to go into the merits of the stand taken by both parties before it.

However, I cannot help but make the following observations on the affidavit filed by the UOI while seeking a review of the judgement (Sorry, this may be a bit technical) :-

While the Hon’ble Court had only sought information regarding point to point pay fixation with reference to a specific rank during the 4th CPC, the UOI has gone out to project charts related to 4th, 5th and 6th CPCs showing comparison of the pay being received by Army officers vis-à-vis civilians.

On Page 10 of the affidavit, a Captain during the III CPC has been truly and correctly shown equivalent to the closest corresponding scale of Senior Time Scale, both of which start with the amount of Rs 1100. However on Page 18 relating to the V CPC, a Captain’s scale (starting Rs 10000) has been shown as corresponding to Junior Time Scale (starting Rs 8000) by the UOI which in fact is lower than even the starting of a Lieutenant (starting Rs 8250). Hence, in order to show a skewed pay comparison, it seems that it has been attempted to project that a Captain is getting much higher pay than the closest corresponding civilian scale. In short, while on Page 10 a Capt has been shown corresponding to STS, on Page 18, the same Capt is shown corresponding to JTS. Even the nomenclature of the scales such as JTS, STS, JAG, SG etc has not been mentioned perhaps to confuse the entire issue.

On Page 11, the III CPC corresponding scale of a Major (starting Rs 1450) has been shown as the Junior Administrative Grade (starting Rs 1500) but on the next page, that is Page 12, even a Lt Col has been shown corresponding to the same civil Junior Administrative Grade (starting Rs 1500). How can two military scales be shown equal to the same Junior Administrative Grade ? Even a Lt Col’s scale has been mentioned wrongly on Page 12 (Rs 1550 – 1950) whereas it actually was Rs 1750 – 1950. In fact, the closest scale to a Lt Col was the civil Selection Grade scale (Rs 1800 – 2000) which has not been reflected at all by the UOI. If at all a comparison was to be made, it could have been made between the Lt Col’s Selection Grade military scale with a start of Rs 1750 and the civil Selection Grade scale with a start of Rs 1800. The UOI has tried to compare the pay-scale of a Brig starting from Rs 2200 with a civil scale starting from Rs 2000 rather than comparing a Col (Rs 1950) with the closest civil scale starting with Rs 2000 and Brig with the closest scale starting with Rs 2250. Instead again a higher military scale has been shown alongwith a lower civil scale in an attempt to show that military officers were getting a higher fitment than civilians.

On Page 20, in the illustration of pay fixation, a Major’s salary (starting Rs 12800) has been compared with a civil scale starting from Rs 10000 (Senior Time Scale / Scale No S-19) whereas the actual closest corresponding civil scale was Junior Administrative Grade (IAS) Scale / S-22 with a start from Rs 12750. Hence rather than comparing the fixation of pay between the military scale starting with Rs 12800 with the closest civil scale starting with Rs 12750, the UOI has attempted to compare it with a much lower civil scale starting with Rs 10000 whose closest equal is a Captain who also has a start of Rs 10000. Again the UOI has attempted to misleading show that military officers are getting a much higher pay than civilians.

Again on Page 22, the UOI has tried to misleadingly compare the scale of a Lt Col (start of Rs 15100) with a civil scale with a start of Rs 12000 (Junior Administrative Grade / S-21) whereas the closest possible corresponding scale was that of Selection Grade / S-25 also having a start of Rs 15100. Shockingly, the UOI has attempted to compare the start of Lt Col’s scale (Rs 15100) with a civil scale with a start of Rs 12000 which is even lower than the start of a Major’s scale (Rs 12800).

On page 26, it can be clearly seen that officers from Lieut till Major are in Pay Band -3 (Rs 15600 – 39100) while officers from Lt Col to Maj Gen are in Pay Band – 4 (Rs 37400 – 67000). Similarly on the civil side, it can be seen that officers from S-24 scale (Selection Grade) onwards, that is, pre-revised civil scale with start of Rs 14300 onwards, are in Pay Band -4. However again shockingly, the UOI has tried to show a Lt Col’s scale (pre-revised start of Rs 15100) of Pay Band - 4 as corresponding to the civil scale (with pre-revised start of Rs 12000) of Pay Band – 3 in order to again portray that military officers are getting higher fitments than civil officers. It is actually the civil scale with start of Rs 15100 which is now in Pay Band – 4 which could have been compared with Lt Col’s scale with exactly similar start of Rs 15100 which is also in Pay Band – 4. If we compare these two scales, it can be seen that while the point to point fixation of a Lt Col with a start of Rs 15100 has been Rs 38530 in Pay Band – 4, the exactly similar corresponding civil officer with a start of Rs 15100 has been granted a fixation of Rs 39690.

On Page 29, again the pay of a Captain in Pay Band-3 but with Grade Pay of Rs 6100 has been shown corresponding to a Junior Time Scale officer in Pay Band-3 with Grade Pay of Rs 5400 in order to prove that a Captain is getting a higher pay. However this is also totally incorrect since it can be seen that a Junior Time Scale officer with Grade Pay of Rs 5400 can only be compared with a Lieut of the Army who is also in Pay Band – 3 and who also gets a Grade Pay of Rs 5400 as becomes clear from Page 26 of the affidavit filed by UOI. Hence a civil officer with a Grade Pay of Rs 5400 who is exactly equal to a Lieutenant, is being shown corresponding to the scale of a Captain just in order to wrongly prove that the Captain is getting higher pay. Needless to say, if a lower civil scale is shown in comparison to a higher military scale, the total amount reflected in the civil scale would be lower than that of the military scale.

The following was the proper comparative situation of Army officers vis-à-vis civilians prior to 4th CPC when rank pay was introduced. :-


Junior Time Scale (JTS)

700 – 1300


750 – 870

Senior Time Scale (STS)

1100 – 1600


1100 – 1550

Junior Administrative Grade (JAG)

1500 – 2000


1550 – 1800

Selection Grade

1650 – 1800 and

1800 – 2000

Lieut Colonel (Selection Grade)


DIG Scale

2000 – 2250


1950 – 2175

Addl IG Scale (later merged with IG/SAG)

2250 – 2500


2200 – 2400

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why can’t we ?

In my humble opinion, extending Short Service Commission from the earlier applicable initial terms of 5 years to the now applicable 10 years (extendable to 14) was a blunder and has had just the opposite result of what it was meant for, that is, attracting better talent.

There are many reasons why I say so :-

A. There is no seniority protection in the civil services for former SS officers anymore, which means that an ex-SSCO starts his/her civil career alongwith civil direct recruits 10 years younger to him/her and atleast two ranks junior to his/her former status in the Army.

B. If joining the corporate world, the ex-SS officer again starts at a point of the ladder where he/she competes with youngsters who already have had a head-start which the former SS officer missed out due to his/her joining the Army.

C. Ex-Servicemen benefits are entitled only on completion of terms of engagement which means that the said benefits which were earlier available after 5 years, are now available after serving for 10.

D. 10% of appointments at Assistant Commandant (Lieutenant equivalent) level in the CAPFs are reserved for SSCOs. There is no protection of seniority. Hence, ex-SSCOs of Major and Lt Col level are expected to join at Lieut level (GP 5400) in the CAPFs which makes the entire reservation redundant.

E. After completing 10 years of service, an SSCO is in his/her 30s and to expect him/her to then look around for a fruitful career, in my opinion, is otiose.

So what can be the solution ?

Well, the Govt has been outright discriminatory with SSCOs in this regard and it seems that even the Services HQ have not been able to see through this or else they would never have allowed the initial terms to be extended from 5 to 10 years.

Why discriminatory you may ask ?.

Because, on the civil side, in accordance with Rule 49 (2) (b) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, civil employees become eligible to earn pension after serving the govt for 10 years, whereas our SSCOs are released without a pension and are only granted a gratuity even after serving 14 years. After the 6th CPC, civil employees are now entitled to full pension after serving 10 years under the ibid rule (it was 33 years for full pension prior to 6th CPC). Of course the civil 10 year rule only applies to those who are released or retired after completing 10 years and not to voluntary retirees.

If the govt is so concerned about making SSC attractive, then why not have similar provisions for our SSCOs. This would not be a favour but only placing them at par with civil employees. Why place them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis civilians? Not only would this provide them with financial protection, but would also encourage them to become self-employed, self-sufficient and to clamour for better placements in the civil sector rather than opting for junior appointments on the govt side only of the purpose of financial protection or pension. But I’m sure the thought process of some of us would be – If we grant pension to SS officers, then why would they opt for Permanent Commission? Well, losing a dollar while looking for a dime.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sounding Board : Servicemembers’ Grievance Redressal Bill and Citizens’ Right to Grievance Redressal Bill

About four years back, I was asked to present a draft on a proposal for a “Servicemembers’ Redressal of Grievances Act”. The outline, alongwith a presentation was also placed on this blog in May 2008.

As expected, it never saw the light of the day and still remains glued to some office table somewhere in our Capital.

However, it is interesting to observe that the Govt has come out with a draft on a “Citizens’ Right to Grievance Redress Act” which reflects an uncanny sounding board to the above idea which was restricted to personnel serving under military law.

The draft of the Servicemembers’ Redressal of Grievances Bill may be compared with the Govt’s Citizens’ Right to Grievance Redress Bill.

The complete post on the issue on this blog posted in May 2008 can be accessed by clicking here. The webpage initiated by the Govt on the proposed Bill can be accessed by clicking here. In fact, the Govt has invited suggestions on the subject which can be forwarded by 23 Nov 2011. Readers are requested to minutely go through the Govt draft and forward points for the consideration of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.

By the way, this blog has crossed the 4 million hit mark.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Congratulations to pre-2006 civil pensioners on Full Bench Judgement of CAT in their favour

The Full Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has finally allowed the petition by pre-2006 pensioners seeking modified parity with post-2006 retirees. The CAT has inter alia held that the term ‘minimum of pay in the pay band’ would mean minimum of pay within the pay band corresponding to the scale held at the time of retirement and not minimum of the pay band itself as interpreted and implemented by the government through a clarification.

However, it is the following extract which specially merits mention on this blog being a subject much discussed by us here :-

“On the basis of the recommendations made by VI CPC, which stood validly accepted by the Cabinet, it has been argued that principle for determining the pension has been completely altered under the garb of clarification. According to the learned counsel for the applicants on the basis of the aforesaid resolution/modified parity revised pension of the pre-2006 pensioners shall not be less than 50% of the minimum of the pay band + grade pay, corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired.

15. Applicants in para-11 of the Additional-Affidavit have explained how the Note prepared by a junior functionary (at the level of an Under Secretary) in the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare in regard to para-4.2 of the OM dated 1.9.2008 has been given a go-by to the resolution dated 29.08.2008. The Note so prepared has been extracted in this para, which thus reads:


16. It is pleaded that first the need for such a doubt being raised is not clear as both the formulation of the CPC in para 5.1.47 as well as in Government Resolution dated 29.8.2008 (Annexure A-7 of the OA) is clear that the fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension in no case, shall be lower than fifty percent of the sum of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. (emphasis added). The use of words sum of, and thereon leaves no doubt that both the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay have to correspond to the pre-revised pay scale. Second, without bringing out merits or demerits of either formulation, the lower functionary in DOP & PW incorporates in the clarification against item 4.2 in the OM dated 1.9.2008, the first option about minimum of pay in the pay band (irrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay). What is worse is that there is no application of mind even at the level of Director and Secretary who merely sign the note and the clarification is issued after obtaining finance concurrence and approval of MOS (PP), without going back to the Cabinet for such a modification.

17. The learned counsel has further argued that the resultant injustice done to the pre-1-1-2006 pensioners had even been recognized by MOS (F) and MOS (PP) in their letters to the PM and MOS (F) respectively, copies of which are at Annexures A-11 (page 169) and A-12 (page 170) of the OA. A formal proposal was also sent by DOP & PW to Department of Expenditure seeking rectification but was not accepted by the latter. It was also incorrectly mentioned that the earlier provision in para 4.2 of OM dated 1.9.2008 has been issued in pursuance of the approval of the Cabinet granted to the Report of the Sixth CPC and any change would entail substantial financial implications and this was done only with the approval of the Secretary (Expenditure) without putting up the note to MOS (F) who had himself supported the change. A copy of this Note dated 2.1.2009 is enclosed as Annexure 5.

Proof enough how misleading notes by lower level functionaries can wreak havoc for the public at large.