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.