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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare unilaterally issues a fresh version of Pension Regulations for the Army

So there you have it, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (sic) (DESW), on 06 Jan 2012, has issued Pension Regulations for the Army (2008), purportedly approved by the ‘Raksha Mantri’. These Regulations supposedly supersede the Pension Regulations of 1961. Though the Regulations have been issued on 06 Jan 2012 and only apply to those who were released after 2008, these have not incorporated the drastic pensionary changes made by the 6th CPC which according to the DESW would be included in the form of ‘insertions’ to be decided by the office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions). These Regulations of 2008 have been jointly drafted by the office of the CGDA and PCDA(P). It seems  illogical that these Regulations of ‘2008’ have been issued in 2012 and that too without incorporating changes introduced by the 6th CPC w.e.f 01-01-2006. What was the tearing hurry? Preliminarily speaking, even otherwise, rather than entrusting such an important policy-work to policy makers and experts at the govt level, the DESW has gone by the drafting submitted by defence accountants. But strictly speaking, are these Regulations even valid or legal?

I would say, No.

My observations on this move :-

(1) The mandate for dealing with general pensionary guidelines of civil, defence and railway pensioners is of the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) under the Constitutional Allocation of Business Rules of the Govt of India, and not of the DESW. In fact, the DESW does not even have staff which can understand the fine modalities of pension issues. Hence to issue such ‘Regulations’ without the sanction of DoPPW prima-facie appears to be without authority. It also seems that even the Department of Expenditure (DoE) has not been consulted.

(2) Many provisions which have been quashed, read-down, struck-down or differently interpreted by Courts and Tribunals, including the Supreme Court, find place in these Regulations of 2008. Not only unlawful, but such an action could be downright contemptuous, and the fact that the Raksha Mantri has been made to ‘approve’ such a document speaks volumes of the extent of application of mind prevalent at the DESW. Many provisions are also in direct contravention of general DoPPW policies and clarifications.

(3) Many of the provisions mentioned in the ‘new’ Regulations have been totally done away with or abrogated by the 5th and 6th CPCs. Some of the newly cast Regulations actually take away certain benefits which were available to defence pensioners till date. Through innocuous re-casting of some Regulations, certain very pertinent benefits have in fact been abolished.

(4) As explained above, pensionary provisions of general nature have always been a subject matter of the DoPPW and have earlier been issued after acceptance of Pay Commission recommendations by the Cabinet through Presidential sanctions. It seems strange that the DESW has chosen to circumvent established precedents and has gone about modifying provisions approved by the Cabinet and notified through Presidential orders through these locally issued ‘Regulations’.

(5) According to DoPPW guidelines, constitutionally empowered to promulgate pensionary policies of pensioners including defence pensioners, pensionary rules can only be changed through a democratic consultative process which also involves other stake-holders including recognised pension associations. Has the same been done in this case? The answer is in the negative. Was even the Army HQ consulted on this?

(6) How could such an important task be entrusted to CGDA or PCDA(P). These agencies are neither policy makers nor authorities competent to alter existing pensionary matters and are only accounting instrumentalities. How could ‘teams’ of such agencies be detailed to draft Pension Regulations. 

In short, these Regulations are a piece of work by defence accountants forcibly thrust upon millions of retired defence personnel, who, it seems do not have any say in matters which affect their future and also the future of their families. There has been no spade work by the authorities actually competent to modify or rationalise existing provisions and the issue has been dealt with hurriedly, without application of mind, and in fact without authority.

According to the DoPPW, the list of stake-holders involved for modification or inception of pensionary policies is as follows :-

“User GOI Ministries / Departments including CGA, CPAO & CGDA, Pensioners/Family Pensioners, Pensioners’ Associations, Banks/Treasuries/Post offices, Serving employees”

Let the DESW clarify if any of the above were consulted before unilaterally imposing these new Pension Regulations on defence pensioners and family pensioners? In fact, these are not 'Regulations' but the imposition of the will of a couple of accountants whose limited understanding, drafting and thought-process has been thrust upon pensioners forcibly. 


rajeev kumar said...

THE OBSERVATIONS OF MAJ NAVDEEP are relevant at a first glance . need detailed deliberations . i ask one question from maj navdeep if regarding a provision contrary view taken by court , bur the the rule per se not changed by a formal order , what is the validity or non validity of such order .

Harry said...

Dushmans of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) at their MEANEST BEST, so no surprises :(

Naren said...

Amazing!DESW seems to be operating in some kind of an Ivory tower of it's own making.Millions of defence pensioners could be adversely impacted by such adhoc action.Even the most insignificant AI/NI has to be initiated by the concerned dte of the AHQ/NHQ,vetted at various levels,seen by the concerned FA's etc before it's promulgation.

Venkatesh said...

One of the reasons for the teraing hurry may be the plethora of cases that pensioners are winning in various AFTs & Courts.May be it will be even quoted in the rank pay case (by the ever absent SG) ,coming up for final hearing on 20 Jan 2012

Parvez Jamasji said...

1. IS there NO recourse to suffering the DEFICIENCY of Service by the babus through their being RETARDED or MALAFIED

2. WHY are Servicemen & ESM allowing THEMSELVES to suffer BRAZEN DISCRIMINATION & INEQUALITY in LAW ?

Todays Servicemaen are tomorrows ESM.

sgt.s.kanthiah said...

Dear Major Sir,

It is a surprising news.When Millions of veterans and their Families are eagarly waiting for a favourable result of OROP, the unfortunate new Regulation may disappoint them . We strongly express our discontent with this regulation.

Dear Major Sir, please give us some points of new regulation which affects our benefits.

Thank you Sir.
Sgt.S.Kanthiah, Exwel Trust
Titunelveli-Dist, TN.


Bringing out an Regulation without the involvement of the stake holders needs to be looked into and challanged in the court so that it gets thrown out and not implemented.As brought by Navdeep DESW is not the competent authority to bring out these regulations.Let us file a PIL and get a stay order.

Anonymous said...

what is the best way to get the new pension regulations 2008 be stayed and disciplinary action initiated agaist the babus who have drafted and approved these, under relevant service/condut rules and IPC. The DESW has fraudalantly forgotton/ ommitted that there exist equalent statutory navy pension regulations where no regulation can be amended without due process of law/regulation amending and each amendment has to go to the parliament for approval as provided by navy act. can we take the babus concerned to court for causing injury and not obeying the existing law/regulations. the pay commission can not amend a statutory regulations, as stated by the courts. please advise sir.

Anonymous said...

sir, where can we find and read the complete this new/amended pension regulations 2008, so as to take neccessary/legal action against the DESW babus who have upsurp the power of Govt. of India who alone is the authority to amend the statutory regulations. what is the way out to teach an examplary lesson to the babus for making the citizen suffer loss due to his/her unathorised action/statement. For their illegal action a citizen has to run around pillar to post/courts to sort out the mess created by the babus. the babus must pay for his un authorised actions. Jago faujis jago.

Rohit Agarwal said...

Navdeep - thanks for flagging the issue. Am sure no one in the Service HQ has realized or raised the issue. What else do you expect, when the entire service HQ, particularly the AG's branch, is busy fighting for the COAS's age.


Dear Maj, I am extremely surprised to see the comments and feel very very sad state of affairs.
We still can't make out how the three service HQs are keeping quiet on this vital issue. Of course there is no wonder the DM may have signed on the dotted lines. or perhaps his mind is busy with the DOB issue.
ALL ESMs must fight unitedly over these regulations which have bben issued ad-hoc. and by lower staff.

Anonymous said...

It is SAD state of affairs.No body appears to be bothered much about ESM except some dedicated ppl like Navdeep.Atleast there is some one who guides us, because our own senior ppl are gutless and .......


BB said...

The problem with us ESMs is that we are:-
(a)well and truly divided.
(b)in the majority ignorant
(c)a voter of no consequence.
Though knowledgeable people like Navdeep are working hammer and tongs, the system needs an unified response.

rajeev kumar said...

let us know the real issue involved here . by reading all comments we are just fighting a ghost . can any enlighten the mistakes or discrepancy etc . is it the issue of only few mistakes or deliberate attempt to demean AFs .

Kaps said...

Dear Rajeev Kumar ji Ostrich like approach doesn't help. The post itself is quite clear on legal status of this unilateral action of DESW. So why are you having doubts between "few mistakes" and "demeaning"? i is crystal clear what the aim of this step is, especially since it is taken in isolation. The whole concept is a mistake, not just few as you seem to understand. One could call it anomalous report if all stake holders had participated.

Prateek said...

Going by such acts of all powerful executives the moral of Veterans and serving person is likely to be so badly affected that youngsters from coming generations will never think of getting into uniform.

Anonymous said...

What is the exact financial implication of this on the pensioners of all vintage?

JUSTIN said...

this is yet another mistake by so called lawmaker who is not suppose to call shots in the case that is " mistakes pe mistakes" what one can do is simply forget it and file it. i feel xsm fraternity is tough enough to swallow this pill.
"satya mev jayate" god is great.

Sathye said...

An entity without authority issuing Army Regulations (Pensions) is very disturbing.

What is happening in our country? Days are not far when every P a t w a r i will issue Regulations for the Armed Services and the veterans.

Few clerks and accountants in DESW have elevated themselves as policy makers, instead of doing their job of accounting and maintaining records of veterans in accordance with the policy promulgated by those mandated in accordance with the Law. The very recent tendency of auditors, accountants and clerks to ignore their mandated work and assume role of policy makers and sanctioning authorities is not confined to any single Department and is a sign of lack of proper leadership in the country.

rajeev kumar said...

i am sure most of the people are not knowing here who is the competent authority . maj navdeep has said something does not mean everybody start jumping . it is his own interpretation . best way is ask the DESW factual position or the MOD , they will give an official response . let us use the RTI . i know we are all hot blodded people , but let us understand the situation in correct perspective .

Beniwal said...

if the intention of DESW is honest and beneficial towards ESM then the new pension regulations should be for the time being taken as draft only and should ask all the concerned and effected people and Navdeep to comment and suggest suitable corrections/amendments so that future litigation be avoided by all. Even the parliament ask for comments and suggetions before making any law / rule/regulations. But The problem is the usurping of the law making powers by the babus and no one to stop them. babus create problem and citizen to suffer and nothing happens to babus for his unauthorised and mal fide act. I under stand the 33 yrs service sptipulation and rank weightage has been removed by 6th CPC and letter was issued by the MoD that for full pension 33 yrs condition was deleted and one needed only 20 yrs service for full pension. But i understand again 33 yrs stipulation and weightage has been included in the 2008 regulations. therefore a fauji will not get full pension at 20 yrs service as a civilian gets. as some body earlier said we should think filing a statutory complaint against the babus for fraudalantly ommitting and supressing the law/regulations and causing injury to poor ESM .

babu said...

Dear major navdeep
you have mentioned in your earlier post that no service reps were present in the final meeting. this shows how much interest service head quarters are having. further it is to be verified how all ex service man is affected badly with new regulations. the focus should be on this instead of blaming DSEW.

Anonymous said...

DESW malafide is clear becuase the beneficial provisions have been deleted. how come the APR 2008 made effective 01 jun 2008 are made public in jan 2012, almost after four years of having it ready. hope good sence will prevail on DESW and APR 2008 will be kept pending for redrafting and final approval by the real authority on issuing pension regulations as indicated by Navdeep.

Major AK Dhanapalan said...

Major AK Dhanapalan..
How many of us had the opportunity to see the Pension
Reg, leave aside reading it,- may be some Record Officer!
Most of the Rules, Regulations, Orders, Instructions are cooked
Like this only and issued under the label of Army Instructions
(Prefixing “ARMY”) so that it is taken as a bible by every one
Without asking any question.!!! The interpretations of the audit
are also imposed on this.. IT IS A FACT, most of us may not agree
this out of shame!
Even if it is brought to the notice of some senior officer, he has no
Time or do not want to take “Panka”. Look at the case of “RANK PAY”
This was brought to the notice of the then Army Chief-GEN SUNDERJI”
Personally by me, but he was not prepared to accept it from a” Captain”.
I am sorry, am little harsh, but fact is fact.
This is mainly because of non-accountability, answerable to none!
We have no trade union for a collective bargaining, the Service HQs
Are also incapable of looking after the interest of serving and retired Armed
Forces Personnel, A number of associations all over the country could do
Nothing nor can do because they have NO capability to bring the Gov
Functioning to a standstill like any other politically backed unions.
In the present situation the Service HQs should suggest for trade unions/
Associations in the Armed Forces also like any other org including POLICE
So that the Armed Forces Personnel also can look after their service interest.
IN THE INTEREST OF SERVICE….Major AK Dhanapalan,Veteran.12/1/2012

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dhanapalan, what you said are the realities and truth. The first enemy of ESM are service HQs where the in uniform officers do not take stand aginst the civilan babus dictate/interpretations. Recently I met a fauji Dir Pay & Allownace to know his view/interpretation of particular pension regulations which have been the cause of denial of pension to many and shocking was that he called a civilian clerk to explain the applicability of the relevant regulations, for which he has been signing court affidavit without understanding the implications. what law provides has been denied by our uniformed officers sitting in places of authority. my humble prayer to all those faujis is to please do not deny what is given by law to your fauji brother/sister. read the orders/regulations themseleves and apply mind before signing on letters/reply placed by civilian babus, who are more loyal to the babus at ministries(MoD/Fin)for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody clarify if during re emp one is downgraded to category, is the disability pension allowed or not. If yes, how is that added to original PPO. Anonymous

sanjay kumar gupta said...

In all the issues raised now a days,both for serving and ex-servicemen, atleast one thing is common-
no one is addressing issues related to PBORs. weather you read some article, or watch on TV, it looks as if defence offficers are concerned only with their issues. This trend gained momentum since debates after 6th CPC. As officers are flag wearer for PBORs, they need a broader aproach for them.

VINEETA said...

I Just want to know how many of you have read the regulation thoroughly before posting a comment. It has something good for accounting attributable of service while deciding disability pension. Further, it is the PCDA (P) Allahabad, who has to be blamed for intentionally not implementing the orders issued by Min of Ex servicemen Welfare vide their letter dt 18 Aug 2010 about fixation of pension at the maximum of VIth CPC revised pay structure instead of corresponding to maximum of Vth CPC as they have circulated vide their circular No 471. The ball is in their court through a Grievance Redressal filed by me Sub PK Mittal through MoD Ex Welfare and I am awaiting their stand. Hope cheers for all when decision comes.