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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cheated, eh?

It is indeed ironic.

The pension wing of the Ministry of Defence, now under the so called Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) has cheated military veterans and their families since long. It is however sad that these downright deceitful actions did not elicit any protest from the Services HQ, who, especially during times of yore, either did not have the capability of keeping a sharp eye on issues concerning defence veterans, or were not clued up or were simply too timid to react.

Whatever be the reason, I am pointing out four out of many such instances of how Cabinet decisions have been openly given the kick by a few junior level functionaries of the Ministry of Defence leading to denial of crores of rupees to poor unsuspecting veterans and their families:

1. Pensioners other than commissioned officers who retired prior to 10-10-1997 : When the 5th CPC was implemented with effect from 01-01-1996, a gazette notification was duly issued which stated that though the scales were being mentioned for ranks other than officers, the Ministry was carrying out trade rationalisation and removing anomalies from the said scales and the scales would finally be implemented once the said rationalisation was complete and that the said anomaly-free scales would replace the anomalous scales with effect from 01-01-1996. However, when the anomalies were removed and the new scales were finally implemented, these were implemented w.e.f 10-10-1997 through Special Army Instruction (SAI) 2/S/98 and were not implemented w.e.f 01-01-1996 as already approved by the Cabinet. The retrospective implementation w.e.f 01-01-1996 notified vide a Gazette notification was conveniently forgotten. Later when pensions were improved from time to time, the said improvement was based on the anomalous scales of 1996 rather than the anomaly-free rationalised scales introduced in 1997 which were in fact to take effect from 1996 thereby replacing the old anomalous scales. Many decisions in favour of pensioners were rendered by High Courts on the said issue and affirmed by the Supreme Court but still the Ministry did not take any action on the subject. The situation was finally rectified by the Defence Ministry w.e.f 01-07-2009 thereby denying our pensioners the correct pension from 01-01-1996 till 30-06-2009. The Ministry not only managed to flout and contravene a gazette notification issued after approval of the Cabinet, but also managed to disregard directions of our Constitutional Courts.

2.  Removal of requirement of 10 months’ service in a particular rank to earn the pension of that rank: The 6th CPC abrogated the requirement of the 10 months’ formula and provided that pension shall be calculated on the basis of 50% of the emoluments last drawn unlike the position earlier where service of 10 months in a particular rank was required to earn the pension of that rank. The same was made applicable to both pre and post-2006 retirees by the Government. Prior to the 6th CPC, the pensions of Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) were calculated on the basis of the maximum of the pay-scales which was different than the system followed for all civilian employees and commissioned officers of the defence services for whom the pension was calculated on the basis of the minimum of pay scale. Accordingly, again to provide an edge to PBOR as was the case till 6th CPC, the Government constituted a committee under the Cabinet Secretary who opined that the pension of pre-2006 retirees should be calculated based on the notional maximum within the new 6th CPC scales corresponding to the maximum of pre-6th CPC (5th CPC) scales as per the 6th CPC switch-over fitment tables thereby extending the edge granted to PBOR which was applicable to them earlier. This new stipulation was made applicable with financial effect from 01-07-2009. The said report was accepted by the Cabinet. However, when the DESW of the Ministry of Defence issued the implementation letter, they on their own again added a line re-introducing the 10 months stipulation back into the pensionary provisions for pre-2006 retirees which in reality now stood abrogated for pre-2006 as well as post-2006 retirees after the 6th CPC. Meaning thereby, that if a Naib Subedar had served only for 6 months in that rank prior to retirement, he would be granted the pension of a Havildar, and not a Naib Subedar. The interesting part however remains that even the notings sent to the Cabinet for approval of the Committee’s recommendations contained no such stipulation and the same was mischievously added by lower and mid-level officials of the Ministry of Defence without any reference to the Committee of Secretaries or to the Cabinet, which itself is a serious mischief in an elected democracy.

3. Grant of pension limited to maximum terms of engagement rather than 33 years as applicable to all government pensioners : It is commonly known that earlier, pensionary tables for defence personnel used to be prepared only till the maximum possible service in each rank since individuals were compulsorily retired on attaining the maximum terms of engagement. However, the 4th Central Pay Commission recommended that full pension should be fixed on the basis of 33 years of service including weightage and proportionately reduced for lesser length of service. The system of 33 years is followed as on date for all pre-2006 pensioners. However still, the Defence Accounts Department continued paying pension in accordance with the maximum terms of engagement for each rank and not based on 33 years of service as applicable after the 4th CPC. For example, if a Naik had served for 28 years, or if a DSC Naik had say 30 years of combined service of two spells, they were only being paid a pension for 22 years of service on the specious pretext that the maximum terms of engagement possible for a Naik were 22 years. This was later questioned and quashed by Courts being against the notifications issued after various CPCs which contained no such prohibition. Now last year, the cabinet improved the pensionary benefits of Sepoys, Naiks and Havildars by increasing their weightages. The Govt was then asked to issue a letter. The letter was issued, but again mischievously, in Para 8 of the Letter dated 17 Jan 2013, a line was added by the DESW that the pension shall be revised subject to the maximum terms of engagement for each rank. Giving a benefit to some by one hand and taking it away with the other. This prohibition was never a part of the Union Cabinet’s decision or the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries on the basis of which this Govt of India letter had been issued but was made a part of the draft letter prepared by the Defence Accounts Department. From where did this line creep in mysteriously and illegally? As on date, all govt employees are being paid pensions in accordance with the length of service rendered by them, however Other Ranks of the defence services are being paid only in accordance with the terms of engagement applicable to their ranks from time to time rather than their actual service. This is not only unfair, but also patently illegal.

4.  Enhancement and fresh Categories of Casualty Pensionary Awards including Disability, War Injury and Liberalized Pensionary Awards, introduced after the 5th CPC : The 5th CPC had introduced certain new categories and enhanced the existing casualty pensionary awards w.e.f 01-01-1996. These were extended only to post-96 retirees vide a Govt of India letter for civil pensioners issued on 03-02-2000. The same stipulations were later extended to post-96 defence pensioners by the MoD vide a letter dated 31-01-2001. Later, the benefits were extended by the Govt of India to pre-96 pensioners vide another letter issued on 11-09-2001 and a copy of that letter was sent to MoD for implementation. The MoD however sat on the letter and never issued similar instructions for defence pensioners. Till date, w.e.f 01-01-1996, pre-1996 retiree defence pensioners have been denied the benefits of the Govt of India letter dated 11-09-2001 despite the fact that the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) has reminded the MoD time and again to do the needful. One stipulation of the letter of broad-banding of disability percentages was implemented by the MoD for pre-1996 retirees but only with effect from 01-07-2009 thereby denying such disabled personnel the arrears from 01-01-1996 till 30-06-2009, which of course had been released and paid to similarly placed civilians.

Yes, all of you were cheated. And the most striking feature of this sadism is that the particular officer in DESW who was responsible for many of the above actions and is also a signatory of a majority of these letters, is now dealing with the process of implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP). He is still functioning in the DESW on re-employment, after retiring from regular service.

Unless veterans are on the same page and cease and desist from their internal battles, and the Services HQ acquire expertise and knowledge, overcome timidity and involve stake-holders, no progress can be expected.

The state seems much better in the Pay Commission Cells of the Defence Services at this point, but only time would tell if the hammering can be reversed or if further hammering can be arrested.

Best of luck!

22 comments:

Pokar Ram said...

Sir,

1. Major Navdeep singh is a MAJOR by though process. He has vividly explained the crux of the issues affecting a majority of the ESM.

2. The 10 month issue was arbitrarily again brought in by DESW letter 14(3)-2000-D(Pen/Sers) / Vol III dated 01 Feb, 2006 vide its para 6 while implementing GOM recommendations for higher weightage to Sep, NK & Hav wef 01/01/2006.

Again what was gained in giving higher weightage was denied in the same para by limiting the maximum QS to 30 years only.

3. Althogh Deptt of Pension & P W had clarified long time back that those having qualifying service 9 years 09 months and above but less than 10 years are eligible to round up QS 10 years for invalid pension. However no orders have yet been issued by the DESW.

Thus a large number of ESMs especially DSC discharged personnel with QS 14 year 09 months and above but less than 15 years have been losing the service pension.

3.The SHQs staff are not bothered as to what is applicable to ESM. They feel that they are above water line.But they would realise the same only when shift to this side of the fence. But nothing can be done over split milk.

Deepak said...

So why cannot a PIL/contempt of court or some other legal action be initiated against that individual specifically by veterans.

Anonymous said...

Bcoz who will bell the cat

MANGE PANGHAL said...

Dear Major Navdeep,

Thanks a lot for bringing out truth.I know this man who is sadist with absolute negative mind, devoid of any concern for veterans despite his own retirement. It is most surprising that he has not been given marching order despite a majority government. Further it is matter of great concern as to what our ESM associations are doing despite the fact that you had already brought this out number of times.
ESM organisation should take up this matter with PM without loss of more time.

Anonymous said...

I got an AFT orders to pay CPO pension wef 1998 with out considering 10 months. smart PCDA is kind enouogh to revise pension on the rate of CPO but with minimum in the scale where as the pension regulation is 1998 was to calculate pension on the highest of the scale. Forced to file MA for execution and AFT is kind enough to seek clarificaton from PCDA Navy. the case is again coming up in AFT Kochi on 14 July 2014 on MA 222/14 of OA 93/2013.

AFT Chennai in its order for OA 113/2013 dt 16 Jan 2014 has clearly issue order to calculate higher scale wef 1996 with even one day seniority in the rank

Jose Mathe
EX CPO

rajat said...

It appears in all these issues either the service HQ have no understanding in regards to the subject and its interpretation or they take everything written by higher org of MOD as binding orders in letter and spirit not to be challenged even if it maybe against there own personnel's interest. It just goes to show that each newer generation in the fauj is least bothered about the welfare of generation before them, is it a fall out of that the older generation while in fauj did not show interest in the welfare of there juniors. We may talk big about camaraderie and brotherhood but such things just point out that the fauji's are not that unified whether serving or retired as a single community. before we can take up the outside threats we need to sort the dispute within the house first.

Anonymous said...

The solution lies in the Deptt of ESM welfare being headed by a worthy ESM. Best would be someone from the lower rungs and not one of the retired Generals.

PM Modi's first election rally being held with the ESM - one was hoping that he would initiate concrete steps to address their woes and put welfare of soldiers on top priority.

Coming into power- his Govt has rightly laid down modernization as the top priority but has sadly forgotten his commitment to the ESM. Hopefully it will be addressed very soon.

Balaji Srinivasan said...

Can't we file a case against individual office bearers to justify action, though they may have retired? Won't it serve a warning to others currently in chair? After winning in court, GOI may be added for rectification.

Wing Commander JAYACHANDRAN said...

Dear Major,
Is it possible for you to recommend through some forum the officer who is anti-defence forces and who is an important advisor on OROP.If possible the matter can be brought to PM on the meeting scheduled to be held on the 4th July,2014.

Wing Commander JAYACHANDRAN said...

Dear Major Navdeep Singh
Please fight to the end.I am an ardent admirer of you.
Wg Cdr S.Jayachandran(Retd)

Lt Col (Retd) A N Ramachandran said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
You are a true crusader. You steadfastedly continue to soldier on shedding light on the wanton, deliberate and debilitating injustices perpetrated upon the Indian soldier over the past many years. It is indeed very sad and demoralising that despite so much financial loss and indignity heaped on the soldier by the babu neta combine, we in uniform have not been able to reverse the trend or make good the damage done. We can only hope that the present dispensation at the Centre will be willing to go the extra mile to undo all the injustices
perpetrated on the soldier.To start with, they should revamp the so-called Dept of Ex-servicemen Welfare by inducting a minimum 50% of staff from the three Services (serving or retired) and the Dept to be headed by a serving officer.

Anonymous said...

These are the guys who have connived to get CSD facilities inclluding purchase of Cars. Partly the Service HQ(QGM) is also responsible.
ACTION SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY TAKEN FOR STOPPING OF CANTEEN FACILITIES TO ALL CIVILIANS PAID OUT OF DEFENCE OR ANY ESTIMATES. The subsidy on account of extending CSD facility to Civilian employees (all types including DRDO and DGQA etc etc) are a drain on the exchequer( excise duties etal).

Anonymous said...

Despite the orders issued, OROP has not yet been implemented.It seems that the concerned authorities are searching in the dark to find out the method to implement it. The one and only method available to implement it is to mke maximum of 6th CPC Pay band+GP+MSP as notional pay to fix pension for 33 yrs for both pre and post 2006 retirees .It was the method being followed till 6th CPC.

Anonymous said...

It is d babus who want to keep d faujis down n thus reign supreme. Hence, they manipulate their political masters.
Why shouldn't the draft of such policy letters b vetted by a legal team b4 it becomes a policy ?

Anonymous said...

Every thing is wrong. Enough of cribbing. Please tell us what to do now

Anonymous said...

Sir,

thanks for pointing out our bad luck, many officers also commented positively, hope there will be an escape from this Babudom,



Lenity

Satheesan N said...

Sir,
Thanks a lot to brought out the sever fact.It is a sad thing that the lower level faujis are badly effected but not aware of it.Further, can anybody do the rescue operation?...
Satheesan N

Anonymous said...

Well first of all JAI HIND to my colleges from defence forces..
well I understand this blog is mostly visited by defence officers here..

I understand majority of the blogs here is regarding the partiality in the of pay ,perks and respect to a short service commission against/by the top brass of the same force..

Well I would like to raise a point that the defence ministry as well as the home ministry ( me being a Commandant(Serving) in the para-military) are both funded by the consolidated funds of India

as comparison to the defence , The paramilitary performs jobs no less difficult and duties no less important vis-a-vis to indian defence forces.

your forces which had been enjoying freebies since British era as compared to the CAPF getting its first a/c train service as late as 2003 ..with getting its services of CSD like subsidies in 2003 ..all thanks to the unions of the CAPF personall who had been fighting for its rights againt home ministry

It is a known fact that the defence is the country's favorite as it takes away a majority of the defence budget slice..living behind very less to be taken care of CAPF..

Infact the CAPF considers the defence forces for its downtrodden condition

http://www.change.org/petitions/shri-narendra-modi-do-justice-to-the-capf-personnel?share_id=tONseauJxU&utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

jai hind crpf sada ajay

Anonymous said...

and i was shocked to see defence officers mostly ssco cribing about loosing seniority when joining CAPF as they have some age relaxation for SSC0..
capf is already fighting its war against the bully of senior IPS taking its senior CAPF cadre posts making our promotional structure non-functional..where promotions of a newly commissioned assistant commandant is totally dependent on the vacancy of senior posts + with lots of politics and booy licking..


the situation will become worse if the service discharged SSC army officers also occupy the senior posts...if this happens a majority of the assistant commandant will retire on the same rank they were commissioned into..

Indrabhan Singh said...

I retired from navy on 30 Jun 97 after 6 month in CPO rank and drawing pension of PO rank. Request Jose Mathew to contact me on 09967865035 to help me in this case

Subramanian (DS) said...

SUB:Removal of requirement of 10 months’ service in a particular rank to earn the pension of that rank.
What is the latest status now on this issue for Pre-2006 PBOR?
I am a retired sergeant of November 1979.
D.Subramanian

Anonymous said...

Dear sir, it has been said on 16th July meeting that govt.does not agree to OROP as per HOSHIYARI committee definition of OROP, Hence delay in orders which are applicable wef 01 April,2014 for ESM And above that it has come to my knowledgr that our defence minister has said that promises are always made before elections but all are not materialised after winning, so my statement proves , said long long back that congress is head of a coin and BJP a tail, please do not expect any OROP ORDERS , CARRY ON CHANGING PARTIES BY VOTING, SO PLEASE VOTE ONLY TO BOTTOM MOST PERSON, INDEPENDENT WHO NEVER HAD JOINED ANY PARTY IN NEXT ELECTIONS EVERY WHERE ON ALL POSTS JAY HIND