Though my last post was also on chain mails, I have realized that irresponsibility on social media and cyberspace is now assuming dangerous proportions with rumour-mongering at its peak which is not only resulting in frustration amongst the military community but also unethical and unmilitary name-calling which can have far reaching consequences on reputations of people and morale of serving personnel and veterans.
While most of us have been forwarding mails and messages in good faith, still it is our bounden responsibility not to put into orbit material which is unverified or which causes unnecessary heartburn, especially amongst serving personnel, or results in slander of personalities. The term “Forwarded as Received” does not suffice and ends up damaging and harming the entire scheme of things as we perceive.
Some very recent examples of immaturity on the net, with mass circulation, can be recalled here:
Forwarding of a message that a senior officer at the Army HQ was responsible for inserting the prohibitory “Pre-Mature Retirement” (VRS) clause in the draft letter for OROP. What could be further from truth? Why on earth would someone do that? Have we ever wondered before forwarding such silly stuff on private and social media!!!
Circulation of a patently false message that a young Major who lost his life in an unfortunate incident during battle inoculation was not evacuated on time because senior officers precluded his evacuation.
Spreading canards about a Colonel whose wife is serving in the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS). The officer’s reputation has been unnecessarily sullied without even an iota of truth. Even if on hypothetical assumption, the officer’s wife, in her official dealings, may have had an opinion or perception about the concept of OROP which may not have been configured with the actuality, how could the officer be blamed for the same and how could canards be spread about his service life, career and posting profile?
Spreading disaffection about senior officers and how they accepted the ‘Apex Grade’ after the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC) resulting in “OROP” for them and how they should refuse to accept the ‘Apex Grade’. Before spreading such half-truths, people should have realized that officers from the Apex Grade are in receipt of OROP by default, not by design. The pension of past retirees is calculated on the minimum of the new pay grade and since the pay grade of such retirees is fixed, the 50% of the minimum in their case results in a fixed pension for past as well as current retirees by default. Moreover, this fixed pay concept is not new and has been in place since times immemorial. For example, during the 4thCPC, it was Rs 8000 fixed, during the 5th CPC, it became 26000 and during the 6th CPC it was upgraded to Rs 80000. This concept was not introduced by the 6th CPC. Rumour-mongers have also not realized that such officers also suffer in a way since on reaching the ‘Apex’ level, they do not get any enhancement of pay in service and their pay remains fixed without any further increment.
Spreading my old oped of the year 2012 by forging the date as 2015 and stating to the world that the Services HQ are still opposing Non Functional Upgradation (NFU) for the military officer cadre. My old oped had merely stated the restrictive view existing at one point of time in the Services HQ. After a series of deliberations, all three Services HQ were firmly of a view in favour of NFU, and still are, and have fully stood behind the concept. Please ignore emails castigating the Services HQ for not supporting NFU since there is no truth in them. My opeds may be sharp but those are meant to move the system into motion by stirring them out of inertia, and not to pinprick. My opinion, which is meant for positive movement ahead, should not be used as a tool to shame.
Spreading mails regarding false and imaginary calculation tables which are either lesser than what is admissible thereby resulting in disappointment or which are much higher than entitlement thereby resulting in raising false expectations.
Chain mails asking people to file individual cases even in those specific matters wherein judicial intervention has already succeeded and universal orders stand issued by the Govt for all similarly placed individuals or where judicial intervention has already failed resulting in a closure of the issue. (Clarification: Here I am only referring to futility of litigation in those cases where the Govt HAS suo moto already issued universal orders after a particular decision. I am not referring to those issues where despite a favourable judicial decision, the Govt has not issued universal orders)
Also, it is painful to receive messages pertaining to my last post wherein I had attempted to clear the air about pensions of ranks other than Commissioned Officers. It seems that in the melee, affected pensioners have overlooked a very important fact that the new Circulars issued by the PCDA (547 and 548) emanate from a Supreme Court decision stating that pension should not be based on the “minimum of pay band” itself but on “minimum of pay within the pay band” for each rank w.e.f 01-01-2006. It cannot apply to ranks other than commissioned ranks for the simple reason that their pension is based on notional maximum w.e.f 01-07-2009 and hence if the judgement is applied to them w.e.f 01-01-2006, it would result in loss to all ranks since then the pensions would then fall to ‘minimum’ like in the case of Commissioned ranks and all civilians and that is the reason why pensions have been protected for them from 01-07-2009 onwards. They stand to gain only from 01-01-2006 till 30-06-2009 by the Supreme Court decision during which time their pensions were based on the minimum and these new tables would only replace the old tables that were in force from 01-01-2006 till 30-06-2009. If at all there was an anomaly, it was not linked to this Supreme Court decision or these new Circulars and it was on some other issue- it should have been emphasized and taken up that if till 5th CPC (till 31-12-2005) their pensions were based on top of the scales, the same concept should have been extended w.e.f 01-01-2006 rather than from 01-07-2009.
It is bewildering that people are neither understanding the issue nor going into depth of the same and rather sending negative messages to those who are portraying the true picture to them. Rest assured that I am always willing to stand up for our men and women of all ranks unconditionally and that is the reason why this blog has never been officer-specific and neither have been my battles for justice. But I firmly believe in standing up only for causes which are legally sound and also do not believe in circulating sugarcoated mails with trumped-up figures which later cause disillusionment.
Be careful. Be wise. Let us keep our eyes open.