Taken For A Ride Again
The much heralded announcement from the Ramparts of the Red Fort has crystallized into a ‘throwing of crumb’ to the already besieged officers of the armed forces. The latest letter issued on 17 Jan 2013 by the MoD on revision of pension and family pension is far from what it should have been.
1. The anomaly which was created by the babudom on 6 CPC recommendations has been corrected to read as ‘Minimum of the pay in the pay band’ rather than minimum of pay band. This has stretched out the pension of officers from the rank of Lt Col to Maj Gen which had got clubbed in a narrow band. Sure relief for the tattooed rank based structure.
2. It has resulted in a loss of pension arrears from 01/01/2006 as the revision has been made applicable from 24 Sept 2012. It ‘Defeats’ all logic. An anomaly created by the MoD and rectified by them deserves to be made applicable from 01/01/2006. Sure shot case in the making for the courts for an arbritary cut off date.
3. Issue of letter displays short sightedness at the highest levels of the Govt machinery. Refixation of pay on account of deduction of Rank pay from the IV CPC through V and VI CPC should have been taken into account as the minimum of pay for each rank from Captain to Brigadier is set to change upon restoration of deducted rank pay. Corresponding Grade pay would also change for Lt Col / Col/Brig. So therefore the pension and family pension would also change based on the increased minimum of pay in the pay band.
4. No cognizance has been taken of the anomaly created by AVS I report. A Lt Col (Select/TS) who was in service as on 16 Dec 2004 and had put in 26 yrs of service got upgraded to Col TS with pay and pension benefits but an officer who retired prior to that date was denied the pay and pension of Col TS. Again beats all logic. Rightfully the benefit of pension of Col TS should have been extended to all Lt Cols (Select/TS) who retired with 26 yrs of service. A Supreme Court Judgment reads as ‘ What is discriminatory is introduction of a benefit retrospectively or prospectively by fixing a cut off date arbitrarily thereby dividing a single homogeneous class of pensioners into two groups and subjecting them to different treatment’
5. The worst sufferers have been officers in the rank of Major. An officer became a Major in 13 yrs at III CPC which got reduced to 11 yrs at IV CPC and 10 yrs at V CPC. AVS I report further reduced the qualifying service to 6 yrs for Major and made 13 yrs for substantive Lt Col wef Dec 2004. 6 CPC put Major in pay band 3 and Lt Col in pay band 4, thereby drastically reducing the pay and pension of Major to Rs 18205/- for 25 yrs service as per letter of 17 Jan 2013.
This BIG ANOMALY of pension of Major needs to be corrected. As a one time measure all pre 2006 Majors who have put in 20 yrs of service should be given the benefit of pension of Lt Col ie Rs 26265/- plus DA thereon.
Alternately on refixation of pay of Major due to IV CPC rank pay; as Major then in 1986 was equated with NFSG civilian officer; Major should be fixed in pay band IV with Grade pay of Rs7600/- at 6 CPC so that correct Pensionary benefit is given.
6. It is not intended to secure anything extra for the (h)armed forces officers but what has become legitimately due as a result of self created anomalies. Corridors of power must take appropriate actions to resolve the anomalies earliest rather than issuing letters in haste to show achievement rather than attaining satisfaction levels of the pensioners.