Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Majors Pension Enhanced: AFT

Maj Navdeep Singh is a serving Territorial Army Officer.
He is a devoted soldier and takes very keen interest in the rules and regulations concerning the Defence Services, which are applicable to serving and retired Defence Personnel. He is a Lawyer in the Haryana and Punjab High Court at Chandigarh.
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

From: Navdeep Singh
Sent: 14 September 2010 08:58
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Pension shall not be less than 50% of minimum of pay within the pay- band corresponding to the pre-revised scale of a retiree : AFT
As most of you would be aware, the 6th CPC had recommended that the revised pension shall not be less than 50% of the sum of the minimum of pay in the pay band + the grade pay (+MSP in case of defence personnel) thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. The minimum of pay within the pay band was notified by way of a fitment formula of Old Scale X 1.86 on the basis of which fitment tables were published by the govt. For example, in case of a Major, the pay band applicable was Pay Band-3, that is, Rs 15600 – 39100 and the minimum of pay within the pay band was Rs 12,800 (minimum of old scale) X 1.86 which came to Rs 23,810. Hence the pension fixation could not be less than 50% of Rs 23,810 + Rs 6600 (Grade Pay) + Rs 6000 (MSP), that is, 50% of 36410 = Rs 18,205.

The above formula was accepted by the government through a gazette notification. However, later a clarification was issued in which it was stated that it is not the minimum of pay in the pay band that shall be taken into consideration but the minimum of the pay band itself irrespective of the pre-revised scale of pay. Meaning thereby that the pension of all the three ranks - Lieutenants, Captains and Majors, was to be fixed by taking the minimum of Rs 15600 which happened to be the lowest point of the Pay Band itself and essentially the starting pay of a Lieutenant. This meant that the minimum possible pension of a Major was to be fixed at Rs 14,100 rather than Rs 18,205.

To be fair to the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare, they tried their best to reason out with the Department of Expenditure that their (DOE's) interpretation of pension fixation for pre-2006 retirees was not right and that it needed to be corrected and the clarification revised. But despite the fact that the Ministers (MoS) of both the Finance and the Personnel Ministries were in favour of the correction in the right spirit of the 6th CPC recommendations, it was ensured by the lower level babus at the Ministry of Finance that it did not happen. The case was taken up time and again by the DoP&PW but was always rejected by the DoE.

The first correction now comes from the Hon’ble Principal Bench of the AFT which has rightly interpreted the term ‘minimum of pay’ as being the minimum of pay within the pay band and not the minimum of pay band itself. Hopefully the DoE shall see reason and ensure that the dockets of Hon’ble Courts and Tribunals are not burdened with unnecessary litigation on the same point and also see that pre-2006 retirees, both civilian and defence, are ensured equity.

The havoc that the incorrect interpretation had led to can be fathomed by the fact that while the difference between the minimum possible pension of a Captain and a Major was Rs 875 till the 5th CPC, it went down to Rs 250 after the 6th CPC rather than escalating with the increased scales. While on the other hand, the difference of pension between a Major and a Time Scale Lt Col was only Rs 950 till the 5th CPC era and today it has gone up to Rs 11,600 after the 6th CPC. And this my friends had been termed as ‘parity’ by the mandarins at the Finance Ministry !
Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 5:09 PM

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