How Babus Manipulate and Distort Facts
Dear Vidya and other veterans,
I went through the excellent article by Gp Capt Bewoor. Late Lt Gen Eric Vas's article Truly, an extraordinary fellow- Nehru was first published by Rediff mail several years back gives a rare Insight on the origin of Nehru's prejudice against the Armed Forces Officers which the Babus cleverly used. Please circulate it to other veteran groups. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh started his Government service in the Indian Economic Service (A subordinate Service controlled by the IAS). His mind set still seems to be subservient to the IAS.
2. As far as OROP is concerned, in a way we are ourselves responsible. Till 1985 the term One Rank One Pension meant that irrespective of the years of service the pension was the same for all officers of the same rank provided he had the minimum qualifying service (20 years for Capt, 22 for Major, 24 years for Colonel and so on) The Invisible weighted element was inbuilt in the Standard Pension for each Rank. The Service Hqs themselves wanted that officers with higher years of service should get more pension than an officer with lesser service of the same rank. So w.e.f 1/1/86 a modified Civilian system was introduced. Number of years of service Plus Weightage Divided by 33 entitled us for full pension (50 Percent of the Last Pay) So a Lt Col with 26 years service got full pension. A civilian taking premature retirement added 5 years to the qualifying service so after 28 years service he too got full pension. However the Civilian Counterpart of the same service generally got quicker promotion and thus Higher salary so his pension was higher. As per 4th CPC pre 1986 pensioners got an approximate increase of 20 percent of the basic pension with DR IR, Adhoc DA which they were drawing on 21/12/85 merged to come to a revised basic pension. Old pensioners found that in the bargain the disparity between old pensioners and those retiring after 1986 became bigger. So the demand for OROP was started.
3. In 1996 (5th CPC) as a partial solution to the OROP (Which was an Armed Forces Demand) the system of modified parity was introduced both for civilians (Cleverly by Babus) and Armed Forces. All Pre 1986 Pensioners irrespective of the date of retirement were notionally brought on the 4th CPC Pay scale and their pension worked out notionally on that basis. That notional Pension became the base for Revision of Pension w.e.f 1/1/96 as per the revised formula with an added provision that in no case it will be less than 50 percent of the Minimum Revised Basic pay under 5th CPC for each rank/ civilian grade. For Civilians 5 years extra was given in case of premature retirement. The Services got an advantage of weightage and Rank Pay to be added for Pension. In a way OROP was introduced both for civilians and Armed Forces. Since the pension of old pensioners was calculated at the minimum of the pay scale it was much lower than those who retired after 1996. At the same time there was a substantial increase compared to the total pay we were drawing at the time of retirement. By applying the same formula to Armed Forces and Civilians the Babus opined and convinced the Political Masters that when ever the demand for OROP was raised they say the same has to given to civilians also which will cost the Government too much.
4. I am linking a copy of the Cabinet secretary’s Committee Report on OROP OROP-Report By Committee of Secys- click here. If a neutral observer reads the report, he too may agree with it. I do not think Service HQs/ IESM (which became a self appointed spokesman for the Ex servicemen) presented the facts and demand in a convincing manner. The Government has already implemented OROP for JCOs and Other Ranks by implementing the rule that pension for pre 1997 retirees will be calculated at the maximum of the 2006 scales plus Rank pay and MSP. This is a significant FIRST step as the Jawans deserved this and much more.
5. As far as Officers are concerned they are still pegged at the minimum of the Pay Band plus Rank Pay and MSP. The MSP itself gives an advantage of Rs 3000 pm compared to Civil Counter parts which is highlighted in the report. Placing Lt Cols and Equivalent in PB 4 grade for pension has given them a substantial benefit. However the pension of those retiring now will be higher because they draw more Pay in the revised grade. Rank Pay and MSP is the same for purposes of pension.
6. In short the demand for OROP should be restricted to:
7. I am against the approach of the IESM to use Satyagraha Methods like returning of Medals, Processions, Fasts. These methods according to me, are Unsoldier like more suited for politicians or with people with ambitions to dabble in Politics. The Indian Ex Services League (the officially recognized body) could not have a base because it was identified with political parties.
8. Instead of pleading with Bureaucrats/ Ministers/ Ruling Party MPs, Knowledge and Facts based Petitions should be sent to all MPs and to the Parliamentary Committee for Petitions which in turn seeks written opinions from the general public through periodic Media advertisements and giving a chance for personal hearings. It is a sad fact that most of the Senior Service Officers who hold posts like Adjutant General/ Chief of Personnel in Air/ Naval HQs are clueless on the nitty gritty of pension matters and rely heavily on Civilian Staff Officers with closed narrow minds and in many meetings they are taken for a ride by the Babus who are armed with reasons for not agreeing to the demands. To my mind the only AG who could outwit the civilian counter parts with facts and rationales was Lt Gen SK Sinha who after he became VCOAS was superseded by Indira Gandhi for the post of COAS as she thought that he was a thinking General who knew too much and the Bureaucrats planned his supersession as they knew that sooner or later he could convince the political class against the advice of the Babus in all matters concerning the Armed Forces. I am saying this with a full sense of responsibility because I had the good fortune of being a Staff Officer in the AGs Branch during his tenure as AG.
9. I must share this with you. On one hand the Babus scare the political class that conceding OROP to Armed Forces will open a flood gate of similar demands from Civilians. I do not know how many are aware that after the 5th CPC the disability element of pension of civilians became almost three times more than that of Armed Forces as Disability pension for 100 percent disability was calculated @ 30 percent of the Last Pay. Where as for Armed Forces it was pegged to 2600 pm irrespective of the Rank. Pre 1996 Civilian disability pensioners were also given modified parity. The civilian letter was issued in Sep 2001. The Armed Forces letter was issued in Jan 2001. I was perhaps the only Armed Forces Officer who protested against the disparity in Dec 2001. The Army HQ did not support my plea. In fact the Maj Gen who was the ADG PS gave me a lecture that we are a poor nation and “The cake is small and has to be shared by many. “ (His exact words). He boasted that the draft letter initiated by him on Disability Pensions was approved without deletion of even one comma or full stop by the Ministry. After retirement he was given civil re-employment and is still serving in some post beyond the age of 65. After a series of reminders and threat of a RTI my plea was rejected by the Ministry of Defence after 4 years and conveyed to me through a special Despatch Rider late in the evening. I sent a rejoinder representation for a personal hearing by the Defence Ministers Appellate Committee for Pensions. No reply was ever given.. I gave up because in a Court of Law it would be held that Civilians and Armed Forces are subject to different service Rules.
10. I was hoping that the 6th CPC would undo the injustice. The CPC recommended but the Babus ensured that it would be applicable only to post 2006 Disabled Armed Forces Personnel and not to forgotten veterans like me who were wounded and disabled 45 years back. I am glad to report that after 20 months of Representations including to the Parliamentary Committee on Petitions, by me almost single handed (but this time supported by Service HQs) the Government has conceded administratively and issued a letter on 15 Feb 2011 applicable to all pre 2006 disabled pensioners applying the Modified Parity system based on percentage of Revised scales. As a result my Disability element for 70 percent has increased from Rs 4116/- pm to Rs 10794/- pm (with corresponding increase in DR) wef 1/1/2006. The Babus very well knew that the Supreme Court has laid that whenever Pension Formula changes it has to apply to all old pensioners from the same date as given to new pensioners. This is the only time I have got a Pension redress other than through the Court. We got it 10 years after the civilians but Thank God for this mercy of Better Late Than Never.
I am sorry that this communication has become long but words did flow from the heart and mind to share these thoughts with you all.
Comment: IESM is an apolitical body and the protest methods adopted is Satyagraha- true Gandhian format- peaceful and soldier like. Let us for now join Anna Hazare and root out corruption. Once this is achieved OROP will be automatically granted as corrupt babus will think twice to degrade the Military!