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GEN. SOC.& POL. ISSUES
The Biggest Losers due to the Sixth Pay Commission Pension of pre - 2006 Majors / Lcdrs / Sqn Ldrs followed by Capt and Lts.
The casuality rate also is always high in case of young officers, during their first 20 years of service, Lt / Capt / Majors/Lt.Cols./Cols. No weightage to this effect has been given for calculation of military service pay by the 6th CPC.
The retired Majors / equivalents ( Herein after referred to as Majors,for brevity ) as a group have been receiving a raw deal wrt their pension entitlements over the years, due to certain reasons, beyond their control. This can be seen from succeeding paragraphs.
The case is being side lined by linking it with "One Rank One Pay" issue, where as it is a unique case in the history of the Indian Armed Forces.
Limited Promotion Avenues.
Before Cadre review, Lt Col was a prime selection grade rank. The COs of Bns, Regts, and of other major support units were Lt Cols, selected from the base of Majors. At different time periods and in different Arms and Services, just about one out of six to eight Majors ( 1 : 6 to 1 : 8 ) were promoted as Lt Cols, by trying to select the best out of the base of good Majors. Bulk of otherwise good Majors, fit and competent, had to retire early as Majors only. The rejection rate was very high.
Lack of Vacancies.
At that time, there were just a handful posts of Colonels ; like the Centre Comdts,some staff posts etc., The Lt Cols were directly considered for promotion as Brigs. Here again, the selection was very limited.The left over Lt Cols continued to hold their vacancies in that rank. This had a cascading effect on the already non-selected Majors, closing the door for nearly all of them. These Majors suffered since then ; and continue to suffer till now,with low pension.
In Armed Forces, age of retirement is linked to the rank held by the officer. Higher the rank, later the date of retirement. The Majors were retired by the Govt very early in life at 48 yrs ( later raised to 50 yrs ), because of which most could not complete 33 years of service for full pension,even with the weightage. Therefore,their pension was reduced to a calculated fraction of an already low pension. That was the age at which their family commitments and liabilities in terms of education and marriage of wards was very high.
To keep the officer profile young and to reduce the strength of superseded officers in units, the voluntry retirements were also encouraged in principle, it was the Govt's policy to release the Majors at 48 / 50 yrs, with a nominal pension.Problems in Reaching the grade of Lt Col ( T S ) The qualifying service required for Lt Col ( T S ) was more than 25 years ; and the Majors were retired early at 48 / 50 years. Most of them could not complete the Q S required for earning the rank of Lt Col ( T S ). The Officers commissioned from the ranks of NCOs - JCOs, suffered the worst. They naturally got their commission late, which left them little time to aspire for higher ranks. Most of them retired as Majors at 48 /50 years,on low pension.
Loss of Life Time Earning.
The Civ counterparts serve upto 58 years of age, about ten years more than the Majors. Because of early retirement, the Majors lose several lakh rupees in terms of P & A for ten years of truncated service ; as they would have been at the upper half of pay scale, when retired. This huge loss, which is applicable to Armed Forces and NOT to Civ ( Majors, in the case under discussion ) is totally missed by the pay commission and the Govt, while working out common pay scales for civ and soldiers.
The recent policy changes in career profile and pension revision have added a new dimension to the already besieged Majors as follows.
Effect of Post 2004 Parity on Majors Before 2004, a commissioned Officer required 13 years of service and passing of promotion exams, to earn the rank of Majors ; whereas, after 2004, with exactly the same QRs, the officers become Lt Cols. Thus,the erstwhile Majors, for all practical purposes should be treated equal to post 2004 Lt Cols, at least for pension parity; but in reality, the Majors get a pittance of pension, comparable NOT to the Lt Cols,as should be ; but to Hony Capts. There is a strong case to increase the pension of existing Majors on pension strength.
Added problems by 6th CPC. The 6th CPC has caused a lot more harm to Majors on Pension than the 5th CPC. Please see these comparative figures given below regarding the pension of Lt Cols vis - a -vis Majors. ( in Rs per month ) CPC Lt Col Major Difference 5th 7,550 6,400 1,150 6th 25,700 14,100 12,600
The 6th CPC / Govt have widened the gap in pension between Majors and Lt Cols, by a large margin. These Pensioned out senior Majors have silently suffered so much already. They have been again given the short shrift by both the 6th CPC and the Govt. They had little promotional avenues ; had to retire early ; lost huge sums by way of reduced life time earning ( as compared to Civ counter parts ) and got truncated pension due to early release and are now paid Rs 12,600 per month less pension than their equivalent Lt Col ( T S ). This is gross injustice.
Comparison with Lt Col (TS)
The job profiles of Lt col ( T S ) and Major are very much the same. In fact, Lt Col ( T S ) are posted against the vacancies tenable by Majors. But, a Lt Col ( T S ) earns a pension of Rs 26,700 while a Maj gets only Rs14,100 ; that is, Rs12,600 less than the time scale Lt Col. please compare this wide gap to the narrow difference in pension of Cols over Lt Cols ( Rs 350 only ) ; Brigs over Cols ( Rs 100 only )
D A Depressed on real terms of Money.
Since D A is calculated as a % of pension, their D A will also be less by Rs 12,600 x 27 % = Rs 3,400.( Proportionally, there will be more loss with every increase in D A / D P ) The real loss in terms of hard cash is Rs 12,600 + Rs 3,400 = Rs 16,000 per month.This is a huge recurring, cumulative loss every month to them.
Hony Capts / Sub Majs ( JCOs ) Drawing more than Majors.
The low pension of Majors has reached such abysmal levels that some Hony Capts / Sub Majs are drawing more pension that Majors. We can quote examples. At Chennai, a Lt Cdr. draws Rs 14,100 as pension, while a Sub Maj ,his neighbour, is drawing Rs16,000. We are happy that the Hony Capts and Sub Majs get a reasonable pension. Our case is certainly not that their pension should be reviewed. The Majors,who commanded there senior PBOR, are getting less pension than them. Our request is that the pension of Majs, needs to be honourably stepped up.
The Importance of Majors in Forces.
Since we are discussing the pension problem of senior Majors, there is need to refresh their valuable contribution to Armed Forces, to get a correct prespective. Before cadre review, the officers earned the substantive rank of Maj / equivalent after 13 years of qualifying service. By then, they had done all basic professional courses and had passed the promotion exams.With their seniority, they were the real working hands and work horses of the forces. a ) Majs were ' Field Officers ' with lot of responsibility on them. b ) Majs had lead their men as OCs of companies / Batteries / units in war ; and trained them in peace, under the COs directions. So did the Sqn Ldrs and Lt Cdrs with their command of Sqns and designated ships respectively. c ) The casuality rate is always high in case of young officers, during their first 20 years of service, Lt / Capt / Majors. d ) Military Administration , both routine ( commanding men, unit discipline, pay rolls, Koth, morale, ration, unit accounts, health of men, fire drills etc., ) and non -routine ( Cs of I, S of E, Bds of Offrs, garrison duties, ceremonials etc., ) rested mainly on the shoulders of Majors. e ) Training of Capts and Subelterns was under the watchful eyes of the Majors. These king pins of the armed forces should not be humiliated with very low pension, in their twilight years. Their contribution to the professionism of Army,Navy and Air Force should be well recognised.
Discussion on Possible Relief Options.
Shifting Majors/ Equivalents to PB - 4.
The most important factor in this suggestion is that it is first applicable to serving officers ; and then to the pensioners. It means that serving officers with 6 years service ( Current Majors ) will enter the PB-4 scale of 37,400 - 67,000. ( Even lesser service in case of AMC / ADC / RVC and other officers with antedate commission. )
A very large number of civ officers ( including Def civs ) of S-21, S-22, S-23 categories are on P B -3 scale of 15,600 - 39,000 with Gde Pay of Rs 7,600.They get a lesser pension of Rs 11,600 only. ( No MSP element ). If the Majors are moved to P B-4, however genuine our case may be, the civ will bring heavy pressure on Govt through their Unions and JCM to shift them also to P B -4. The Govt is not going to miss on this point. The Govt is not likely to accept this proposal. It may be recalled that 6th CPC and Govt initially placed Lt Cols also on PB - 3 only. It was quite a task for the service chiefs to move the Lt Cols to P B-4. A fresh initiative to move Majs also to P B- 4, leaving only a small number of retd Capt and Lt pensioners in P B - 3 may not find favour with the Service HQ. It is for consideration, if this proposal is worth persuing against such heavy odds.
Creating a New Pay Scale between P B - 3 and P B - 4 ( as PB-3 A or PB-4 Minus ) Another suggestion in circulation is creating an intermediate pay scale between P B - 3 and P B - 4 ( variously named as PB - 3 A or P B - 4 minus ) to bridge the huge gap between Majs and Lt Cols. Again, such a scale shall be first applicable to serving Majors with 6 yrs service onwards. No scale can be created to accommodate only pensioners. Since 6th CPC followed by Govt orders are combinedly applicable to military and a hoard of Civ officers, the Govt will have to adjust a large number of civs as well in the new scale. This suggestion is not likely to find favour.
To Fix the Majors' Pension at Maximum of P B -3 Scale.( 15,600 - 39,100 )
One of the proposals mooted is to grant exception to pre - 2006 Majors and base their pension at the highest level of Rs 39,100 instead of 15,600. The Govt, in their implementaion orders on 6th CPC, have given partial parity to pre 2006 pensioners, by fixing Capts / Majors pension at the threshold of P B - 3 pay scale at Rs 15,600. Same is the case with pensioners on PB-4 scale. A similar proposal was forwarded to Govt for all Military officers (under both P B-3 and PB-4 ), to which the Govt has not agreed. The recurring financial effect will be enormous. An important point is that all Majs might not have reached the maximum of the pay scale and would have retired en route, at some stage of the scale. If maximum of scale principle for pension is adopted, many will get unearned higher pension of unreached levels, which lacks financial sanctity. This will not find favour with the govt or courts, for obvious reasons. It is another matter that, if exception is granted to pre 2006 Majors only, there will be clamour from other civ and mil officers, to make the exception a rule for all, with their own justifications.
Bringing the pre 2006 Majors on par with pre 2006 Lt Col ( T S ) for pension purposes. . Lt Col ( T S ) are posted against Major's vacancies. Both ranks are functionally the same. After Cadre review, most Majors had the advantage of extended retirement age on one hand and the shortened length of service reqd to become Lt Col ( T S ) on the other hand ; both of which were not available to erstwhile Majors, who retired at 48 / 50 yrs of age. Hence, there is good justification to equate Majs with Lt Col ( T S ) for pension purposes. This proposal involves only adjustments with in military ranks ; so, the civs can have no say in it. The Civ associations / unions / JCMs can not intervene. The Govt can not take cover to scuttle the proposals citing possible demands on civ side. Therefore, this proposal can be vigourously persued on sound logic.
Application of 20 years service for full pension.
In the cases filed in Supreme Court, after favourable judgement in Nakra's case, it is true that the Supreme Court did not allow OROP ; but they have laid down unambiguously that any new principle applied to one set of pensioners will be applicable ex post facto to all previous pensioners also, with out any cut off date. Now, applicability of 20 years Q S for full pension ( with out fractionalisation ) is one new principle applied to post 6th CPC pensioners ; there is no legal bar as to why it can not be applied equally to all old pensioners - Majors and equivalents in this particular case.
This will be another good option to persue.
Recommended Final Course of Action.
Having considered all the above options on merits of each, it is suggested that the case be persued on following lines. a )Clubbing pre 2006 Majors / Equivalents with pre 2006 Lt Cols ( T S ), notionally for pension purposes. b ) Applicability of 20 years service for full pension. Both the above suggestions are winnable propositions. They,duly combined, can give substantial relief to Majors / Equivalents.
Some extracts taken from the publications Posted by Indian ExServicemen Movement.