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Friday, 7 September 2012

From Today's Papers -07 Sep 2012
Be prompt, liberal with leave: Antony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Defence Minister AK Antony today issued detailed instructions on making the life of jawans easier in the armed forces.

He asked the forces to be liberal with leave applications and asked the Defence Secretary to coordinate with the Railways to ensure prompt ticket confirmation for jawans going home on leave.

Antony had convened a meeting today in the backdrop of more than 100 jawans committing suicide annually. A recent suicide had led to stand-offs between jawans and officers at Samba in Jammu and Kashmir.

Chairing a meeting to review cases of fratricides and suicides in armed forces, Antony said the three Services should ensure that all the leave applications of jawans are responded to promptly with a liberal approach by their officers-in charge, official sources said.

The meeting comes after the Defence Minister told Parliament that a stand-off between officers and soldiers of an armoured unit had taken place on August 8 after the suicide of a jawan.

In the same written reply, the minister had said that over 25,000 soldiers had quit the force in the past three years pre-maturely. Over 62 Army jawans have committed suicide till August 27 this year.
Sachin Pilot commissioned in Territorial Army
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Sachin Pilot was today commissioned in the Territorial Army as a Lieutenant. He became the first serving Union minister to be commissioned as a regular officer in the Territorial Army.

At a ceremony held here in South Block, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh and Sachin Pilot’s mother Rama Pilot pipped ranks of Lieutenant, formally commissioning him as officer in the 124 TA Battalion of the Sikh Regiment.
‘One rank, one pension’ for civil servants too
Pay and pension anomalies have arisen from the Sixth Central Pay Commission. To address these for defence personnel, a panel has been set up. A similar one is required for the civil services
R.K. Sehgal

Frustrated over the lack of response from the government, thousands of senior retired civil and defence services officers have filed 40-50 court cases in various Central Administrative Tribunals, Armed Forces Tribunals and High Courts regarding anomalies in pay and pension, which have arisen from the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC), effective from January 1, 2006.

Senior officers are getting much less pension than officers three or four ranks junior. The pension of a pre-2006 retired major-General is about Rs15,000 less per month than that of a brigadier, colonel or lieut-colonel retiring now. Similarly, the pre-2006 retired chief engineers in Punjab and Haryana are getting about Rs15,000 less per month pension than the superintending engineers, executive engineers and even the SDOs retiring in 2012.

The Prime Minister has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to look into the pay and pension issues of the armed forces. The logic behind appointing a committee only for defence personnel is not clear, as the problems faced by both defence and civil services officers are similar and have arisen from pay revisions done from time to time. Moreover, the Sixth Central Pay Commission was common for both the services. The pay scales as well as DA rates are identical and the Pension Rules are almost the same too. Hence, a common approach is called for.

Each pay revision during the past 26 years has affected adversely the pay and pension of senior officers of both civil services and the armed forces. The system of bunching of two or three stages of the pre-revised pay scale at one stage in the revised scale in the 1986, 1996 and 2006 pay revisions, and one anti-stagnation increment for every two years' service had resulted in washing away of about half to two-thirds service of the senior officers, resulting in lower pay and consequently lower pension for the rest of their life. This has given rise to the various anomalies.

The following steps, based on the Preamble and Article 39(d) of the Constitution, "next-below junior principle", recommendation of the Sixth CPC, and relevant Supreme Court judgments, will help resolve the pay and pension issues of serving employees as well as pensioners of both the services.

Serving employees

The principles of "equal pay for equal work", as enshrined in Article 39(d) of the Constitution, and "next-below junior" should be followed in revising the pay of the serving employees. The pay of the serving employees should be fixed in the revised pay scales by allowing one increment for each year of service and one increment for each promotion to remove the cumulative distortion caused by "bunching" and "anti-stagnation" in the 1986, 1996 and 2006 pay revisions. Moreover, the Sixth CPC has recommended running pay bands to avoid stagnation during 33 years of service.

The pay of the employees should have been revised at least 3.1 times the pre-revised pay in the same ratio as the pay of the Apex scale/Chief Secretary has been revised. But the pay has been revised only 2.26 times the pre-revised pay (after merging DA, DP and 40 per cent fitment benefit). This is not justified in our socialist country as it violates the Constitution. The pay of the top level officers and judges has been revised to 3.0-3.4 times, giving a huge benefit of up to Rs 34,200 + DA as shown below:

S-34 (Cabinet Secretary): From Rs 30,000 to Rs 90,000 (3.0 times, benefit Rs 34,200)

S-33 (Chief Secretary): From Rs 26,000 to Rs 80,000 (3.1 times, benefit Rs 31,640)

S-32: From Rs 24,050 to Rs75,500 (3.1 times, benefit Rs.30767)

S-31: From Rs 22,400 to Rs 75,500 (3.4 times, benefit Rs.33836)

The pay of the officers in the civil services and defence services should be fixed in the pay band PB-4 (Rs 37,400-67,000-plus grade pay) by allowing one increment for each year of service (beyond the eligibility of PB-4) and one increment for each promotion. For example, if an officer has served for 18 years and the eligibility for PB-4 is 12 years, then his pay should be fixed after allowing six increments in PB-4. Similarly, if an officer has put in 24 years service and has earned two promotions, his pay should be fixed by giving 14 increments in PB-4. This will remove all anomalies.

The Sixth CPC has recommended at Para 1.2.9 to provide a common pay band for all functional posts in the pay scale of Rs18,400-22,400 and above. The CPC had accordingly recommended a common pay band PB-4 for four pre-revised pay scales, S-29 to S-32, but the government arbitrarily created a new pay scale, HAG+ (Rs75,500-80,000), for senior IAS officers of S-31 and S-32 scales only. Later, under pressure from the armed forces, another scale, HAG (Rs 67,000-79,000) was created for Lieut-Generals and equivalent (S-30), but the pre-revised S-29 scale of Major-General/Chief Engineer and equivalent (Rs18,400-22,400) was left in pay band PB-4, thus disturbing the Sixth CPC recommendation. The upgrade of five pre-revised scales (S-24 to S-28) to PB-4 has caused further distortions.

To remove the humiliation faced by the senior officers, the government should implement in right spirit the recommendation of the 6th CPC at Para 1.2.9. Accordingly, the pay scale of the functional posts of S-29 and S-30 should also be revised to the pay scale HAG+ (Rs.75500-80000) as already done for S-31 and S-32 scales.

Pensioners' case

"One rank, one pension" (OROP) follows the principle of "equal pay for equal work", as provided at Article 39(d) of the Constitution. Pension is considered as deferred pay and is given to a pensioner in lieu of long satisfactory service rendered by him. The OROP for 33 years' regular service for each rank in an organised cadre (with pro rata reduction) should be given irrespective of the date of retirement. It is strange that the top level officers such as Cabinet Secretary, Apex Scale Secretaries and the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are already enjoying the benefit of OROP. For example, all Chief Secretaries are getting a pension of Rs 40,000, irrespective of the date of retirement. In a socialist country, the higher rank officers cannot be given some benefits while denying the same to the lower ranks. This violates the Preamble and Article 39(d) of the Constitution.

Pay revision on notional basis of pre-1996 and pre-2006 pensioners should be done in the same way as was done for pre-1986 pensioners. The Central government in an order dated February 10, 1998, had laid down the procedure of revising the pay on notional basis for pre-1986 pensioners in the revised scale of pay for the post held by the pensioner at the time of retirement - in the same manner as for serving employees - as many times as the pay was revised since the Fifties. The pension/family pension was then recalculated. This procedure was, however, not followed in 1996 and 2006 pay revisions, resulting in anomalies.

The pension of pre-2006 pensioners should be revised to at least 3.1 times the pre-revised pension in the same ratio as the pay of the Apex scale/Chief Secretary has been revised. But the pension of pre-2006 pensioners has been revised to 2.26 times the pre-revised pension (after merging DA, DP and 40 per cent fitment benefit).

The pre-2006 retired officers have been given pension at the minimum of the pay band PB-4 for 33 years' service, whereas they were drawing pay at the maximum of the pay scale at the time of retirement. After 33 years' service, an employee is at the peak of his career and draws pay at the maximum of the pay scale. Hence, his pension should be at the maximum of the pay band.

The pre-2006 pensioners are a diminishing lot. They are feeling humiliated in the evening of their life. The above steps will not impose much financial burden, as the post-2006 pensioners are already entitled to the enhanced pension.

The writer is a retired Chief Engineer of the Haryana Power Generation Corporation.

Supreme Court judgments

Two rulings of the apex court, if implemented in right spirit, will help resolve most of the anomalies in pension:

Pay revision on notional basis

The Supreme Court directed on September 9, 2008, in the Maj-General SPS Vains case (CA 5566-2008) to revise the pay of pre-1996 retired majors-general on notional basis on a par with similar serving officers of the same rank from 1996, and then calculate the revised pension. This is what the government had done for all pre-1986 pensioners vide its order dated February 10, 1998. A similar order should have been issued for pre-1996 and pre-2006 pensioners too.

Common rules for pre and post-2006 retirees

The Constitution Bench on December 17, 1982, held in the DS Nakara case that the pensioners form a homogenous class and cannot be divided on the basis of the date of retirement.

Accordingly, the Liberalised Pension Rules issued in 1979 were made applicable to all pensioners, irrespective of the date of retirement. On the same basis, common Pension Rules should have been made for pre-2006 and post-2006 pensioners.
Indian Army youth delegation visits Sri Lanka
Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 12:56 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 06, Colombo: A youth delegation comprising of 24 children of Indian Army families accompanied by two academic staff visited Sri Lanka from 30 August - 05 September 2012 under the 'Youth Exchange Programme' of Sri Lanka Army's Viru Daru Society.

The delegation was received at the Bandaranaike International Airport by Ms Deshani Jayasuriya, Chairperson, Viru Daru Society and several members of the society.

The visit is aimed at promoting youth exchange between the two Armies and better understanding.

During their stay in Sri Lanka, the youth delegation had interacted with their counterparts in Sri Lanka through various programmes. The visiting delegation and youth of Sri Lanka Army families interacted in cricket, swimming and a few more games.

They proceeded on a cultural tour to Kandy, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Trincomalee. In the evening of 04 September, the youth of Indian Army and Sri Lanka Army families presented at the Defence Services College auditorium in Colombo a glittering 'Cultural Show'. The Cultural Show featured age-old Bharatha Natyam performances, group dancing, traditional dance forms of both countries, music and various styles of Sri Lanka's folk dancing.

Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Mrs Manjulika Jayasuriya, President, Seva Vanitha Army Branch were the Chief Guest at the event. The event was also attended by P Kumaran, Deputy High Commissioner of India and other officers from the Indian High Commission.

The youth delegation visited India House in the morning of 05 September. Ashok K Kantha, High Commissioner of India hosted a tea for the visiting delegation, members of the Viru Daru Society and Sri Lankan Army officers connected with the visit.

The High Commissioner interacted with the children who shared their experiences of the visit. The delegation departed for India in the evening of 05 September carrying with them good wishes of their Sri Lankan friends and fond memories of their visit to Sri Lanka.
A total lack of strategic sense among the political leadership in New Delhi was the root cause of the bruising 1962 Sino-Indian war, experts said at a round table here Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of a conflict whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day.

"There was a total lack of strategic sense at the political level. The first mistake was at Bandung (the 1955 Asian-African conference) when India recognised Tibet as a part of China," former Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Sharma said at the round table "50 years after 1962: India-China Relations.

"Once that happened, it followed that the borders as they existed would have to be relooked," Sharma said at the event jointly organised by the India Internaional Centre, the Society for Policy Studies (SPS) and the Subbu Forum.

"In any case, India's borders were given to us by the British which was never accepted by China," he added.

Indicative of the lack of strategic thinking, Sharma said, was the fact that repeated reports from the army's long-range patrols of Chinese incursions,particularly in the Aksai Chin area, were ignored by prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

He also faulted Nehru for not considering Aksai Chin to be of strategic importance because "not a single blade of grass grew there" as the prime minister had famously stated in parliament, attracting the ire of the opposition.

"If no grass grows in your backyard is it still not your own?" Sharma asked.

Adding to the army's woes was the almost vertical split in the officer corps over loyalty to defence minister V.K. Krishna Menon.

"The officer corps was split, from the colonels to the generals, into the pro and agnostic camps. If you were pro Krishna Menon you were promoted; if you were agnostic, you were ignored. As junior officers, we wondered what to do with the political hierarchy," Sharma revealed.

Sharma, in fact, echoed the previous speaker, Air Commodore (retd) Jasjit Singh, who pointed to the "failure" of the higher defence organisation in the decade leading up to the 1962 war, a situation that still prevailed.

"The higher defence organisation failed from 1954 to 1962, a situation that has still not been repaired adequately. Worse, during the war, the chiefs of staff committee did not meet even once.
Army officer corps was split during Sino-Indian war, says former army chief
The decisions were taken by the minister and a joint secretary in the defence ministry."Thus, it is not Nehru alone but the defence minister who was more responsible" for the debacle, Jasjit Singh, who heads the Centre for Air Power Studies, contended.
Speaking about the lack of air support for the ground operations during the war, he said army headquarters never asked for this as it feared that if the Chinese fighters also went into action, this would disrupt the logistic support that was being provided by the Indian Air Force's transport planes and helicopters.

Then, the "politcal leaders of Bengal put pressure on Nehru not to use the air force (fighters) as they feared Calcutta would be bombed and their memories of World War II (when the city was sporadically bombed 1942-44 by the Japanese) were still fresh," Jasjit Singh said.

According to veteran journalist and commentator George Verghese, who reported on the 1962 war for The Times of India, the genesis of the conflict lay in the "mistaken belief that an unprepared Indian Army could take on China.

A year before, the Indian Army had overcome Portuguese resistance to free the western India state of Goa from colonial rule and this led to complacency that this could be replicated with the Chinese, Verghese said.

"Politics determined the military disaster. India never learnt the lesson that borders are more important than boundaries," he added.

The round table was the first in a series of four that will review the 1962 conflict from different perspectives.

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