Thursday, 24 April 2014

CDM Seminar: Questions and Answers



Notes:

From the seminar held at CDM on 5 Mar 14

Words in parenthesis ( ) are inserted by Aerial View to make for easier reading.

Certain parts, such as salutations have been edited out but the gist has been re-typed intact.

Names of Querists have been omitted.

Session I


Question 1: Was the implementation of Supreme Court judgment in the Rank Pay factored into your study, for instance pre-6th CPC, Lt Col was getting Rs 13500. Whether cumulative effect of previous pay commission was taken into account while undertaking this study?

Answer by Panel: Yes, this was considered by the team in entirety, right from Third Pay Commission. Inputs from pay cells of all three Services were taken as to how NFU would be implemented and the methodology of implementation before working out the four options and recommending the most preferred option.

Additional comment by Member, AFPIC, Air HQ (VB):      There was a meeting with Hon’ble RM on OROP last week. This was due to the doubts raised by many on the scope of OROP as outlines by Mr Chidambaram in his budget speech. They asked the definition of OROP from Service HQ which was provided as “OROP would mean same pension to two personnel who retired with the same rank and same length of service irrespective of date of retirement. Any future enhancement of pension would be passed on to past pensioners also.” This was officially agreed in the meeting. RM also agreed to extend this concept to family pension. Services HQ requested to include disability pension and war injury pension also in this concept which was also agreed to. RM also reiterated that (Rs) 500 crore is the nominal amount and finance is not the constraint and this will be implemented whatever be the amount. Payments would be effected from 01 Apr 14 and Service HQ, CGDA and MoD should work together to give the best package.

Additional comment by Lt Gen (retd) K R Rao:          Let us not go by what the defence Minister has said. We have to get that very clearly from the Finance Minister. Many a times we have got promises from the Defence Minister but it does not find its way (through the Finance Ministry). This has been the experience with previous and present Finance Ministers. He suggested to the Pay Cell members that they should not get complacent by the promise of the Defence Minister.

Question 2: So far a few issues and suggestions have been brought out. First was with respect to de-linking of pay scale (from rank) which Gp Capt Bhaskaran brought out. When the post of 2nd Lt was done away with in 5th CPC, unfortunately the Captain’s post did not climb up but was brought down to the post of 2nd Lt. Our pay scale should have started much higher like Rs 8250. So there is a danger in doing away with Lt Col and Brigadier. That is when Lt Col rank is vacated, it is occupied by Colonel. Same would be the case with Brigadier rank (and Maj Gen). Suppose we pitch for increase in grade pay of all officers from Rs 8900 to Rs 10000 then we can be rest assured that this will be done for all Gp ‘A’ officers who are drawing grade pay of Rs 8900. So situation will not change; it will just climb to higher level of Rs 10000.

          JAG are those officers of Gp ‘A’ who are drawing grade pay of Rs 7600.This we are attaining after 9 to 12 years of service instead of 16 to 19 years of service.           
          As part of Option IV, in the list of advantages it was mentioned that status parity will be achieved but financial parity will not be achieved. However, the opposite is correct. This is because in financial parity a Col (TS) when compared to a IAS officer rises upto the rank of Secretary till 54 years of age, when he retires and is drawing higher emoluments. What he is suffering from is status. This aspect needs to be kept in mind. This can be calculated and found that at 54 years the Col gets the same emoluments as (an) IAS officer who has now become Addl Secy.

          In 2013, the pension drawn is actually greater than what was shown. Actually Rs 5858 is the pension of Sepoy at 19 years of service retiring on 31 Dec 05 or earlier. So at 2013, pension of the Sepoy retiring after 19 years of service will be much higher. In UK, there is a strong move to get the Services under the new pension code i.e. the contributory pension scheme.

A word about representative pension existing between post-war pay committee and the 3rd pay commission. The Chief’s pension was Rs 1000 in those days and all other pensions were drawn with reference to (the) Chief’s pension. However, between the first and third pay commissions there was no rise in the pay of the Chief as a result his pension remained constant. So the major who was drawing pension of 70% in the post war committee in 1946 descended to 36% in the third pay commission. So the model representative pension may not serve our purpose. What are the comments of the panel on this? 

Answer by the Panel:    The team did deliberate on the Option IV wherein it was brought out to do away with Lt Col and Brig rank(s). There would be Command and Control issues but as in the Navy, where the Commodore and the Captain (ranks) are interchangeable, a similar thing can be implemented in other services between Lt Col and Col and Brig and Maj Gen. A detailed study needs to be carried out on this issue and also comparative study with respect to other Armed Forces of the world has to be carried out.  
Question 3: Was there a study on pay disparity between Govt and non-Govt employees?

Answer by the Panel:    This was not done as parameters are different and it is not right to compare Armed Forces with the corporate world.

Question 4: This is with respect to the emoluments drawn by Col (TS) and IAS officer at 24 years of service. The MSP is a special pay given to the Armed Forces personnel for the circumstances in which the Armed Forces personnel work and it should not be included in the emoluments when calculating parity. An IAS officer joining at the age of 26 years would be in the appointment of Addl Secy after 28 years but he would be in the pay band of Rs 67000 and not Rs 37400. So he would definitely draw more pay than Col (TS).  

          Before the 5th CPC, the pay scale of Lt Col was Rs 13500 and Rank Pay was Rs 1600. Total pay would have been Rs 15100. This would have placed his as equivalent to Director. Director was at Rs 14300 but was put in the pay band of Rs 37400 and grade pay in the 6th CPC of Rs 8700 whereas Lt Col who was actually drawing Rs 15100 was put in grade pay of Rs 8000. Will this be taken into consideration when we present our case in the 7th CPC?     

Additional Comment by a Panelist:          In OROP, while calculating and making the base for OROP, even if we compare after 01 Jan 06, a Lt Col retiring with 30 years of service will get a tentative (pension of) of Rs 30000 and a Lt Col with similar service retiring in 2015 will get Rs 38000*. A difference of Rs 8000 will exist. Hence, there is a requirement to dynamically change the OROP every year so that the entire benefit would be given to an officer retiring earlier. A Jawan retired in 1967 or 1973 as a Sepoy. Today a Jawan is retiring as a Havildar because of ACP. So, when we implement OROP, then the Jawan who retired earlier should be given pension of Havildar. The DGL should go in that matter.   

(* Aerial View – How? Since both Lt Cols will start at the same amount of the pay band (Rs 37400 + GP Rs 8000 + MSP 6000), there appears to be some error in this calculation as the Lt Cols starting at the figure on the pay band will get 3% increment till they reach 30 years of service, whether in 2014 or 2015! Please see another post on this blog for estimated figures.)   

Answer by the Panel:    The study team had specified the multiplication factor as X% rather than laying out the quantum of X. DA would be added to this X. This X will vary and it will not remain the same once decided and will not be addressed by subsequent pay commissions.

Additional Comment by a Participant:     On 31 Jul 14, there will be 14 Brig who will be retiring with a pay of Rs 81900# i.e. Rs 1900 more than an Army Cdr and they will get a pension of Rs 950 more than the Army Cdr. Similarly, the Col (TS) would be getting a pension of Rs 81700 but 7th CPC could change that datum. I fully agree that because of the running pay band and MSP should not be considered while calculating emoluments, but the civilians consider MSP also as part of emoluments, whether we like it or not. We have to find ways to counter this. 

(# Aerial View – if a Brig (starting at Rs 43390 + 8900 + 6000) is promoted to that rank at the age of 48 he will reach Rs 82850 in the 14th year of his service as Brig! But even the COAS retires at 62 years of age. Unless the Querist has included DA, which anyway is not reckonable for calculating pension!! )
 
Additional comment by Member, AFPIC:                   As brought out by Lt Gen (retd) Rao and Brig Rao, the pay cell is actively monitoring the OROP implementation as told by the Defence Minister. The pay cell is also working on certain models and would definitely take the views of CDM before finalising it.

Question 5:          Right till 3rd Pay Commission, the Armed Forces had an edge over civilian pay scale. This has to be kept in mind in the 7th Pay Commission. Maj Gen and above lost out on the advantage of rank pay and MSP when pay fixation happened. Their pay got stagnated. That resulted in a case like a junior getting more pay and pension. Army Cdrs get the pay of Secretaries and Chiefs get the pay of Cab Secy. But no MSP is given, hence they lose out on the edge over civilians. These factors need to be considered for the 7th CPC. Another point in OROP is that the definition has to be interpreted correctly. A person having the same rank having one year service and another with 10 years service will get different pensions. As per present definition both should get the same pension since both are holding the same rank. This is a challenge while implementing OROP. What are the views of the Panel on this?     

Answer by the Panel:    The length of service has to be taken into consideration while deciding pension. Otherwise there will be no motivation for Armed Forces personnel to work beyond the first day of picking up his rank. There will be problem for retention in service.

          The point is valid because the Supreme Court in 1997 was also in a dilemma on the definition of OROP. The definition has a hidden parity and point is taken. Since this is questioned by the law itself, the definition should be all encompassing. This definition was agreed to in consultation with Army HQ and Air HQ but the first para needs to be re-visited.  

          The point is, whatever we may wish, the MoD has to be taken on board as in the case of Maj Dhanapalan’s rank pay issue. In spite of the Supreme Court giving the order, it has been twisted and amended the way they want to. The pay cell should throw some light on this issue. 

Additional Comment by Lt Gen (retd) Rao:      Supreme Court had given clear cut order in Major Dhanapalan’s case** and all three Service HQ had unanimously agreed to implement it. However, MoD (Fin) had put some objections and approached Supreme Court again. This case has been partially won and the rest also will be resolved. This case should not be linked to 7th Pay Commission. 

(** - Aerial View – UoI’s SLP in Maj Dhanapalan’s case was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 12 Jul 2005. It was in the TP (C) No. 56 of 2007 in UoI Vs Lt Col N K Nair & others that the Supreme Court gave the orders on 08 Mar 2010 which was challenged by UoI in IA No. 9 of 2010 followed by orders against UoI on 04 Sep 12. It is CGDA’s case supported by MoF/DoE that its interpretation of limiting the payment of arrears to 4th CPC that has been challenged by Lt Col N K Nair & Another in Contempt Petition (C) No. 328 of 2013.  

Session II

Question 1: R/Adm (retd) Alan O’Leary, a participant addressed the question to the two (retired) IDAS officers in the panel. He said that both IDAS (retd) officers had been associated with the Armed Forces for a number of years and that there were no problems in functioning with them. However, he said that post the 6th Pay Commission, when the Armed Forces were fighting their cases in the MoD, the two lady FADS that he had the opportunity to interact with were ignorant of the cases of the Armed Forces and that they were also against the Armed Forces. He thereafter asked the two retired IDAS officer why such wrong doing against the Armed Forces has to be defended.   

Answer by the Panel:    Mr Cowshish answered that he could not comment on the actions of the FADS’ and neither on pay matters as he had never handled pay and allowances issues. He however said that the ignorance of the FADS’ can be conceded because for example a person who has spent 30 years in artillery would definitely have 100% more knowledge than someone who has just come to the Ministry with almost no background on matters military. He emphasised that in such situations what is required is dialogue and more often than not, post the dialogue, the ignorant and uncaring civilian understands the point. He further said that no system is perfect and neither is every individual the same and the merit in each case comes out post discussions. Certain persons behaving in a particular manner is more of an individual mind-set than a class mind-set.     

Question No.2:    The question was addressed to Dr Mishra. It was brought out that, in the experience of the Querist, the MoD took very long in resolving issues and for this he illustrated with an example from the 5th Pay Commission. He said that the Major’s scale in the 5th CPC was fixed at Rs 11600-11925 0n 29 Feb 2000. However, only officers promoted to rank of Major post this date, were given the new pay scale. The seniors were not. This led to a situation wherein seniors were getting less pay than their juniors. The matter was taken up with Finance which took the matter up with Mod in 2000. The issue was finally resolved I 2008 only an necessary orders were issued. The Querist wanted to know that when everybody was aware of the correct thing to be done, why the MoD took so long in deciding the issue. The Querist’s feeling were repeated by a number of others who quoted a number of minor pay and allowances related cases of the Armed Forces which had been resolved by MoD post delays ranging from one year upwards.

Answer by the Panel:    Dr Mishra replied that he was of the strongest opinion that the Armed Forces should have a separate pay commission, much in the manner of the education sector which had opted for their own pay commission last time around and had emerged very well satisfied with the deal that they had got from the government. Regarding the question about the delays, he said that he was surprised that the issue took eight years to resolve because when he was PCDA in Mumbai there were 112 such cases pending for six years and he had resolved them in six days. All it took was getting the right information from the Service HQ. Mr Cowshish further added that he had alluded in his speech that delays are a reflection of the inefficiency in decision making and that he agreed that nothing could remain pending for years together. The problem in his view that people in MoD do not know how to say ‘No’ and hence they sit on issues hoping that the problem would go away which was again an indicator of inefficient decision making processes.

Question No. 3:   The Querist said that he had worked in the BRO and MES and he was of the opinion that all was not well in both the organisations due to anomalies and the down-gradation of Service officers that had happened in both organisations over the years. For example, as per the Warrant of Precedence, Colonel and Chief Engineer were at the same level in these organisations. However, today a CE is drawing a Grade Pay of Rs 10000 while a Colonel is at Grade Pay of Rs 8700. Secondly, a re-designation of civilian officers in these organisations was carried out by MoD in 2003 because they were cadre controlling authority. As per the re-designation, a post tenanted by a Superintendent Engineer/Lt Col equivalent was re-designated as Director. Now, since a Director post is tenanted by a Colonel in Service HQ, the erstwhile SE started equating himself to a Colonel and expected the Lt Col to serve under him. These issues, he said. Lead to Command and Control problems in these organisations on a day to day basis. He further continued by saying that his second point was addressed to Dr Mishra and Mr Cowshish as to why there was no clarity on certain issues namely Rank Pay not being counted towards determining status when it was used to determine all other allowances and the like. He further stated that the 6th CPC had added another controversy of the grade pay and while there was a notification which states  that grade pay is to be used to determine seniority within a particular cadre, the MoD was using it to equate between civilians and Service officers. He wanted to know from the two retired civilian officers as to why civilians always got the benefit of doubt from the MoD.       

Answer by the Panel:    Mr Cowshish replied that he felt that there was some typecasting and that he did not know why he should be replying this question but he was of the opinion that if there were anomalies then they needed to be removed in a time bound manner. He continued by saying that he did not hold a brief for any system which discriminated against either civilians or Armed Forces personnel. So, if an Addl DG on the Border Roads felt aggrieved about serving under a service appointed DG with a lower grade pay then similarly Service officers in the quoted example in the question has an equal right to feel aggrieved. He further said that it was incorrect to always start with the assumption that I am a Service officer and all that I say is right while everybody else is wrong.   

Quoting the example of the Colonel and the Chief Engineer equivalence he said that as per BRO regulations the status of the Chief Engineer is the same irrespective of him being a GREF officer or a Service officer. It is hence better not to make an issue out of something which is just a local skirmish because if you do so it will only result in self-righteous indignation.

Additional Comments by the Panel:                   At this point a number of officers interjected and Lt Gen (retd) Rao brought out that the examples quoted above were real problems and that they could not be brushed off as local skirmishes. R/Adm (retd) O’Leary said that when it came to the pay and allowances of Armed Forces personnel, civilians kind of banded together and made it into a us vs. them issue.

At this Mr Cowshish again took up the mike and said that in his opinion such problems, wherever they exist either on the civilian or army side, needed to be resolved impartially but to carry out a demonization of civilian officers and that civilians do things deliberately would be wrong.

Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh joined the discussion here and said that committees set up to look into such issues of anomalies and status parity should do their job completely and not add to more problems. He quoted the example of NFU, which has been given to all civilian officers in the BRO and MES but not to Service officers. This, according to him, has led to further issues among the personnel of these organisations.

Mr Cowshish again interjected and said that while he and his fellow Defence Accounts cadre personnel had no role to play in the pay commission, he was aware that in today’s setting he was personifying the evil civilian and that he had only one point to make finally and that was that there was a tremendous amount of self-righteousness about every point made and that this was queering the pitch and made individuals lose sight of logic, thus preventing the problems from being resolved. Problems, wherever they existed, need to be resolved on both sides, whether civilian or military.           

Session III

Question 1:          I have a point regarding bench marking the uniformity of two areas, one is the entry point and the other is the retirement age. So to give you an example, I am a select Gp Capt in the Air Forec. My age of superannuation is 54 years. Why it is 54 years is because I am from the Flying branch. If I had been a time scale Gp Capt with 26 years of service, then I would have to superannuate, being in the Flying branch, at the age of 52 years. Now I am in a tri-Service establishment, where the Army figures are different. In Army, whether Select or Time Scale Colonel, the superannuation age is 54 years. I also would like to take this opportunity to point out another similar anomaly within the Air Force in the Flying branch and the Ground Duties branch, where once again the superannuation ages for the same rank are different. My suggestion is that since pay and pension is a Services matter, there should be a commonality.          

Answer by the Panel:    Lt Gen (retd) Rao said, “Yes, this point was discussed in the previous pay commission, therefore I request member of AFPIC, Air HQ (VB) to reply to this point.”

Additional Comments by Member, AFPIC:       Sir, the point is valid, but the difference is not between Flying and Ground Duty branches, it is also between various Ground Duty branches like Medical, Met etc. It is more related to when you come into service, age and qualification. For example, the age of superannuation of Edn branch for both time scale and select Gp Capt is 57 years. However, the point raised is to be considered that there should be rationalisation of age of retirement and why bring it to 57 years for officers and not 60 years for all. It shall be dealt with in due course and shall be considered. 

Question No. 2:   I have one suggestion to make. I don’t know whether it is there or not, the question of having a separate Pay Commission or representation in the 7th CPC. I have one suggestion, why don’t we ask for pro-rata representation in the cell, for example the railways comprise the maximum, say 15% of Central Govt employees, the CPC should have 15% representation by Railways, so similar thing we can bank on, thereby the number of Service personnel in the Pay Commission Cell can go up. 

Answer by the Panel:

Lt Gen (retd) Rao:        A quick response, for the sixth pay commission, we represented in the same fashion. We have no objection in the service like railways have 22 lakh employees and we have 14 lakhs, if I remember the figures correctly. We have no problem in having more members from the railways but we want our member in the pay commission cell. On second thoughts, let me assure you that if at all there is a single member from the Services, he shall be outwitted and they will say your point was not through but your member was there. So I do not think that a member is going to bring any change. That is my experience of the sixth pay commission. We will have to fight, we have to fight at COSC, we have to fight as tri-services a fight as serving and retired personnel. My personal opinion is that (having) a member shall not make any major difference.   

Additional comment by R/Adm (retd) O’Leary:         I fully agree that the methodology has to change, the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force have to butt in. 

Additional comment by Lt Gen (retd) Rao:       Lots of things happen on the personal front at the level of the Chiefs. For example, the introduction of three categories of high altitude allowance. This could happen because then COAS was flying over this region along with Defence Minister and he took this opportunity to explain the issue. So lots of things move on personal equations of the Chiefs level, but coming back to the point, (a) member in the pay commission will not have desired results. Another point I have to make is that a number of allowances had been projected and they were rejected. But the same needs to be projected again. It is nice to see the old-timers (of AFPIC) and they are aware as to why the points were rejected. Accordingly, this time the pay commission cell would be mature in giving suitable replies.   

Question No. 3:   It is not a question but a suggestion as per Central Govt rules, we are supposed to be given two years child care leave, which is being implemented for Central Govt employees, but not for us. So, in case it is being implemented it is fine, if not then we can ask for child care allowance, especially for a couple, both serving in difficult areas.  

Answer by the Panel:    Absolutely valid point; Hope the pay commission panel will look into it.
    
Question No. 4:   Another point; we are getting education allowance for children which is around, I think, Rs 12000 per year. It is too meagre for children education to put them in good schools and besides that we claim the allowance and most of the time they ask for the bills and it is difficult to keep the bills. I think there should be a god fixed amount for education allowance so that our children can be taught in good schools.

Answer by the Panel:    Point well taken; the next time the projection should be pitched very high and regarding documentation, when we talked about LTC, we asked why do you want to submit claims, let the amount be automatically deposited in the officer’s account. In this regard they said, forget it, if some one is not claiming, I am saving money (for) the Govt. 

Question No. 4:   A third point is about transport allowance, which is different for different (categories) of cities where we get different transport allowance. But the rate of petrol and diesel are almost the same. How do we cater for class B and C cities?  

Answer by the Panel:    Firstly, the classification of cities is done at Central Govt level; secondly, we recommended that all allowances to be linked to (rate of) inflation, but it has not seen the light of day.  
Additional comment:    As for tpt allowance is concerned, firstly, the cost of petrol is neutralised by the rise of DA; secondly, tpt allowance was increased by 25% when the DA crossed 50%, so in a way the higher price of petrol has been compensated for, so it may be looked in a different manner.

Additional comment bt Member, AFPIC:          Regarding the children education allowance, it was brought up from Rs 40 per month to Rs 1200 per month. We shall tray to place a case for a better amount. Regarding the child care leave, it is reverse gender discrimination. A (recently bereaved) widower shall not get child care leave whereas a lady will get it. We shall try to get this anomaly corrected. 

Additional comment by R/Adm (retd) O’Leary:         On this education allowance, I request Member AFPIC to consider the case of Army Sepoys who retire early. Their children stop schooling, which is an issue related to the pension and one other thing. I would like to mention in the last pay commission there was a representation by Strategic Forces that they wanted 50% more basic pay and double their allowances since they are strategic forces, for which we had not agreed. However they have got field unit allowance, which they get even when they are serving in Delhi.     

Question No.5:    It indeed gives us a short lived & high feeling when we discuss all these proposals which normally we put up as a ritual before every pay commission. I am not hopeful……I am not pessimistic that during this pay commission also we shall not be able to get fruitful results. I have a simple solution to all this, let us not send any representation to this pay commission or be part of the CPC. Divide our strategy into two parts – one part general and second part defence. We go ahead with all that is given to our civilian counterparts for officers and ORs and we concentrate on the military allowances.   

Answers by the Panel:

Lt Gen (retd) Rao: This was the strategy that I was talking about. I said let us get the pay as close as possible with civil counterparts and then let lus concentrate on our allowances that are specific to us.

R/Adm (retd) Alan O’Leary: But what the Govt does is that, they offset our allowances against pay, this is not what we asked for. The best case scenario shall be ‘no separate discussion’ on whatever is given to IAS/IPS/Gp ‘A’ services is acceptable to us and our allowances are a separate issue.

Brig JK Rao:        Sorry, I have a different view. Already there is a disparity in the allowances between Civil Govt ad Armed Forces serving in the same place. First, they should be made applicable to us; in addition to that the Military/Armed Forces allowances are separate. We should get this basic thing right.

Another participant:     But my point is that we should be at par with civil counterparts both in terms of pay and allowances. Subsequently, we should discuss military (related) allowances.

Lt Gen (retd) Rao: There are three types of allowances as I had talked about; allowances that are common with civilian employees, second are the risk related allowances and thirdly, allowances that are Service specific.  

Question No. 6:   Disability allowance and related issues – firstly there is a specific reason to (medically) board out an individual. I want to raise this issue in this forum because there is an example in Air Force, a little short of a year ago, there was a cadet who was seriously injured in a training establishment. As a special case, they got MoD’s approval and commissioned him in another branch six months later. So the point is, if it is pre-commission there may still be some sensitivity as to whether to board him out with whatever compensation or should we carry on with him till his retirement. But it happens in service and there is a precedent, why are we not as benevolent especially in view of the ruling which has come regarding disability. Rather than saying why don’t we give more allowances, why board him out?    

Lt Gen (retd) K R Rao: That is an in-service issue and is not concerned with pay commission.

Question No. 7:   It was said by most speakers that an Army jawan retires at 35 years of age and 17 years of service. My question to the house is, why is he retiring at 35 years and 45 years of age? Is he being shunted out or ACP is giving him a tenure of Havildar? Then he does not become a JCO but let him carry on till the age of superannuation and put the equivalence of pension at that point.

Lt Gen (retd) KR Rao:  There is as service limit which is laid out for various ranks, like a Havildar retires at 26 years of service, So let us assume that a person is recruited at 19 years of ager, by 45 years of age he goes out. But the interesting part of the 6th CPC was that all Armed Forces can be seconded to the police forces. But it was not agreed to by the Home ministry. 

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E & O E

1 comment:


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