Friday, 5 June 2015

First Anniversary of my Petition to Prime Minister - Celebrations or Commiseration


Air Marshal (retd) S Y Savur PVSM AVSM
Tele: + 91 9449676278                                                                   141 Jal Vayu Towers
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Ref: SYS/10525/Armed Forces                                                    Dated: 5th June 2015          


Shri Narendra Modi, MP
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
5, Race Course Road,
New Delhi – 110 011 

Some Issues Affecting the Serving & Retired Personnel of Armed Forces
Has PRAGATI Worked; The Hope, The Hubris, The Truth

Bharat mata ki Jai

Dear Hon’ble Pradhan Mantri, Pradhan Sevak & now also Pradhan Santri,

            On 6th June 2014, I was catalysed by the hope you engendered that India will under your Govt, henceforth have a clean, responsible, transparent, accountable and no corruption (dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power) by Government and Bureaucracy. Buoyed by this hope and (under the above reference) I had requested your permission to place the following five issues affecting millions of personnel of Defence Forces, serving, retiring & retired for your resolution: -

1.1.      Rank Pay matter consequent to the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in IA No. 9 of 2010 in TP (C) No. 56 of 2007 in Union of India Vs Lt Col (retd) N K Nair & Others,

1.2.      MOD’s compulsive appeals against decisions & orders of the Armed Forces Tribunals, High Courts & Supreme Court,

1.3.      One Rank One Pension (OROP) which the PM-candidate and later PM (from September 2013 at Rewari till 26th May 2015), promised would be implemented expeditiously (at least faster than the UPA Govt as I understood),

1.4.      Denial of Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) to officers of the Armed Forces who face immense stagnation due to the pyramidal structure, and

1.5.      Enabling Ex-Servicemen travelling abroad to avail medical treatment in emergencies only and reimbursement through the Ex-Servicemens’ Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).

Action in PMO on my letter/petition

2.         Your office very kindly informed me in reply to my RTI request PMOIN/R/2014/60940 vide RTI/4922/2014-PMR  dated 10th September 2014  that the petition has been forwarded to Secretary, Ministry of Defence, GoI for appropriate action vide PMO No. 7/3/2014- PMP-4/July2 dated 17th July 2014.

Action in MoD on my Pettion

  3.       In reply to my RTI request MODEF/R/2014/61707 dated 17th September 2014, MoD replied online on 28th October as follows: -

It has been informed by Office of Defence Secretary that the PMO ID No. 7/03/2014-PMP4 dated 17.7.2014 has not been received in this office. Further, Central Registry of this Ministry has also informed that they have not received the aforesaid PMO reference” (emphasis supplied).  

4.         As I was wondering if this is the kind of treatment that the PMO gets from the MoD i.e. stating a letter from PMO has not been received despite PMO providing me with photocopies of the Diary, what would be the fate of serving Defence Forces personnel and Ex-Servicemen, the MoD vide ID No. 1(1)/2015/D (Pay/Services) dated 18th March 2015 provided the following reply: -

“A copy of letter dated 06th June 2014 received from Air Marshal (retd) S Y Savur on the above subject is forwarded herewith. The following issues have been raised in the representation: -

            (i)        Rank Pay Case
                        (ii)       Grant of  NFU
                        (iii)      MoD’s appeals against decisions and orders of AFTs, High Courts, Supreme Court
                        (iv)      One Rank One Pension
                        (v) Re-imbursement of medical claim to veterans in emergency under ECHS when on holiday/tourism abroad.
            2.         So far as issue mentioned at (i) is concerned, the Supreme Court order dated 4.9.2012 on Rank Pay has been implemented. A Contempt Petition has been filed by the petitioners in this matter which is presently sub-judice. Regarding issue mentioned at (ii) above, it is stated that grant of NFU was one of the five recommendations considered by Cabinet Committee. The Committee recommended that pay related issues may be specifically referred to the next pay commission for its consideration as the Pay Commission is the expert body set up for this purpose which can examine these issues in a holistic manner. Government has accepted these recommendations. The matter has been referred to 7th CPC.  

3.         As the remaining three issues mentioned above pertain to Deptt of ESW, they are requested to take further necessary action in the matter.”            

5.         On 1st April 2015 vide Dy No. 807/2015-D(Pen/Pol), the Deptt of ESW provided the following reply: -

          “Please refer to your letter No. SYS/10525/Armed Forces dated 6th June 2014 received through D (Pay/Services) ID No. 1 (1)/2015/D (Pay/Services) dated 18th March 2015 on the above mentioned subject.

          2.           D (Pen/Pol) is concerned with para 1 (iv) OROP. The principle of One Rank One Pension has been accepted by the Government. The modalities for implementation were discussed with various stakeholders and are presently under consideration of the Government. It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the Government.”

6.         The copy alongwith letter under reference (with enclosures) was forwarded to D (Pen/legal) in r/o para 1 (iii) and D (WE) in r/o para 1 (v). Sadly, till date no reply has been received.

7.         The most important issue I wish to bring to the attention of the Hon’ble PM is that a letter forwarded by the PMO and purportedly not received in MoD in July 2014 suddenly is discovered in March 2015! So much for the responsible and accountable bureaucracy!

Cabinet Secretary Committee report

8.         Sir, this is not an isolated incident.

8.1.        Vide RTI online application reference MODEF/R/2014/61820 dated 4th October 2014, a request was made to MoD for a photocopy of the Cabinet Secretary Committee report quoted in MoD reply dated 18th March 2015. The said report also considered OROP and did not recommend implementation for financial, administrative, and legal reasons.

8.2.        Vide MoD ID No. 35 (1)/2013/D (Pay/Services) dated 21st October 2014, MoD stated as follows: -

“…..3. regarding providing a copy of the Report of the Committee, it is stated that the said Cabinet Secretary Committee was serviced by Ministry of Finance, therefore your application is being transferred to CPIO, Ministry of Finance (Deptt of Expenditure)”…. “In this connection Deptt of Expenditure letter 128/EV/RTI/2013 dated 4.9.2013 may also be seen.” 

8.3.        Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO, a First Appeal MODEF/A/2014/60286 was filed on 7th November 2014 with MoD. Simultaneously, another request for information DOEXP/R/2014/60517 dated 7th November 2014 was filed.

8.4.      Vide two letters 202/EV/RTI/2014 and 203/EV/RTI/2014, both dated 5th November 2014, Deptt of Expenditure denied the Report on the grounds that “report is marked as SECRET.”

8.5.      In reply to a RTI application MODEF/R/2014/61916, the MoD vide No. 35(1)/2013/D (Pay/Services) dated 7th November 2014, provided details of referring the said Report to 7th CPC in an unclassified ID vide No. 22(4)/2012/D (Pay/Services) dated 17th October 2014 and reproduced Para 39 and Para 41 of the said Secret Report. 

8.5.      Consequently, a First Appeal was filed with Director (Administration) & Appellate Authority, Deptt of Expenditure, MoF and sent by Regd Post, AD on 19th November 2014.  

8.6.      Director (AG-I) & Appellate Authority, MoD vide No. 35 91)/2013/D (Pay/Services) dated 4th December 2014 stated, inter alia, 

“3.       The CPIO transferred the request to Ministry of Finance (Deptt of Expenditure) as they were the serving Ministry for the said Committee. Further the Report of the Committee has been classified as “Secret.” Therefore, the decision to give a copy of the Committee Report is to be taken by that department only….”  (emphasis supplied).

8.7.      On the other hand, and contradicting the MoD’s assertion, Director (Administration) & Appellate Authority, Deptt of Expenditure, MoF stated vide AA/21/2014 dated 9th December 2014 as follows: -

“2.       I have carefully gone through the facts as available in the file and found that although orders relating to recommendations of the Cabinet Secretary Committee regarding pension have been issued and pay related matter has been referred to 7th CPC by MoD, but the process of downgrading the Security grading of the relevant file is not yet complete. This Department has not received any communication from MoD confirming that the security grading of the concerned file has been downgraded…….” Emphasis supplied. 

8.8.      Now, vide its MoD ID No. 35 (1)/2013/D (Pay/Services) dated 2nd February 2015, quoting Deptt of Expenditure, MoF ID No. 16/EV/RTI/2015 dated 13th January 2015, the request has been referred to Deptt of Pensions & Pensioners Welfare in the Ministry under the MoS of the PMO. Sadly, 5 months have elapsed and there is no decision!

Pay, Allowances & Pension Anomalies related to Defence Forces
9.         After a delay of two years (2009-2011), the much reviled UPA Govt constituted the Cabinet Secretary Committee referred above on 7th July 2012, for recommendations related to Pensions, Pay & Allowances of Defence Forces. The progress of the Committee and follow up by the UPA Govt is as follows: -

9.1.      7th July 2012 – Cabinet Secretary Committee constituted to examine anomalies of Pay, Allowances & Pension related to Defence Forces           

9.2.      12th July 2012 – Terms of Reference and Constitution of committee amended

9.3.      22nd August 2012 – Committee submits its Report and recommendations are as follows: -

9.3.1.   The Committee recommends improvements in pensions of retired officers, JCOs and ORs,

9.3.2.  The Committee recommends referring the pay & allowances issues of serving Defence Forces personnel to the soon to be constituted 7th Central Pay Commission, and

9.3.3.  The Committee does not recommend implementing One Rank One Pension due to financial implications, administrative reasons and legal reasons

9.4.      24th September 2012 – UPA Govt approved recommendations as follows: -

9.4.1.   Orders on minimum guaranteed pension for retired officers, improvements in pensions for many retired JCOs and ORs,

9.4.2.  Pay & Allowances of serving Defence Forces personnel to be referred to 7th Central Pay Commission for “a holistic view,”

9.4.3.  Places OROP in cold storage.

9.5.      17th January 2013 - MoD issues implementation orders for minimum guaranteed pension for retired officers and improvements in pensions for certain categories of retired JCOs/ORs.

9.6.      Total elapsed time – 183 days.     

10.       Then, stung by your oration of September 2013, the UPA does a U-turn and in  February 2014 approves OROP, and earmarks Rs 500 crores as a token allocation. The MoD follow up is given below: -

10.1.    On 26th February 2014, notifies constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG
) to “furnish an implementation order in consultation with Service HQ [who in turn may appropriately consult ex-servicemen], Deptt of ESW and MoD (Fin)…” [vide MoD/DESW/2014-D (Pen/Pol)] dated 26th February 2014,

10.2.   The JWG, ultimately constituted on 24th April 2014, held its first meeting on 2nd May 2014, the second meeting on 8th of May 2014, the third meeting on 9th of May 2014, fourth meeting on 15th May 2014, (minutes of which the O/o CGDA refused to divulge under the RTI Act, 2005 vide CPIO/AT/2014/HQ/II/1529 dated 17th July 2014), made a presentation to then Defence (& Finance Minister) Shri Arun Jaitley on 12th June 2014 and went into hibernation/was dissolved.

10.3.   All I read in the print media or watch on the TV is the different estimated financial impact, the hold up at some 2 or 3 steps in the administrative aspects and, finally your statement in Man ki Baat and read in The Tribune about the complexities and other obstacles in a speedy implementation of OROP.

Total elapsed time: 376 days and counting

11.       Therefore, I am faced with a piquant situation

11.1.    Do I believe the celebrations and declarations of BJP on its anniversary of  maximum governance, improvement in transparency, speedy decisions and follow up through PRAGATI? 

11.2.    Do I believe that such delinquency (denial of receipt of ID dated 17th July 2014 from PMO and then providing replies in March 2015) or opacity? 

11.3.    Do I believe that OROP is such a complex issue that implementation orders have not been issued even after 365 days, when the same MoD [assisted by Financial Adviser (Defence Services), CGDA] finalised the implementations orders had them vetted by Deptt of Expenditure, MoF & Finance Minister of the vexed UPA Govt and issued them within 4-5 months dated 17th July 2013?

11.4.    The pathos of a decorated (Vir Chakra) and disabled (loss of one eye and one hand) ripping of his eye piece and taking away his prosthetic glove and swearing never to wear them again till be receives OROP, probably reflects the anguish of 25 lakh ESM, widows and NoK.    

12.       Sir, On the first anniversary of the only letter I have written to any Prime Minister do I celebrate in the belief what Shri Arun Jaitley, Shri Manohar Parikkar and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, all esteemed Ministers tell me  - that we are in “acche din?”


Will I get commiseration for, having placed such high hopes, believing repetition of words about commitment to providing a transparent, accountable, and responsible bureaucracy or wonder, in the case of OROP at least, what is different from the UPA Govt’s neglect of the ESM till February 2014?  

Bharat Mata ki Jai    Jai Jawan, Jai Hind

With Regards

(S Y Savur)

Copy to:

1. Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Finance Minister, North Block, New Delhi – 110 011

2. Shri Manohar Parikkar, Hon’ble Defence Minister, South Block, New Delhi – 110011

3. Dr Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble MoS, Ministry of  Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi - 110 003


  1. I wonder if the PM will have time to see this with his busy schedule abroad. Apparently he does not have any idea what OROP is all about and he is making misguided statements picked up from the staff.

  2. Kudoos for putting the entire issue in perspective and showing the true picture to the PM. The sycophants in his circle will put up only the good news and know how to flatter the boss. The hard hitting piece is true statement of hard facts and lets hope reaches the PM at the helm of our country.

  3. It is highly improbable if anything in relation to OROP, or anything else, for that matter, occurs without a very significant 'by design' component. I think by hindsight the notion, of the top most layer of Government functioning without "any idea", appears naive.

    As to why some other notable and very knowledgeable commentators on these subjects occasionally try to shift the blame on the lower bureaucracy, almost being at pains to paint the political class as "innocents" being misled, is a mystery that can only be pondered on.

    Anything that happens, or does not happen, in affairs related to veterans would appear to be heavily influenced by thinking and interests of the services headquarters, the bureaucracy, the political class and, not to forget, loud voices of associations and organisations seeking to represent ESM concerns with heavy, mostly unseen, political influences.

    What we see or perceive at the ground level may not be the full picture of underlying realities.

  4. Sir,

    I would like to seek the following information from the PMO on this letter under the RTI Act:
    1. When this letter was received in the PMO?
    2. What are the remarks/directions of the hon'ble PM?
    3. What action the PMO has taken to disseminate the directions to authorities concerned and request for copy of the same.

    May I request u to kindly guide me whether or not am entitled to seek this information. Shall be grateful for the reply.
    With regards
    Lt Col(Retd) R S Dasila

    1. 1. The letter was received in PMO on 11 Jun 2014; No remarks/directions appear to have been given by the PM.The PMO sent the letter to Secretary MoD on 17th July 2014. Shri Krishan Kumar, Director & Appellate Authority stated in reply to my appeal PMOIN/A/2014/60177 that their responsibility ends when they transfer the petition to MoD and quoted Shri Ketan Kantilal Modi Vs Central Board of Excise & Customs in Appeal No. CIC/AT/A/2008/01280 dated 29.9.2008.

      I was provided photocopy of the dispatch and receipts register of PMO to indicate that the letter was sent to MoD and received there.

      Nothing much will come out of a RTI application by you that is already known/placed on this blog.

  5. Amazing coincidence - DP&PW in reply to RTI request DP&PW/R/2015/60293 of a few days ago regarding hold up of a decision to give me a copy of the Cabinet Secretary committee report, replied 25 hours ago that a reply is being sent in hard copy!

  6. Yes, orop and many other issues are held up ! By persons ,who approach these issues by ? what do I gain ,! I hear , the person who is holding up the expenditure file is already a billionaire and this ex of 8k crores does not add up to his wealth.