Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Why is the Print Media losing its Objectivity?

TV anchors need the shouting, screaming and more to make sure nobody switches channels to watch Wimbledon, or a F-1 race, or even a replay of when India last beat whatever (Zimbabwe, Ireland etc don't qualify!). But the print media has the time to research and report to uphold Satyam Ev Jayate. But...............   

Dear Shri Rajeev Deshpande,
Having read your write-up datelined 07 Sep 2015  in Times of India, which I thought would not sensationalise and use facts to state its position. Alas...how the mighty have fallen!
I felt the need to rebut some of your observations/opinions with simply, the facts.
(A) Terms & Conditions of Service: - Perusal of the Indian Army, Navy or Air Force websites will show you that there is no mention of Personnel Policies i.e the Promotion Boards, the ratios for each Branch and each rank etc.
2. Till 16 Dec 2004, Major & equivalents in Navy and Air Force were empanelled for promotion to Lt Col & equivalents in their 17th or 18th year of service and promoted, if found fit. Every officer who was found unfit for promotion was empanelled in the next two consecutive years.
3. If he was not promoted in the 3rd Promotion Board, he was considered Permanently passed over and the Army, Navy or the Air Force, with the approval of the MoD i.e Govt of India, gave him the option of continuing in that rank till he attained the age of superannuation/retirement for that rank or leave the Service. Costs of training, foreign deputations (of as less as 6 months with UN missions) were all added to the costs before the officer or OR/JCO was given the freedom of being an Indian citizen not incarcerated by the Army/Navy/Air Force Acts, 1950.      
4. After 16 Dec 2004, on the recommendations of the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee constituted by MoD/GoI, Majors were promoted to Lt Col in the 14th year of service, not being empanelled by Promotion Boards, providing he/they achieved a Minimum Performance Rating and there weren't any disciplinary, vigilance or security bars.
5. After 16 Dec 2004, a Lt Col empanelled for promotion in the 22nd, 23rd and 24th years of service and not promoted to rank of Colonel was promoted to time scale Colonel in the 26th year of service subject to restriction enumerated in S No. 4 above.

(B)  Opting Out or seeking Premature Release (PR): - Every officer or OR has the option, approved no less by GoI/MoD and subject to the terms and conditions in the PR (HR) policy to leave the Service. 

Many do, because they find themselves working under and being accountable to officers who are years junior in service. The officers and ORs opting out are in the ages of 37 to 50. Their children are going into professional colleges, which charge a bomb as donations and fees etc. Pension, being just 50% of last pay drawn + grade pay + military service pay, is often inadequate to meet payments of rent, children education, and least important maintaining a life style commensurate to what they did while in service  when they had the full Pay + GP + MSP.

(C)  Pension for Prematurely retired Personnel: - Defence Services Regulations 2008 (as amended) and Army Pension Rules 2008 (as amended) determine all issues of Pension. You may access it on PCDA (P) website.

In Section 5 of the above, you will find the different types of pensions, the ones germane to this issue is the retiring pension (paid at the time of retiring) and the Service pension, paid for serving in the Armed Forces. There is nothing like Pension after Pre-mature Release!

In Section 9 (b) you will find the reasons that the Govt of India can withhold (as they are doing part of the pension that forms a part of OROP), suspend or discontinue pension, if the Service personnel has committed an act that constitutes waging war against the Govt of India or is part of a conspiracy which is punishable under Section 121 IPC, when he was in service (emphasis supplied). Please read the full Section 9 (b) to understand that just taking PR does not form part of waging war against the State or is an offence punishable under Section 121 IPC.     

Just curious, Mr Deshpande, does the Modi Govt want to deprive the widows of officers who opted out with a Pre-mature release? You did not cover this aspect, neither did Mr Modi in his speech in Haryana on the 6th September 2015!   

(D)  Administrative Costs: -   From the time any one joins the Defence Forces and for 5 years after his death, or the death of the family pensioner of the deceased, records have to be maintained as per General Financial Rules 2008, Annex I. Therefore, records are maintained and utilised for every payment. There will not be any additional cost than which is already incurred as pay, allowances etc of the Pension Sanctioning Authority (PSA) – the PCDA (Pensions) and the Pension Disbursing Authority – the Public Sector Banks. Incidentally, a majority pf the PSA are already on OROP, thanks to the largess of their own in Min of Fin. 

A similar plea was entered by MoD in November 2011 in UoI Vs Lt Col N K Nair (retd) in Transfer Petition No. 56 of 2007 and IA No. 9 of 2010 in TP (C) No. 56 of 2007 quoting a loss of Rs 20, 000 croreand was proved to be a fictional excuse.

Incidentally, the All India Services records are revised annually so that they do not miss being paid Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFU) and are also given a higher Grade Pay. And there are about 4 lakh serving All India Services officers entitled to NFU.

(E)   Number of Ex-servicemen entering and how many depart: - The MoS, MoD declared on the floor of the Parliament last year that there were 29 lakh ESM. About 60, 000 may enter the ESM category but also an equal number or slightly less pass away.

(F)   Pension increases of Rs 65000 to Rs 80000: - The actual calculations will show that the increases are between Rs 1500 pm to Rs 9000 per month at 2014 scales.

(G)  Average Pension: - In the example you have given, are you advocating that a Hav who serves for 16 years and is at the minimum of the pension table (say Rs 12000) should get the pension of a Hav who has served 22 years and is at the maximum of the pension table (say Rs 18000) with the average being Rs 15000/-? 

Yes it is One Rank but 3 pensions – Minimum, Average, and Maximum!   

Hopefully,you and all others research the subject before you let fly!! 


  1. Thank you sir for highlighting the most controversial issue, PMR. In addition to what you have pointed out, I don't think it can be included retrospectively as it will be against the principle of natural justice since the affected veterans when they applied for PMR didn't have the knowledge that certain future benefits to pensioners will be denied to them if they take PMR.

    Also, it will lead to a junior officer(SD/SL) who retired on superannuation drawing more pension than a regular commissioned officer with more seniority retired prematurely. For example, a SD officer with 18 years of commissioned service will get more pension than a senior regular commissioned officer retired prematurely with say 22 years of service even if they have retired on the same date. This totally negates the reason/aim of OROP.

  2. Mr. Deshpande was just exhibiting his ignorance or was he trying to mislead the public. Speak up Mr. Deshpande and be honest.