Friday, 16 September 2016

Why a Facts Check is mandatory in today’s charged environment

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful, and murder respectable.

- George Orwell

[Head note: Volume III of the 3rd CPC Report is available with Digital Library of India and also available with this author, if requested for.] 

           If the huge PMO can be misinformed, [recall ‘swachh’ village Jayapur’s toilets sans water supply or the ‘electrified’ Nagla Fatela in Hathras region with its ‘katia’ connections] and not do a ‘fact check’, why blame senior and retired Armed Forces Veterans, placing unflinching faith in their ‘personal knowledge’, memory, emotions and sentiments?

As a comment on the politicians and Competent Civil Authority is not germane to the subsequent encounter with truth, let us confine ourselves to facts to debunk fiction masquerading as facts.   

Many senior Veterans appear not to be in the habit of doing a fact check now that they do not have the services of their staff, who would have placed a ‘bulleted brief’  for their ‘information and necessary action.’ Deprived of diligent staff work, it becomes imperative to do a fact check before putting pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. If only they had done a ‘fact check,’ it would have given them information to consider their value of their assertions.

Take the senior Veteran who wrote with feeling that the Chiefs of the Armed Forces have been downgraded from No. 2 in the WoP to No. 12, losing sight of the fact that after independence we have Constitutional office bearers like the President (No.1), Vice President (No. 2), Prime Minister (No.3), Governors, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India etc. A little more reading would have revealed that in UK the Lord Admiral is on page 3 of the protocol list, and in USA, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is 53rd, even below the Post Master-General (who is at position No. 50).  

But, Senior Veteran Armed Forces officers have spoken or written ‘manufactured facts,’ only to fight, with a violence of words, their unmasking in silent embarrassment. They do not seem to mind that they are feeding a frenzy of misinformation and the consequences could be spread of disaffection. It could be the shorter attention to detail span, made worse by relatively a low knowledge base, and readiness to believe anything that either boosts ‘the cause’ or denigrates the other side.

Take the senior Lt Gen who was allegedly told by a PSO of Army HQ about ‘pronouncements’ of another Veteran ‘making things difficult for Tri-Services Pay Cells in their arguments with the Govt.’ How is it that the PSO was not asked why the Armed Forces with its huge HQ staff was unable to counter one individual? The veteran Lt Gen said that he used “personal knowledge” to refute a fact that Armed Forces officers were always reckoned to be equated with IPS in the matter of pay and allowances.

That senior Lt Gen who took upon himself to refute from ‘his personal knowledge’ that Armed Forces Officers’ pay was related to Class I and IPS officers without either any document to back him or having read Paras 6, 7 & 8 of Chapter 50 of the 3rd CPC Report, (a copy of the Report emailed to him) which state, inter alia: -

6.      The basic proposal made by the Services with regard to pay scales of Services officers is that the relativity established for this purpose between the Services officers and officers of Class I Central Services and the Indian Police Service (IPS) was wrong. They have argued that the Defence Services Officers and IPS officers should not be equated as their methods of recruitment, job content and conditions of service are completely different and that the functional roles of the two Services are not comparable. According to them, the Services officers should be equated with the officers of the Indian Administrative Service on the basis of the content of the profession of military officership (sic), the qualification of military officers today and their responsibilities. As for factors like turbulence, exposure to hazards and risks and truncated career, the Services feel that these should be compensated by grant of separate allowances and liberal retirement benefits.

7.       In support of their demand, the Services have asserted that in the past their pay scales were fixed in comparison with pay scales prescribed for the highest civil service. This is not borne out by our examination. We find that the pattern of remuneration adopted for KCIOs differed from that applicable to officers of the Indian Civil Service and in fact the nexus was between the pay and allowances of British officers serving in the Indian Army and those of KCIOs. This is also evident from factual information furnished by the Services (emphasis supplied).        

8.      The Post War Pay Committee had explained that they framed their proposals for Service officers “having regard to the recommendations of the (1st) Central Pay Commission and particularly to the scales proposed for the Class I and all-India Police Service (Para 9 of Enclosure 1B of the Summary put up by the Chairman, Post War Pay Committee).” These proposals were formally approved by the Service Headquarters. The Raghuramaiah Committee which was appointed after the Second Pay Commission mentioned (Paragraph 25 of the Report of the Departmental Pay Committee (Raghuramaiah Committee) as follows: -
We consider that the accepted parallel between Defence Service officers and Class I Service of the Central Government, particularly the Indian Police Service should be continued.”

We find that on both these bodies the Services were represented and it is thus evident that the existing relativity between Service officers and the officers of Class I and the IPS came to be established by the bodies on which the Services were fully represented so that the Services Headquarters should be deemed to be parties to the conclusions arrived at. It is only from 1962 when the maximum of the Major’s scale was fixed at the same level as that of the senior scale of the IPS (which was made slightly higher than the senior scale of Class I Central Services that this broad relativity acquired a new preciseness and modifications in the IPS scale became the raison d’etre for changes in the Armed Forces scales at corresponding levels(emphasis supplied).   
Two others senior Veterans stated, in different literary pieces, that the Armed Forces had OROP from 1947 till 1972. Of these two, the former at his effusive best, stated that while the Armed Forces brought glory to India in 1971, the 3rd CPC rewarded us by lowering pay, pensions and ‘izzat.’ The other stated the same as authoritatively, adding (for authenticity?) that “we were governed by Separate Pay Commissions till the 3rd CPC.”

Facts are as follows: -  

Prior to 3rd CPC the Armed Forces proposals for pay, allowances and pensions were not examined/recommended by separate Pay Commissions but by the Post War Pay Committee in 1947, by the Armed Forces Pension Review Committee in 1949-50, by the Raghuramiah Committee in 1960 and the Kamath Committee in 1968,

It is recorded that every one of these Committees had senior officers of the Armed Forces as members, and finally

There was an Expert Cell of the Armed Forces to assist the 3rd CPC set up in August 1970 comprising three senior Services officers of the level of Major Generals, and the Expert Cell submitted its report in June 1971.

[Chapter 48 titled Reference and Procedure, Vol III of 3rd CPC Report.]

Armed Forces personnel had a Standard Pension and not OROP till 4th CPC. The Veterans might want to know what Standard Pension meant. Standard Pension was a fixed amount for each rank irrespective of the numbers of years of service in that rank above a minimum required to be eligible for pension. For example all Captains with 20 years or more of service were given a Standard pension of Rs 300 per month. In Para 7 of the Chapter 53 of Vol III of the 3rd CPC report is this statement: -

“7. Although the Services favour the continuance of the existing standard rate system, they have pointed out that the pension earned by a Service officer is related to the minimum service prescribed for the rank and not increased if the actual period of qualifying service rendered by him is more” (emphasis supplied).  

The First Anomaly and No Defenders of ‘The Cause”

Why haven’t votaries and defenders of traditional parities brought out the deprivation of the ‘traditional’  but higher Basic pay for Flying Branch and Naval Aviators from Plt Officer to Wing Commander and Naval equivalents from the 4th CPC onwards? (Emphasis supplied).

It is a recorded fact that prior to 3rd CPC, all Armed Forces officers, other than Flying Branch and Naval Aviators, started with Basic Pay of Rs 400 for 2nd Lt. 3rd CPC recommended a start of Basic Pay Rs 750 for 2nd Lt.

On the other hand a Plt Offr/Actg Sub Lt of the Flying Branch/Naval Aviator started at Rs 475 prior to the 3rd CPC, and 3rd CPC recommended that their Basic Pay start at Rs 800.

A deprivation of 11% (approx) in start of Basic Pay! Why hasn’t this be raised as an anomaly in the 4th or subsequent CPC? Why, for sake of “traditional parity” demand that the advantage of a higher basic pay be restored for officers of the Air Force’s Flying Branch, Naval Aviators, and now Army Aviation Corps from Lts to Lt Cols as it was before 4th CPC?

Don’t believe this post? Read Para 19 to 32 of Chapter 50, Service Officers Pay, Officers of General cadre and Pay of Special Groups in the Third CPC Report respectively.

Is it because one PCC had ‘reportedly’ recommended for inclusion in the JSM that Flying Pay should not be paid to Air Commodores (Brig) and above because they don’t do “active flying.’ That is also ‘reported’ to have recommended a sector-wise Flying pay with those flying in Siachen getting a higher Flying Pay! Implementation of that recommendation would have led to a repeat of the situation when different rates of flying pay were suggested for fighter pilots, transport aircraft and helicopter pilots and navigators leading to fire fighting by VCAS and several AOsC-in-C in 1998.

“Resign, Resign, Resign” Goes the Cry, But what does it entail

Then there are Veterans egging on the Chief (s) to resign. Here is another fact check: -

          Pension Regulations for the Army – Part I (Revised 2008), and

Admiral DK Joshi's resignation as navy chief after taking "moral responsibility" for the February 26 INS Sindhuratna mishap which claimed the lives of two officers was a farce. A day after he quit, Joshi realised he would not be eligible for post-service benefits like pension and gratuity and so, he moved a fresh application, stating his resignation be considered as voluntary retirement (VRS). A top defence ministry source said the government has accepted Joshi's application for VRS. Defence minister AK Antony recommended that the application be considered a 'special case’ (source: Pradip R Sagar | Wed, 12 Mar 2014 06:45am, New Delhi, dna, “Rules bent for ex-navy chief DK Joshi's retirement benefits.”)

The news report has not been contradicted.

1 comment:

  1. Admiral DK Joshi's resignation story is real eye opener. Everyone shouts for the resignations of the Chiefs in the cause of gains in veteran's pensions not knowing that the three Chiefs will be deprived their pensions.