Monday, 22 June 2015

ESP Caught between Commitments & Government - update on likley date of hearing in Apex Court

ESP (Ex-Service Personnel including Women Officers) Caught between Commitments & Government
(that moves as fast as its predecessor?)

From the height (2914’ AMSL) and distant (1745 kms) vantage point in relation to Jantar Mantar , South & North Blocks, and subjectivity, the ESP appear to be tormented in worse ways than can be imagined. I received alarmed emails (and a sms from +919779820270) forwarding some information from a star in the pantheon of retired officers with awesome designations and requested for my comments. (Any one knows who this Punjabi speaking person of +919779820270 is? He refused to give me his name and hung up.)

Let me share what I know of each of the aspects of the attributed and reported alarms, sms and utterances. 

A Tragedy in the Making

The writer Bharata Muni, in his work on dramatic theory A Treatise on Theatre (Sanskrit: Nātyaśāstra, नाट्य शास्त्र, c. 200 BCE – 200 CE), identified several rasas (such as pity, anger, disgust and terror) in the emotional responses of audiences for the Sanskrit drama of ancient India. (Source:

Let us have an objective look at an on-going tragedy that would soon be worse than anything that Bharat Muni, Shakespeare or Munshi Premchand wrote.

Commitments by the Prime Minister including removing Policy Paralysis

A retired Lt Gen (used to title himself Lt Gen Emeritus, a term missing from the glossary of the Service terms) has stated on different occasions that “we have full faith in the Prime Minister” etc. It is not the PM anyone does not have faith in but his commitment is in question.

Nobody doubts the Prime Minister for we read that the gentleman, who the PM specially selected and appointed the Defence Minister, states he has sent the OROP file to the MoF some weeks ago. But the deafening silence of the PM other than in those momentous (for ESP) speeches from as diverse platforms as the ESM rally at Rewari (to the deck of INS Vikramditya and to the hypoxic altitudes of Siachen and in that monologue on ‘Man ki baat’ indicate apathy bordering on contempt on speedily fulfilling repeated commitments from the highest Executive office on implementing One Rank One Pension (OROP).

Adding to that silence are the attributed, and alarming, reports that the Finance Minister or his Ministry is inflicting the same excruciating fate on the Defence Minister’s file recommending OROP as the MoD’s civilian bureaucracy does on ESM through a spate of delays, denials and subterfuges. Ostensibly, because Rs 8298 crores is a large amount of money (that the National Exchequer can spare, more about that later in this post).

Complexity & Demands

The Prime Minister has recently added a caveat to his “commitment” on OROP – it is more complex than he thought it was may be a year ago (or earlier).

On the issue of complexity, in the months of berating the UPA for non-performance, policy paralysis, and much else vile that “Indians were not proud of being Indians” didn’t all those famed (or fabled?) information technology wonks/geeks run a Excel sheet and advise him that he was getting into deeper quick sand on his “OROP deke hi rahenge” narratives?

Was the PM not made aware that there exist employees in the Central Government, the Central Police organisations who grandly call themselves Para Military (definition of, relating to, being, or characteristic of a force formed on a military pattern especially as a potential auxiliary military force) would demand OROP but decline to obey the Government’s approval of the recommendations for lateral absorption of Armed Forces personnel in their organisations?

Surely then PM candidate & now incumbent PM was made aware by Shri Arun Jaitley of the contents of the debates in Parliament, including the sole question Shri Jaitley raised in the Rajya Sabha on non-implementation of OROP in August 2010. As records show, the Koshiyari Committee was still considering OROP in 2011 and made its recommendations in December 2011, including that OROP issue was considered earlier and if ESM were not entitled to OROP then a decision would have been taken by the past Governments and declined to be considered quoting the principle of “res judicata” (a matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court and therefore may not be pursued further by the same parties) if it came up again after 2011.     

The PMO (and more importantly, the Finance Minister) must be aware of this, and if it is not then it is time that PMO and MoF obtained the file(s) and put to rest the issue whether the alleged claims of the CPOs (calling themselves Para Military forces) is justified. Anyway, for the busy PMO some ready ‘at hand’ information.

Why Would the BSF and CPOs demand OROP

It is reported that much reviled bureaucracy (more reviled than the 10 year UPA rule!) has raised the bogey of BSF and others also demanding OROP. Let us, objectively, with assistance from the BSF website, examine the BSF’s role vis-à-vis Armed Forces, because it is the closest in its duties to the Armed Forces.
A cursory reading of the Border Security Forces’ website ( brings out (italics used by the author) the following: -

Till 1965 India’s borders with Pakistan were manned by the State Armed Police Battalion. Pakistan attacked Sardar Post, Chhar Bet and Beria Bet on 9 April, 1965 in Kutch. This exposed the inadequacy of the State Armed Police to cope with armed aggression due to which the Government of India felt the need for a specialized centrally controlled Border Security Force, which would be armed and trained to man the International Border with Pakistan. As a result of the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries, the Border Security Force came into existence on 01 Dec 1965…..


The tasks of the BSF are divided as follows:
1.      Peace time:
o        Promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
o        Prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India.
o        Prevent smuggling and any other illegal activity.
In the last few years the BSF has, in addition to their duties, been deployed for counter insurgency and internal security duties.

2.      War Time:
o        Holding ground in less threatened sectors so long as the main attack does not develop in a particular sector and it is felt that the local situation is within the capability of BSF to deal with. The BSF units can continue to remain deployed in particular sector even in a war situation to release the Army for offensive tasks. In the even of a major attack developing, which is not within the capacity of the BSF to deal with, the Army can be expected either to reinforce the BSF with Artillery or other support, or relieve the BSF from its role in the particular sector.
o        Protection of vital installations particular air-fields against enemy commandoes/para troopers or raids. The role can be entrusted to the BSF Units which are placed under the Army's operational Control.
o        Providing extension to the flanks of main defence line by the holding of strong points in conjunction with other units.
o        Limited Aggressive action against para military or irregular forces of the enemy within the overall plan of the Armed Forces.
o        Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including raids. These are tasks which might be entrusted to BSF Units by the Army in a war situation according to local necessity. It would, however, be expected that the state of training and equipment of the particular BSF Units would be kept in view in assessing their adequacy for the tasks.
o        Acting as guides in an area of responsibility where routes are known.  This is a task which the BSF should be able to perform.
o        Maintenance of law and order in enemy territory administrated under the control of Army. Normally, ordinary civil police force would be utilised for this task but the BSF could be used to supplement the civil police or to act in lieu thereof in a situation where civil police is not readily available. 
o        Provision of escorts.
o        Guarding of prisoners of war cages
o        Assistance in control of refugees. It is the intention to utilise civil police force and armed Home Guards etc. for these tasks but again depending upon local exigencies, the BSF might be entrusted with these tasks.
o        Anti - infiltration duties in specified area.  This is an important responsibility which will have to be performed by security forces. The exact responsibility of the BSF in this matter is still under consideration and separate instructions are expected to be issued (emphasis supplied).

New Pension Scheme

New Pension Scheme was introduced by the previous BJP led NDA Govt and announced in the Budget 2003-4. It was notified vide MoF, Deptt of Economic Affairs OM No. 5/7/2003 PR dated 22nd December 2003, and states, inter alia……   

“3. The Government approved on 23rd August 2003 the proposal to implement the budget announcement of 2003-04 relating to introducing a new restructured defined contribution pension system for new entrants to Central Government service, except to Armed Forces, in the first stage, replacing the existing system of defined benefit pension system. (emphasis supplied).

4. The Government approved the basic features of the new pension system; and setting up of an interim pension fund regulatory and development authority (PFRDA).
The main features of the new pension system are given below:
• The system would be mandatory for new recruits to the central Government service except the armed forces……”


Obviously, the BJP led NDA Govt considered the Armed Forces to be different from all other Central Government employees, including the BSF and other Central Police Organisations. An RTI application has been filed with the Deptt of Economic Affairs to ascertain information on the decision of the then BJP led NDA Government to keep the armed forces out of the ambit of the NPS. An update would be provided as and when information is provided.

Segregating/Splitting the Implementation of OROP

Reports by way of emails/sms spread information that such & such a dignitary of an ESP organisation met such & such Central Minister/Minister of State and “suggested if there is a funds crunch, implement the OROP for JCOs & ORs in the first phase and for Officers in the next phase.” Good humanitarian gesture (the term is the seasonal flavour) but ignores certain facts.

Firstly, JCOs and ORs (and their widows) comprise 85% of ESP. Consequently, 85% of Rs 8300 crore is Rs 7055 crore. Therefore the effect of OROP on officers would be Rs 1245 crore. So which would impact the so-called “funds strapped” Govt?

Secondly, ORs, JCOs, and Officers are an integral and unified part of the Armed Forces because it is the most important and essential part of fighting wars. Will this Govt, on the ‘humanitarian’ recommendations of some self-appointed ESP, tear asunder that fabric apart for a few thousand crore rupees?

Thirdly, from the time of Independence, when has the Govt phased implementation of any financially connected recommendations? Pay Commissions or even the Modified enhanced pensions for retired officers, which includes Women (Circular No. 500) and Improved Pensions for retired JCOs/ORs (Circular No. 501) were implemented from the same date i.e. 17th January 2013.   

Lastly, consider the morale factor. Today, the non–implementation of OROP has drawn retired ORs/JCOs and Officers into the streets. The Govt would be ill-advised if it decided to separate the implementation dates and is rebuffed by ORs and JCOs refusing OROP till Officers are also paid.

This author was an eye witness to what happened in the Air Force when 5th CPC was prevailed up on to recommend higher Flying Pay for fighter pilots & lower Flying Pay for Transport Aircraft and Helicopter pilots and Navigators and a marginal increase in the Technical Pay for Engineers. It took the restoration of parity in Flying Pay, higher Technical pay, the calmness of the CAS-designate and a couple of AOsC-in-C, and the discipline of the Service to bring down the discontent. That was with a few thousand officers. Imagine the problem with millions of ESP not subject to the Army, Navy or Air Force Acts & Rules thereunder.
And the Mythical – Read it on the Govt’s website - Financial Crunch

As for financial crunch, didn’t the Finance Minister state in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that a sum of Rs 62, 398 crore was foregone by the National Exchequer towards incentives and tax exemptions for corporates? Please see Statement of Revenue Foregone in the left side panel on website for corroboration.  

And read this from

While the central government is expected to earn a tax revenue of Rs 919,842 crore ($148 billion) for the financial year 2015-16, it is expected to forgo revenue of Rs 589,285.2 crore ($95 billion) in 2014-15 due to exemptions granted to companies and individual taxpayers.

This forgone revenue, or tax benefits, is twice the defence budget allocation of Rs 247,000 crore in 2014-15.

Tax-revenue forgone is a contentious issue – an “incentive” or a “sop”, depending on ideological position – and becoming more so at a time when the National Democratic Alliance government plans cutbacks to India’s subsidy bill of Rs 2,27,287 crore ($36 billion).

While India’s subsidy bill is likely to fall almost 10%, the tax-revenue forgone is expected to increase by 7% from 2013-14.

Those on the left hold “sops” – such as accelerated depreciation, deduction of export profits of units located in special economic zones (SEZs), area-based exemptions and waivers on import duties – as evidence of government largesse to business at the expense of the poorest. Those on the right argue that tax-revenue forgone is an important business “incentive” to help the economy grow, without which the needs of the poor cannot be addressed.      

So Are We looking at a Policy Paralysis by Other Names

Central Ministers and spokespersons and no less than the Prime Minister told us (at an expense of a few hundred crore rupees) how the achhe din of scam-free, quick decision making Govt is here and the burre din are only for the burre. Though the sheen has somewhat diminished by the recent exposes, the lesser written about it the better, but will the BJP/NDA Govt decide to call a spade a spade instead of shovel, trowel or whatever?  

And the role diverse retired Army Officers led ESP organisations 

I wish there was something I could collect from the internet to make sense (first, to myself) but I have failed.

The only glimmer of some positive work so far appears to be from the RDOA, which is fighting it out in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and winning to a fair extent as it has in the Rank Pay case and the Minimum Guaranteed Pension case etc.     

Moral of this Post: When we were kids we read lots of fables from the Panchtantra, Aesop etc. Each of these fables had a moral at the end. May be the moral of this post should be – be better informed and you will not be alarmed by the speculations that are the bane of our inboxes and incoming sms like the one I mentioned. 

Let us wait for the 8th of July 2015 and see what the Hon’ble Supreme Court rules in CA No. 2966 of 2011 in Contempt Petition No. 64 of 2009 in CA No. 5566 of 2008.    

Monday, 15 June 2015

Are we prepared for our meetings with the Defence Minister & Finance Minister or is it just for publicity?

Lt Gen Satish Kumar Bahri (retd) sent me an email on 13 Jun 2015. I share the contents with you: -

Quote “The other day at the FM's office he happened to say that Rs 8,300 is a large amount. As we were talking about pension for Cols, I said that he should check the pension amounts being paid to IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS and other class A services in comparison to the 40,000 officers of the defence services. Though they must be much less than in numbers us they are collecting much more. I wonder, with your RTI skills if you can get the comparative figs. The people below officer rank of course, can never be comparable.
It may be worthwhile (edited) if the occasion arose again.Thanks” Unquote (emphasis supplied)

After vacillating between ignoring the email (a rank discourtesy that I have never practiced) and writing  a factual reply, I decided to bite the bullet.

Dear General,
With due respect to your seniority and unlimited interest in the welfare of ESM as Chairman of the Alliance of ESM Organisations (hope I have that correctly), I find that a panoply of retired Generals and Colonels with impressive designations are reduced to spluttering with indignation and rage on the OROP issue. Maybe we, self included, are so used to being fed data by an entourage of staff that it is difficult, nay, impossible to be armed with facts and figures (implied is by ourselves before we attend such meetings). It is like going into battle sans weapons!
I am sure that some bit of home-work by someone in the delegation going to meet the Finance Minister would have helped to counter him with facts and figures, a few examples of which are as follows: -
1. He has, in his 105 interventions/participation in debates in the Rajya Sabha since 2009, mentioned OROP only once before he was appointed Defence-cum-Finance Minister. That may be the level of his interest in Defence Forces in general and ESM in particular. Please see the Rajya Sabha website for authentication.
2. He has given a written reply in the Rajya Sabha (Economic Times of 05 May 2015) that in the FY 2014-15, Corporates were given Rs 62,398 crore as tax exemptions/incentives. You may wish to verify from the figures available on the websites of the Central Statistical Organisation and Ministry of Company Affairs as to how the corporates have fared in FY 2014-15.

Where did the Rs 62,398 crore come? It came from the same National Exchequer from which Rs 8,300 crore cannot be spared!

There is no need to resort to RTI to ascertain pension amounts paid. There is the Central Pension Accounting Office ( and in the drop down menu of Budget, the amount allotted to each Ministry as well as CGDA towards pensions is readily available. For you convenience I have downloaded and attached the 5mb of details.    

In the only debate I was requested to participate on CNN-IBN on 01 Jun 15, I was told that Defence Minister is reported to have said that Rs 8300 crore now and Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 22, 000 crore next year is a huge amount (towards OROP). My retort was this - if the Defence Minister says Rs 8300 crore in FY 2014-15 and Rs 20, 000 crore or Rs 22, 000 crore in FY 2015-16, he has been misinformed unless someone wanted to scare the Government because at 3% increment, my calculator does not gives me Rs 20,000 crore or Rs 22, 000 crore. Due to time constraints, I could not drive home the point that it is like a tenant not paying his monthly rent of Rs 800 and complaining at the end of the year that Rs 9600 is too big an amount to pay from his budget.
My objective of writing this piece is to express chagrin at the lack of preparation for such meetings. I am sure we all (Chairman, Convener or whatever) have as much egg on our faces as the PM now has when he says it has taken him one year to find that OROP is much more complex.
With Best Wishes

*                      *                            *

Some Thoughts: With Malice to NONE (From Brig Vijay Raheja 22:03 on 14th June 2015)

Was at the Maha Sangram Rally; today.

Officially Jantar Mantar has a capacity of 5000 – I reckon we exceeded that capacity; as place was bursting at seams. Best Part of it is that proceedings were conducted in an orderly and disciplined manner. For a change officers were there in large numbers.

Petitions to PM and President were signed by number of ESMs in blood. In this melee let us not forget that apart from fact that all ESMs organisations had come together and we had young brigade of “Citizens for Forces” led by Ankit; large number of ESMs and Veer Naries were brought in by Indian Ex Servicemen League (IESL) – there were organised buses from Rajasthan, UP, Jammu, Haryana, Himachal, and Punjab; besides there were representations from several states who reached under own arrangements by trains/buses. For those who were there and saw maroon, black and green caps (some more too – i could not register) all over the place; they were from various state units of IESL – thank you Lt General Balbir Singh for the extraordinary support.

And now some thoughts.

In response to a mail almost a year ago (to be precise 14 June 2014) I had written a mail (partly reproduced) as under:

I have been reading euphoric comments on the President’s address, in so far as ESM go, as also own goal scored in (the) meeting on 12th June (2014). But friends let me be the devil’s advocate and say that we are far from reaching our goal so early......

So friends ‘ do not count your chicken before they are hatched.’ Let me repeat what I wrote while responding to a BJP MP  on Facebook when he went gaga over ESMs being mentioned in the Presidential Address:

Have been and continue to be an AVID supporter and admirer of Shri Modi. The President’s address is a testimony of his resolve to usher in Achhe Din – to that extent I fully endorse what you have said about welfare measures for Ex-Servicemen which have found their place in the address; it reiterates Shri Modi’s resolve to start with his first promise made during the Rewari Rally – his maiden rally after being declared BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. But let me also be the devil’s advocate and bring to the fore........

And today we feel let down.

My own take is that since PM had started his election campaign by addressing ESM he should have ensured that promise made to ESM be fulfilled on priority. (A) year down the line some of us are meeting Defence Minister and Finance Minister trying to give correct definition of OROP. My moot question is “Have we gone wrong somewhere?” This has given rise to some further questions

· A delegation to the Defence Minister, to register our protest may be in order, but why do we go to the Finance Minister. We have no financial data to back us or counter what FM says.

· Why are ESM, particularly in OG, jumping the gun?

· Do we need an MP’s shoulder to fight for our cause?

· Why not keep faith in Service HQs – they know what is best for us.

· Have faith in people who are fighting our cases in courts.
*        *        *        *        *

Friday, 12 June 2015

Battle Honours for the Battle of OROP

Readers of this blog, 

I have a confession to make. In the past 3 years of operating this blog, I have been privy to lots of information. I share all information obtained through the RTI Act, 2005 but assimilate information that is factual but for which I have no documents to back me up. What I write in succeeding paragraphs is one such item of information.

I confess letting you all down by not sharing a bit of information which I had dismissed as I was hearing it. Because a year ago, every one believed that ‘achhe din’ were already here after 26th May 2014 and so did I.

A year later, listening to Lt Gen Kadyan (is he the Chairman of the IESM still?) wax eloquent on how the OROP will be honoured because a commitment has been made at the highest level, I am not going to suppress my conscience.

It happened like this.

On 12 July 2014, Lt Col (retd) B K Sharma, President RDOA called up and said that Lt Col (retd) Satwant Singh, the Secretary RDOA is indisposed and whether it would be possible for me to travel to New Delhi for meeting with the Senior Advocate before the hearing scheduled for 25th July 2014 in the Contempt Petition (Civil) No. 328 of 2013.

I travelled to New Delhi on 22nd July 2014 and I met President, RDOA, and later President, IESL that afternoon at lunch.

It was decided at the meeting with President RDOA, that we would meet on the 23rd afternoon in the office of the AOR (advocate on record) to have the Proforma signed for gate passes to the Supreme Court, provide him with any additional inputs based on the RTI disclosures before we departed to meet the Senior Advocate either on the 24th July 2014 afternoon or the morning of 25th July 2014 and then proceed to the Supreme Court for the hearing.

Due to lighter than expected traffic, I was in the office of the AoR well before the appointed time. There were two gentlemen sitting with the AoR, an elderly and dignified-looking gentleman and Wg Cdr (retd) Tomar, who I knew earlier. I was introduced to the elderly and dignified-looking gentleman, and I was informed that he was an important office-bearer in the BJP’s Ex-Servicemens’ Cell.     

The talk veered around to OROP. After listening in silence and to the  few sentences into the discussion of how the Joint Working Group (JWG) had ceased meeting after briefing the Finance-cum-Defence Minister on 12th June 2014,  the elderly gentleman interjected by asking, “Who is the CGDA?”

Before I could give her name (Ms Vandana Srivastav) to him, the elderly and dignified-looking gentleman interrupted and said, “No, I am not asking for the name. The CGDA is an Additional Secretary level officer. She knows that she could be moved out in a couple of seconds, if she does not obey the orders of the Defence-cum-Finance Minister. Why do you think she, the chairperson, is not convening the meeting of the JWG?”

Shocked, I asked “Are you telling me that there is possibility of some one higher than the Defence-cum-Finance Minister has to take the decision to implement OROP?”

The elderly gentleman, stood up and bidding me Jai Hind, said, “Aap bahut senior officer the, aap samajh jaoge ke jab tak orders nahin aayenge, tab tak OROP ka kuch nahin hoga.”

The elderly and dignified-looking gentleman took his leave and left before I could mention to him that the PM has committed to implementing OROP from the deck of INS Vikramaditya on 14 Jun 2014.

I held my peace because I expected that the PM would remember the Kargil War was won on 26th July 1999, when the first BJP led NDA Government was at the Centre. And there could be an announcement that OROP implementation orders are issued in memory of those who were martyred. 

When OROP orders did not happen, yet reposing more faith, I held on to the belief that PM Modi would follow up those “mere bhagya mein likha hain” words with a Diwali gift of OROP on Diwali day, 2014, or maybe on Good Governance Day, which is incidentally the birthday of the first BJP PM Atal Behari Vajpayee.

In the interim, I have been the unwilling recipient of forwarded emails of letters written to the President, the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and Finance Minister by persons representing different ESM organisations and after hearing about how OROP is not as simple as the PM thought it was (for over a year!), and incredulous with the OROP still nowhere, all I can say is “How true are the words uttered on 23rd July 2014.”

After 26th July 1999, the then BJP-NDA Government of Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee presented Gallantry awards, and gas agencies and petrol pumps. 

But the true recognition of the service to the Nation in the face of overwhelming odds, the Battle Honours appeared to suffer the same decision difficulty as the OROP with the file doing the maze of bureaucracy, though there were no financial implications.

The Battle Honours file was ultimately approved by then President A P J Abdul Kalam on 25th May 2005, ironically by the UPA-Congress Government ( 

Army battalions/Brigades were given Battle/Theatre honours of Batalik, Dras, Tololing, Tiger Hill, Dah, Mushkoh etc – a year after the BJP-NDA Govt was voted out but six years after the Kargil War ended.  

The 16th Kargil Divas falls on 26th July 2015 with another BJP dominated NDA Government at the Centre. Coincidentally, it is more than a year after the UPA-Congress Govt was ousted at the ballot boxes. Will the BJP dominated NDA Government grant Battle Honours for the Battle of the OROP to those officers, JCOs and ORs who fought that Kargil War who passed onto the category of ESM, something denied by the UPA-Congress Government till February 2014? 

And who will claim the Battle Honours – the Govt or the MoD or the MoF, even the CGDA or the panoply of ESM organisations/movements/associations?

Or will history repeat itself as a tragedy, as more ESM and widows will be dying in the hope of acche din of OROP or will it to be implemented six years later in 2020 by the whichever Government is at the Centre? 

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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
            + 91 9688782227                                                                 N G E F Layout
Email:                                                            Indira Nagar (PO)
Blog url:                                                 Bangalore – 560038

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