Friday, 18 August 2017

More Pay and Pension to Levels 12A, 13, 13A than Levels 14, 15,16, 17 - Some RTI information



TYPED TRUE COPY

Online RTI Request Form Details
RTI Request Details:-
RTI Request Registration number CGDFA/R/2017/50280

Public Authority: Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA)

Personal Details of RTI Applicant:-
Deleted

Description of Information Sought

1. Please see attached supporting document for more details pertaining to this request for information under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005.

2. While processing the Resolution and Defence Pay Matrix for Officers, the Additional Secretary observed in his minute at Note 2 that with the increase of 3 stages in Level 12A (Lt Col and equivalent), 3 stages in Level 13 (Col and equivalent) and Level 13A (Brig and equivalent), the maximum pay is Rs 2, 17, 600.

3. In subsequent notes MoD, including Def/Fin has also observed that the increases in the stages stated above, Defence Forces officers in Levels 12A, 13 and 13A will draw more total emoluments (Basic pay and MSP) than officers in Levels 14, 15, 16 and 17. Therefore, the officers in Levels 12A, 13, and 13A will also draw more pension than officers in Levels 14, 15, 16 and 17.

4. The transition to the Defence Pay Matrix of 7th CPC is of officers in service on 1.1.2016, i.e. based on pay, Grade Pay and MSP drawn on 31.12.2015. Similarly those already retired on or before 1.1.2016 will draw the new scales of pension by the new formula and concordance tables which are yet to be issued.

5. Now therefore, please provide the number of officers in the ranks of

(a) Lt Cols and equivalents who were drawing Pay of Rs 67000 plus Grade Pay of Rs 8000 plus MSP of 6000 and therefore total emoluments of Rs 81000

(b) Colonels and equivalents who were drawing pay of Rs 67000 plus Grade Pay of Rs 8700 plus MSP of Rs 6000 and therefore total emoluments of Rs 81700,

(c) Brigadiers and equivalents who were drawing pay of Rs 67000 plus Grade Pay of Rs 8900 plus MSP of Rs 6000 and therefore a total of Rs 81900,

Further, please provide the following information

(a) Number of Lt Cols & equivalents who were drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000,

(b) Number of Cols and equivalents who were drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000,

(c) Number of Brig and equivalents who were drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000.

The above information would be available with PCDA (O), Pune, PCDA (N), Mumbai, JCDA (AF), New Delhi and PCDA (P), Draupadi Ghat, Allahabad in course of their audits.

Supporting Document: File notings of MoD on Resolution No. 1 (E) dated 5th September 2016
*        *        *        *        *       
Online Reply from JCDA (AF)

No. DCA/Pen-1/RTI/Vol-II
O/o the Jt CDA (AF)
Subroto Park, New Delhi – 110010
Dated: 09/08/2017
To

          Shri S Y Savur
          ------

Subject: Application seeking Information under RTI Act, 2005

Ref: Application dated 21.07.2017

          With reference to your application cited above, it is intimated that actual drawn statements are not available with this office as the pension is disbursed by the PDAs concerned but based on the available date the Nos as required by you in respect of various ranks who are entitled to receive more than Rs 40,000/- as basic pension as per 6th CPC/OROP are placed below:

          Para 6 (a): Wg Cdr/Wg Cdr (TS) -      57     

                   (b) Gp Capt/Gp Capt (TS) -    91

                   (c)      Air Cmde              -        37
Sd/----------
(Shyam Kumar)
CPIO

CPIO, AFCAO, Subroto Park, New Delhi -10: The RTI is partially transferred under Section 6 (3) of the RTI for furnishing reply on para 2 to 5 as information sought is closely related with functioning of AFCAO.

*        *        *        *        *

Refusal of Information by PCDA (Pension), Allahabad

Office of the Pr Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Draupadi Ghat, Allahabad-211014 Ph Nos (0532) 2421877, 2421879, 2421880 Website: www.pcdapension.nic.in

AN/RTI/1918/SYS/2017
Date:  03/08/2017
To

          Shri S Y Savur
          --------

Sub:   Information under RTI Act, 2005
Ref:    Your online RTI application dated 21/07/2017

          In regard to Point No. 5 (a), (b), & (c), it is intimated that this office maintains records of pensioners (approx 25 lakh) as per PPO No. No such consolidated specific data in the format desired by you is maintained in this office. Moreover, compilation & segregation of such records would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority. Hence, this office is unable to provide information in light of the provisions contained in section 7 (9) of the RTI Act – 2005.
Encls – As above
Sd/-----------------
(Rajeev Ranjan Kumar)
Central Public Information Officer
Note: - Definition of “information” under RTI Act – 2005: information is any material in any form. It includes Records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advice, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held with the public authority & information about private bodies that can be accessed under existing laws by a public authority. FIRST APPELLATE AUTHORITY – Sh Sandeep Thakur, IDAS, JCDA, O/o PCDA (P), Allahabad – 211014.  

*        *        *        *        *       

First Appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act, 2005
BY REGISTERED POST – ACK DUE

RTI MATTER – FIRST APPEAL

Reference No.: - FA/CPIO O/o PCDA(P)/SYS/2017    Dated: 17th August 2017

From
S Y Savur,
Applicant/Appellant
141, Jal Vayu Towers,
NGEF Layout, Indira Nagar PO, Bengaluru – 560038,
Email: sharad10525@gmail.com,   

To,

Shri Sandeep Thakur, IDAS,
Joint Controller of Defence Accounts & First Appellate Authority,
O/o Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions),
Draupadi Ghat,
Allahabad – 211014,

Subject: - First Appeal Under Section 19 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005  in r/o  CGDFA/R/2017/50280 dated 21.07.2017 and  Reply of CPIO, PCDA (P) vide No. AN/RTI/1918/SYS/2017 dated 03.08.2017 received at 1600h on 11.08.2017

List of Appendices: -

A       Self-attested copy of online RTI request No. CGDFA/R/2017/50280.

B       Self-attested photocopy of refusal of information by CPIO, PCDA (P) dated 3rd August 2017 received on 11th August 2017

C       Annexure B to MoD letter No. 17 (01)/2016- D(Pen/Pol) dated 29th October 2016

D       Self attested printed copy of DCA/Pen-I/RTI/Vol II dated 9th August 2017 received online through the RTI portal.  

Sir,              
I am aggrieved by the refusal of information by Shri Rajeev Ranjan Kumar, DCDA & CPIO, PCDA (P), O/o PCDA (P), Draupadi Ghat, Allahabad-211014 in reply to my online RTI request No. CGDFA/R/2017/50280 dated 21st July 2017 (Appendix ‘A’), transferred by O/o CGDA on 27th July 2017, and vide No. AN/RTI/1918/SYS/2017 dated 3rd August 2017 (Appendix ‘B’) and received by Speed Post on 11th August 2017. The reply of the CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pension) is misleading and in contradiction of published information on the portals/websites of O/o CGDA and O/o PCDA (Pensions).

I        Brief Facts leading to this First Appeal

2.       In the approval process of Resolution 1 (E) dated 5th September 2016, the Additional Secretary (R) in MoD had observed that increases in stages of the Defence Pay Matrix in respect of officers of the ranks of Lt Col (Level 12A), Cols (Level 13) and Brig (Level 13A) and equivalents, the total emoluments after adding MSP available to the above ranks, their emoluments would exceed emoluments of Maj Gens (Level 14), Lt Gens – HAG & HAG+ (Levels 15 & 16), even of the Vice Chiefs & Army Cdrs and equivalents (Level 17).

3.       Govt of India approved recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC), and Ministry of Defence issued Special Army Instructions (and corresponding Instructions for Navy and Air Force) Nos 2/S/2008, 3/S/2008 and 4/S/2008. Army Officers of the ranks of Lt Cols to Maj Gens (and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force) were placed in Pay Band – 4 with Basic Pay of Rs 37400-67000. While Lt Cols to Maj Gens were awarded different rates of Grade Pay, MSP was limited to personnel up to and including the rank of Brig and equivalent.

4.       This applicant approached O/o CGDA vide online request No. CGDFA/R/2017/50280 dated 21st July 2017 for information specifically of the number of Commissioned Officers of the ranks of Lt Col to Brig and equivalents drawing total emoluments exceeded Rs 80000/- as on 31st December 2015 and drawing pension of Rs 40000/- or more as on 31st December 2015.

5.       Before filing a request for information, in order to understand the implications of the observation of the Addl Secretary, MoD, this applicant perused the websites of O/o CGDA and O/o PCDA (Pensions) to obtain this information if it was published on either or both websites. Since it was not available, the online request referred to Para 3 above was filed. O/o CGDA transferred the request to the PCDA (O), PCDA (N), JCDA (AF) and PCDA (Pensions) on 27th July 2017.

II      Grounds for this First Appeal

Number of pensioners in the ranks of Lt Cols, Cols, and Brig

6.       The CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pensions), Draupadi Ghat, Allahabad- 211014 vide reference No. AN/RTI/1918/SYS/2017 dated 3rd August 2017 received by Speed Post on 11th August 2017 (self-attested photocopy attached for ready reference) has stated, inter alia, in his refusal to provide information requested for that O/o PCDA (Pensions)

(a)      Maintains records of approx 25 lakh pensioners,

(b)     Does not maintain consolidated specific data in the format as desired by this applicant i.e. number of officers of the ranks of Lt Col, Col, and Brig who are drawing Rs 40000/- or more per month as Basic pension,

(c)      Compilation and segregation of such records would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority. “Hence, this office in unable to provide the information in light of the provisions contained in the section 7 (9) of the RTI Act-2005.”

7.       The contention of the CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pensions) is misleading as the website of  O/o CGDA provides the following information on the categories of pensioners: -

Sl No
Category
Number of  Pensioners
1
Commissioned Officers
58,754
2
PBOR
18,40,809
3
Defence Civilians
5,62,088

Total
24, 61, 651


8.       Further, the website/portal of the O/o PCDA (P) (http://pcdapension.nic.in) displays the following information on the areas of responsibilities of different Principal Field Controllers in respect of pensions of Commissioned Officers of the Army, Navy, and Air Force: -
         
PREFACE

   Office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad is one of the offices of the Defence Accounts Department under the Ministry of Defence, with the office of the Controller General of Defence Accounts, Delhi Cantt as its Headquarters.

   It is responsible for the grant, payment, audit and adjustment of all claims of pensionary awards of Defence Services Personnel (except retirement/death benefits of Air Force and Navy personnel) and civilians of the three Services including those of the Defence Accounts Department, GREF, COAST GUARD, MNS (local), NCC Officers, Departmental Canteens and Statutory Canteens and their families. The pension work relating to the personnel of all the three wings of the armed forces and also the civilian employees serving in Defence establishments is centralized at one place viz. PCDA (P) Allahabad to secure uniformity in the application of rules and procedures regarding grant and audit of pension.

   With a view to achieve promptness in settlement of pensionary entitlements of Naval and Air Force personnel, the work relating to grant of their pension was transferred to PCDA(Navy), Mumbai and CDA (Air Force), New Delhi respectively w.e.f. 01.11.1985” (emphasis supplied).

And

“……Except in the case of Commissioned Officers whose PPOs are sent by PCDA (P) direct to PDAs and they can write to Grant- I Military section.
In case of Air Force Officers and personnel discharged on or after 1.11.85, complaints/grievances may be addressed to DCDA (AF), Subroto Park, Delhi Cantt as they are the concerned Pension Sanctioning Authorities.
In case of Naval officers/ personnel discharged on or after 1.11.85 the complaints may be addressed to CDA (Navy), No. 1, Cooperage Road, Mumbai-400039 email-id cdabombay@hub.nic.in as they are the concerned Pension Sanctioning Authorities” (emphasis in the original).

9.       Further, the RTI manual on the O/o PCDA (Pension) website/portal states that there are separate sections dealing with pension viz.: - 

(a)      Grants –I/Civil Section: Defence Civilians Pension Section which includes EDP (Civil) and G-1 Civil; G-I – Civil Pension Revision Group for Pre 1986, Post 1986/Pre 1.1.96 retirees, Post 1.1.1996 Civil Pension Revision Cell

(b)     Grants –I/Military Section: Commissioned Officers, and

(c)      Grants (OR) Section for PBORs, and Grants Defence Civilians (emphasis supplied).

          (d)     Supporting Section of Audit, and

(e)      EDP Centre for computer processing of Pension claims and (i) General Administration of Audit section, (ii)    Technical examination of cases referred by operating groups regarding rules and regulations and issue of necessary circulars etc., (iii)         Audit of Pension Payment Vouchers received from PDAs,  (iv)     Detailing teams for audit of payments made by the PDAs, (v) Processing & clearance of demands against pensioners, (vii)    Audit and correspondence in r/o Commissioned Officers, their families and Defence Civilians and their families (in regard to Class I, II & V pensioners), (viii)        Audit and correspondence in respect to PBOR, their families and U.K. pensioners (Class VI, VII & VIII pensioners), (ix) Preparation of audit cards and maintenance of CH copy of PPOs, (x)          Record of Monthly pension payment Schedules/ Scrolls of PDAs/PSBs, and (xi)          CCL: Central Card Library. Processing & clearance of demands of O.T.I.


10.     Therefore, Defence Accounts Department, which comprises O/o PCDA (Pensions), PCDA (Navy) and JCDA (AF) is servicing pensions of 58,754 Commissioned Officers. Of these, records of all Naval and Air Force officers (and personnel) who were in service on 1.11.1985 and thereafter were transferred to respective Field Controllers. It is evident from the portal of PCDA (Pensions) that information in respect of pensions of Air Force and Naval officers are maintained separately by the DCDA (AF) and CDA (Navy), who as Pension Sanctioning Authorities, possess and maintain records to redress grievances. Therefore, the statement of CPIO, O/o PCDA (A) is making a misleading as he needs to peruse a few thousand records and not records of approx 24 lakh pensioners who are 18.4 lakh PBOR and 5.6 lakh Defence Civilians to provide the information concerning Lt Cols, Cols, and Brigs.

11.     Now, therefore, it is fair to conclude that CPIO, PCDA (Pension) has unnecessarily exaggerated the task of providing information for purposes best known to him. Consequently, the CPIO, PCDA (Pension) provides an unmistakable impression of continuously mis-stating facts which can be checked with facts available on public record.

Consolidated rank wise data not maintained by O/o PCDA (Pensions)

12.     The CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pensions) has made a second misleading statement in his refusal. MoD letter No. 17 (01)/2016- D (Pen/Pol) dated 29th October 2016 for updating of records by PCDA (P) states at Para 16.3, “A suitable entry regarding revised pension with effect from 1.1.2016 fixed in terms of Para 5.1 above, as the case may be, will be recorded by the Pension Disbursing Agencies in the Pension records of the pensioners viz Pension Payment Order, Check Register/Pension Payment Scroll Register. An intimation regarding disbursement of revised pension may be sent by the Pension Disbursing Agencies to the Office of PCDA (P) Allahabad in prescribed Annexure to these orders so that orders can be updated. A hard copy of the said Annexure –B may invariably be provided by the PDAs to the pensioners concerned for their information. An acknowledgement shall be obtained by the Pension Disbursing Agencies from Office of PCDA (Pensions), Allahabad in token of receipt of the requisite Annexure (emphasis supplied).

13.     The Annexure B to the MoD letter dated 29th October 2016 (photocopy attached as Appendix ‘C’ for ready reference) includes as the following information is being provided to the O/o PCDA (Pension) by the PDAs’, in contradiction to the statement of the CPIO that ‘no such consolidated data in the format desired by is maintained in this office,’: -

(a)      S No. 6        Scale of Pay/Pay Band on the date of Retirement/Death  
(b)     S No. 7        Rank and Group last held (emphasis supplied)
         
          (c)      S No. 13      Existing Basic Pension inclusive of commuted portion of pension

14.     Even O/o PCDA Circular No. 570 dated 31st October 2016 O/O PCDA (Pensions) has issued instructions, at Para 14.3. A suitable entry regarding revised pension with effect from 1.1.2016 fixed in terms of Para 5.1 above, as the case may be, will be recorded by the Pension Disbursing Agencies in the Pension records of the pensioners viz. Pension Payment Order, Check Register/Pension Payment Scroll Register. An intimation regarding disbursement of revised pension may be sent by the Pension Disbursing Agencies to Shri S. Basumatari, Senior Accounts Officer, O I/C Audit Coordination Office of the PCDA (P), Allahabad-14 on e-mail ID : cdaalbd@nic.in, in soft copy as well as hard copy of Annexure B to the Govt. letter, so that records can be updated. Annexure-B may invariably be provided by the Pension Disbursing Agencies to the pensioners concerned for their information. An acknowledgement shall be obtained by the PDAs from Office of PCDA (Pensions), Allahabad in token of receipt of Annexure –B.”

15.     So, PCDA (Pension) Circular No. 570 in particular required PDAs to provide additional information in the format given in Annexure B thereof referring to Para 16.3 of MoD letter No. 17 (01)/2016- D (Pen/Pol) dated 29th October 2016 for updating of records by PCDA (P) (emphasis supplied). All data provided by PDAs on claims/payments would, therefore, be electronically recorded by the EDP Cell and processed by the Audit Coordination Office of PCDA (Pensions). This data material therefore held in an electronic form, and i is information as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 2005.

Disproportionate Diversion of Resources

16.     In the third misleading reason given by the CPIO, O/O PCDA (Pension) is of disproportionate diversion of resources. The website/portal of O/o CGDA provides, inter alia, the following information on the existing software and database of pensioners: -
Aashraya
The Defence Pension Disbursement offices were running on COBOL Based Pension Disbursement System called RNPDS. This was an outdated system with very limited utility and required programming skills for its operations for every transaction. Hence, it was not user friendly and required COBOL programming skills for operation. It had a limited facility to generate Pension Schedule of Pensioners. There was no role based operation. The MIS generation and audit was not possible. The Staff and officer of the DPDO were dependent on the programmers of the COBOL to operate it for settling any grievance. With change in pension entitlements like Dearness Relief, Allowances etc the payment of correct entitlements and arrears were a tedious job.
In view of above situation, the Defence Accounts Department conceived the idea of making an efficient Pension Disbursement System (i.e. Project “Aashraya”) for making the correct payment of pension and addressing grievances of the pensioners while automating most of the manual work of DPDOs (emphasis supplied). Accordingly the Project “Aashraya” was initiated. This software was developed by using open source platform i.e. PHP/ MySQL and runs on Linux/Windows etc. It has been designed, developed, and implemented by in-house team of officers without third party assistance and expenditure on this account. It has following salient features:
·   Transparency and stakeholder participation: “Aashraya” software is very user friendly with role based authentications. Pensioner’s profile module in the system enables DPDO staff to view the complete profile of a pensioner by entering the ID of pensioner and payment history for the purpose of redressal of grievances. In earlier system the information could only fetched by writing COBOL program on every case and was dependent on availability of one technical person in DPDO office. Now, “Aashraya” has made available the pensioner’s information with every staff and officer of DPDO for faster redressal of grievances if any or otherwise with least manual effort (emphasis supplied).
·   Innovativeness of the initiative and its replicability: ‘Aashraya’ has automated the disbursement of pension to 5 lac pensioners from 61 Defence Pension Disbursement (DPDO) offices across the country. It can be customised for the use of any pension disbursement agency (Post office, civil treasury, bank etc.)
            The Software is:
o                          Intuitive, normal office staff without much computer knowledge can work on it (emphasis supplied).
o                          Web-enabled, can be run at dispersed locations across the country.
o                          Inexpensive, based on freeware platforms and developed in-house and needs minimal outstation resources.
o                          Comprehensive, covers all main activities of a pension disbursement office (emphasis supplied), and
o                          Green  - saves lot of printing effort and paper.
xxxx                                  xxxx                                        xxxx
·   Increased efficiency of outputs/processes and effectiveness of outcomes: This software has increased many folds the working efficiency of DPDOs staff as working on new system is very user friendly and faster. The process which took many hours now takes few minutes to finish (emphasis supplied).
I.            Web Enabled User Friendly Operations: “Aashraya” is web enabled software with user friendly interface screens and navigation. Any non-technical person in DPDO can easily operate it. The operations of DPDO like generation of Pension Payment Schedule of Pensioners, MIS, Common reports, and returns etc could be generated on click of a button without programming knowledge (emphasis supplied).
II.           In-Built Help: There is in-built help for operation of every screen. There is no need for officers and staff to wait and depend on the COBOL programmer to process any transaction.
III.         Pensioners’ Profile: The module “Pensioners’ Profile” gives information regarding pensioners, pension related matters and entitlements being paid. These can be fetched easily by staff and officers of DPDO for attending the grievances and its quick settlement. This has resolved the problem of earlier system where it was not feasible for staff and officers to do so (emphasis supplied).
IV.         Role Based Operations: In “Aashraya” the functioning of DPDO has been made role based for various tasks and ranks as per procedures. This has induced accountability for various tasks at various ranks. Respective operators of “Aashraya” can print the record of the transactions done by them. The administrator can track the person carrying out the transaction. This has resolved the problem of single point data entry and operations by the COBOL programmer on behalf of other staff in earlier COBOL based system. The staff had responsibility without record and direct access to what had been done on their behalf.
V.           In-Built Audit Checks: Common Audit Checks have been built into “Aashraya” to ensure accurate data entry and output results. These checks were not there in old system generally leading to output with lesser accuracy. Further, the manual checking of payment schedule as audit requirement in earlier system was time consuming. The “Aashraya” automatically compares the schedules of desired months (emphasis supplied).
VI.         History of payments: “Aashraya” has facility to maintain the history of pension disbursement for longer periods to facilitate quick payment of arrears in the event of change of entitlements by Government and for settlement of a grievance etc (emphasis supplied). The earlier system could maintain the history of payments of pension only up to 15 months and calculation of arrears in case of change of entitlements etc was tedious manual task.
xxxx                                              xxxx                                        xxxx
Source: http://cgda.nic.in/index.php?page=aashryaN              

17.     It is reiterated that the information requested vide CGDFA/R/2017/50280 pertains at most to a few hundred Lt Cols, Cols and Brigadiers who are drawing Rs 40000 or more per month as pension as on 31st December 2015. Surely, the CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pension) does not want this applicant/appellant to believe that stupendous effort would be needed to identify Commissioned Army Officer pensioners in the ranks of Lt Cols, Cols and Brig who were paid Rs 40000 or more per month as pension as on 31st December 2015 even though the task is made easier using EDP through Aashraya.

18.     All databases have built-in search functions. In this case all that the CPIO, PCDA (Pension) would have needed to request is use the Search query, and feed in two lines for query of information

Line 1 -  Ranks of Lt Cols, Cols and Brigs, and

Line 2 -  Pension equal to or more than Rs 40000/- as on 31st December 2015.

The entire the list would have appeared on the screen and the CPIO could have decided whether to give the number of Lt Cols, Cols, Brigs drawing pension equal to or more than Rs 40000/- per month on 31st December 2015. (Please see III – Pensioners Profiles in Aashraya at Para 15 above).

19.     The JCDA (AF) which maintains records of lakhs of IAF pensioners (Officers and Airmen) has provided the information on the number of equivalent ranks vide DCA/Pen-I/RTI/Vol-II dated 09.8.17 (Appendix ‘D’) without any protestations of needing to task disproportionate resources., JCDA (AF) has provided information that there are, equivalent rank-wise, the following number of Officers who are drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000/-.

(a)      Wg Cdr/Wg Cdr (TS)                        -        57

(b)     Gp Capt/Gp Capt (TS)                      -        91, and

(c)      Air Cmde                                           -        37.

Further, JCDA (AF) has further requested AFCAO to provide information (in respect of serving officers on the above ranks drawing total emoluments of Rs 81000, Rs 87000, and Rs 81900 as on 31st December 2015).

III     Appeal and Request by this Applicant/Appellant

20.     Therefore, this applicant/appellant is aggrieved that PCDA (P) has made the following misleading statements which are not relevant to Para 5 of the request CGDFA/R/2017/50280 to refuse readily available information: -

(a)      Misleading statement that CPIO would need to review pension records of approx 25 lakh pensioners in connection with Para 5 (a), (b) (c) of the request MODEF/R/2017/50280 whereas there are only 58,754 Commissioned Officers’ pensioners from amongst whom CPIO O/o PCDA (Pensions) to provide information on Army Officer pensioners of the three ranks mentioned leaving PCDA (N) and JCDA (AF) to provide information on Commissioned Officer pensioners of the three equivalent ranks of Navy and Air Force respectively. 

(b)     Misleading statement that Rank wise data has to be extracted whereas it has already been provided as mandated in Para 16.3 of the MoD letter No. 17 (01)/2016- D (Pen/Pol) dated 29th October 2016 Annexure B thereof, for updating of records by PCDA (P). O/o PCDA (P) was required to acknowledge receipt of the information to the PDAs.

(c)      Misleading statement about having to divert disproportionate resources to provide the requested information, only because the CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pensions) has not used the highly commended (by O/o CGDA) software in Aashraya, to extract information with minimal effort.   

21.     First Appellate Authority may be pleased to instruct the CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pensions) to provide the number of Commissioned Officers Pensioners of the ranks of Lt Col, Col, and Brigadier, who were drawing pension of Rs 40000/- or more as on 31st December 2015.


17th August 2017                                                                       (S Y Savur)
Place: Bengaluru – 560038                                                         (Applicant/Appellant)

Encls:         Appendices as stated

Reply of DCDA (N)/CPIO, O/o PCDA (N)

OFFICE OF THE PRINCIPAL CONTROLLER OF DEFENCE ACCOUNTS (NAVY)
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (FINANCE)
No. 1 Cooperage Road, Colaba, Mumbai – 400001

No. AN/1/LC/RTI/Corr/Vol-XXIV                                                Date: 10.08.2017

To

Shri S Y Savur
---------

Sub:   Information sought under RTI Act, 2005 – Shri S. Y. Savur

          Please refer to your online RTI Application dated 21.07.2017.

          Information sought by you under para 5 (a), (b) and (c) is related to Pay which is pertaining to Naval Pay Office, Mumbai. Your application therefore is being transferred to the CPIO, NPO, Mumbai for providing information. Further, regarding pension, it is stated that as per OROP Circular No. 555 dated 04.02.2016, table 1, Lt Cols, Cols and Brig and equivalents are drawing Basis (sic) Pension of Rs 34765/-, Rs 36130/- and Rs 37570/- respectively at maximum level of Qualifying Service of 33 year and above from 01.07.2014 to 31.12.2015.

          Hence this office is not in a position to provide information regarding number of Lt Cols, Cols, and Brigs and equivalent who are drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000/-.

If you are not satisfied with the information provided, an appeal against this information can be made to First Appellate Authority of this office Jt CDA, Shri Anupam D Sonalkar, IDAS within 30 days from the date of receipt of this letter.

Sd/-------------
Bhawini Tripathi
DCDA (N)/ CPIO

Copy to:
         
1. The CPIO, Naval Pay Office INS Angre, SBS Road Mumbai – 400023
The above application is transferred in terms of Section 6(3) of the RTI Act, 2005 as the information sought under para 5 (a) (b) and (c) is related to pay and the functions of your office. The information desired under para 5 (a), (b) and (c) of the application may be furnished directly to the applicant.                
2. The CPIO, PCDA (O), Pune
3. The CPIO, PCDA (P), Allahabad

Sd/-------------------
Bhawini Tripathy
DCDA(N)/CPIO

BY REGISTERED POST
From

S Y Savur
141, Jal Vayu Towers,
NGEF Layout, Indira Nagar (PO),
Bengaluru – 560038

To,

Shri Anupam D Sonalkar, IDAS
Jt CDA & First Appellate Authority,
O/o Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Navy)
No.1 Cooperage Road, Colaba, Mumbai- 400001

First Appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act, 2005
Against misleading information provided by DCDA (N)/CPIO
vide AN/I/LC/RTI/Vol-XXIV dated 10th August 2017

List of Appendices: -

A       Self attested printed copy of DCA/Pen-I/RTI/Vol II dated 9th August 2017 received online through the RTI portal.  

Sir,

I am aggrieved by the misleading information provided by DCDA (N)/CPIO in reply to my online RTI request No. CGDFA/R/2017/50280 dated 21st July 2017 and transferred by O/o CGDA to office of PCDA (Navy) on 27th July 2017.

Brief Facts leading to this First Appeal

2.       Govt of India approved recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC), and Ministry of Defence issued Special Army Instructions (and corresponding Instructions for Navy and Air Force) Nos 2/S/2008, 3/S/2008 and 4/S/2008. Army Officers of the ranks of Lt Cols to Maj Gens (and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force) were placed in Pay Band – 4 with Basic Pay of Rs 37400-67000. While Lt Cols to Maj Gens were awarded different rates of Grade Pay, MSP was limited to personnel up to and including the rank of Brig and equivalent.

3.       This applicant approached O/o CGDA vide online request No. CGDFA/R/2017/50280 dated 21st July 2017 for information specifically of the number of Commissioned Officers of the ranks of Lt Col to Brig and equivalents drawing total emoluments exceeded Rs 80000/- as on 31st December 2015 and drawing pension of Rs 40000/- or more as on 31st December 2015. Para 4 of the ibid online request states, to clear any ambiguity, “The transition to Defence Pay Matrix of the 7th CPC is of officers in service on 1.1.2016, i.e. based on pay, Grade Pay and MSP drawn on 31.12.2015. Similarly those already retired on or before 1.1.2016 will draw the new scales of pension by the formula and concordance tables which are yet to be issued.   

4.       Before filing a request for information, in order to understand the implications of the observation of the Addl Secretary, MoD, this applicant perused the websites of O/o CGDA and O/o PCDA (Pensions) to obtain this information if it was published on either or both websites. Since it was not available, the online request referred to Para 3 above was filed. O/o CGDA transferred the request to the PCDA (O), PCDA (N), JCDA (AF) and PCDA (Pensions) on 27th July 2017.

Grounds for this First Appeal

5.       The DCDA (N)/CPIO, O/o PCDA (Navy) has made an erroneous statement, “Further regarding pension, it is stated that as per OROP Circular No. 555 dated 4th February 2016, Table 1, Lt Cols, Cols, and Brig and equivalents are drawing Basic Pension of Rs 34765, Rs 36130 and Rs 37570 respectively at maximum of qualifying service at 33 years and above from 01.07.2014 to 31.12.2015. Hence this office is not in a position to provide information regarding number of Lt Cols, Cols, and Brigs and equivalents who are drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000/-. ”

6.       Circular No. 555 dated 3rd February 2016 provides for two categories of pension as Para 3 MoD letter No. 12(1)/2014/D (Pen/Pol) Pt II dated 7th November 2015 states, inter alia; -

(ii)      Pension will be refixed for all pensioners on the basis of average of minimum and maximum pension of personnel retired in 2013 in the same rank with the same length of service. 

(iii)     Pension of those drawing above the average shall be protected (emphasis supplied).

(Note:-        Further, even the pro-rata deduction for qualifying service less than 33 years has been done away with vide MoD letter No. 1(2)/2016-D (Pen/Pol) dated 30th September 2016 and PCDA Circular 568 dated 13th October 2016.]

7.       Pensions of those who retired on or after 1.1.2006 were calculated in terms of GoI/Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Resolution dated 29th August 2008, No. 38/37/08- P& PW (A), Annexure, S No. 2 states, inter alia, “….pension should be paid at 50% of the average emoluments received during the past 10 months or the last pay drawn, whichever is more beneficial to the retiring employee.”     

8.       Further to the above GoI letter, revision of pension for personnel of Armed Forces retiring or dying in harness on or after 1st January 2006 is mandated in MoD vide Para 3.1 of No. 17(4)/2008(2)/D (Pen/Pol) dated 12th November 2008 has stated that for Commissioned Officers for Retiring/Service/Invalid Pension, “Pay in the Pay Band, Grade Pay, Military Service Pay and Non-Practicising Allowance, if any, last drawn,” as the Reckonable Emoluments (emphasis supplied). PCDA Circular No. 555 does not apply to this category of pensioners. 

9.       The total maximum emoluments and therefore the pensions (in Rs) of the officers of the ranks of Cdr to CMDE (and equivalents) became as follow: -

Rank
Pay at maximum of the pay Band
Grade Pay
MSP
Total  maximum emoluments as on 31 Dec 2015
Pension amounts  at 50% of amount in column 5
Maximum pension vide Circular 555, Table No 1*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Cdr
67000
8000
6000
81000
40500
34765
Capt
67000
8700
6000
81700
40850
36130
CMDE
67000
8900
6000
81900
40950
37570
* Basic OROP for each rank and years of service as authorised by PCDA (P) Circular No. 555 for pre-2006 retirees.

10.     Circular No. 570 and MoD letter No. 17 (01)/2016- D (Pen/Pol) dated 29th October 2016, and Annexure B thereof have to be completed requiring updating of records by PCDA (P). The ibid MoD letter states at Para 16.3, “A suitable entry regarding revised pension with effect from 1.1.2016 fixed in terms of Para 5.1 above, as the case may be, will be recorded by the Pension Disbursing Agencies in the Pension records of the pensioners viz Pension Payment Order, Check Register/Pension Payment Scroll Register. An intimation regarding disbursement of revised pension may be sent by the Pension Disbursing Agencies to the Office of PCDA (P) Allahabad in prescribed Annexure to these orders so that orders can be updated. A hard copy of the said Annexure –B may invariably be provided by the PDAs to the pensioners concerned for their information. An acknowledgement shall be obtained by the Pension Disbursing Agencies from Office of PCDA (Pensions), Allahabad in token of receipt of the requisite Annexure (emphasis supplied).

11.     Even O/o PCDA Circular No. 570 dated 31st October 2016 O/O PCDA (Pensions) has issued instructions, at Para 14.3. A suitable entry regarding revised pension with effect from 1.1.2016 fixed in terms of Para 5.1 above, as the case may be, will be recorded by the Pension Disbursing Agencies in the Pension records of the pensioners viz. Pension Payment Order, Check Register/Pension Payment Scroll Register. An intimation regarding disbursement of revised pension may be sent by the Pension Disbursing Agencies to Shri S. Basumatari, Senior Accounts Officer, O I/C Audit Coordination Office of the PCDA (P), Allahabad-14 on e-mail ID : cdaalbd@nic.in, in soft copy as well as hard copy of Annexure B to the Govt. letter, so that records can be updated. Annexure-B may invariably be provided by the Pension Disbursing Agencies to the pensioners concerned for their information. An acknowledgement shall be obtained by the PDAs from Office of PCDA (Pensions), Allahabad in token of receipt of Annexure –B.”

12.     So, PCDA (Pension) Circular No. 570 in particular required PDAs to provide additional information in the format given in Annexure B thereof referring to Para 16.3 of MoD letter No. 17 (01)/2016- D (Pen/Pol) dated 29th October 2016 for updating of records by PCDA (P) (emphasis supplied). All data provided by PDAs on claims/payments would, therefore, be electronically recorded by the EDP Cell and processed by the Audit Coordination Office of PCDA (Pensions). This data material therefore held in an electronic form, and i is information as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 2005.

13.     Further, the website/portal of the O/o PCDA (P) (http://pcdapension.nic.in) displays the following information on the areas of responsibilities of different Principal Field Controllers in respect of pensions of Commissioned Officers of the Army, Navy, and Air Force: -
         
PREFACE

   xxxx                            xxxx                               xxxx

   With a view to achieve promptness in settlement of pensionary entitlements of Naval and Air Force personnel, the work relating to grant of their pension was transferred to PCDA(Navy), Mumbai and CDA (Air Force), New Delhi respectively w.e.f. 01.11.1985.”
xxxx                                         xxxx                               xxxx
In case of Naval officers/ personnel discharged on or after 1.11.85 the complaints may be addressed to CDA (Navy), No. 1, Cooperage Road, Mumbai-400039 email-id cdabombay@hub.nic.in as they are the concerned Pension Sanctioning Authorities” (emphasis in the original).

14.     The Annexure B to the MoD letter dated 29th October 2016 includes requirement for all PDAs to provide the information to all Pension Sanctioning Authorities i.e. the O/o PCDA (Navy) in case of Navy pensioners.

15.     It is reiterated that the information requested vide CGDFA/R/2017/50280 pertains at most to a few hundred Lt Cols, Cols and Brigadiers who are drawing Rs 40000 or more per month as pension as on 31st December 2015. Surely, the CPIO, O/o PCDA (Pension) does not want this applicant/appellant to believe that stupendous effort would be needed to identify Commissioned Army Officer pensioners in the ranks of Cdrs, Capts and CMDE who were paid Rs 40000 or more per month as pension as on 31st December 2015 even though the task is made easier using EDP through Aashraya.

16.     The JCDA (AF) which maintains records of lakhs of IAF pensioners (Officers and Airmen) has provided the information on the number of equivalent ranks vide DCA/Pen-I/RTI/Vol-II dated 09.8.17 (Appendix ‘A’). JCDA (AF) has provided information that there are, equivalent rank-wise, the following number of Officers who are drawing pension in excess of Rs 40000/-.

(a)      Wg Cdr/Wg Cdr (TS)                        -        57

(b)     Gp Capt/Gp Capt (TS)                      -        91, and

(c)      Air Cmde                                           -        37.

17.     Further, JCDA (AF) has further requested AFCAO, just as DCDA (N)/CPIO has requested NPO to provide information in respect of serving officers on the above ranks drawing total emoluments of Rs 81000, Rs 87000, and Rs 81900 as on 31st December 2015.

Appeal and Request by this Applicant/Appellant

18.     First Appellate Authority may be pleased to instruct the DCDA (N)/CPIO, to provide the number of Commissioned Officers Pensioners of the ranks of Cdrs, Capts, and CMDE, who were drawing pension of Rs 40000/- or more as on 31st December 2015.
Sd/-------------------------
17th August 2017                                                                       (S Y Savur)
Place: Bengaluru – 560038                                                         (Applicant/Appellant)

Encls:         Appendices as stated
 TYPED TRUE COPY