Friday, February 19, 2016

"Rank Last Held" vis-a-vis "Rank For Pension"

A reading of one of the blog-posts on Maj Navdeep Singh’s blog “Indian Military Services Benefits And Issues” (link at the end of this blog-post) drew attention to a portion of the circular issued for implementing OROP.

Para 11(b) of PCDA circular 555 mentions a distinction between ranks in which ESM retired and ranks to be used for computing pensions.

The context, in which the para finds inclusion in the Circular, remains unclear. At first glance this appears to relate to those specific cases of PPOs in which the two types of ranks have been endorsed for payment of pension to holders of such PPOs.

However, just the knowledge that such a provision can exist helps to indicate a way out for establishing parity of pensions for older and current retirees.

We know that para 11(a) of Circular 555 provides for payment of Lt Col pensions to post 01 Jan 1996 retirees in Maj rank with more than 21 years of service. This would be one example of “Rank For Pension” being different from “Last Rank Held”. As to how OROP can ever be OROP if pre Jan 1996 Maj retirees, with the same service of 21 years, do not get the same pension as post 01 Jan 1996 Maj retirees, is not a matter that should be left for a judicial commission to sort out.

This anomaly does not end with the 21 years matter. The afore-mentioned blog post in Maj Navdeep Singh's blog mentions the fact, and I quote, ”nobody retires in the rank of Major as per the current dispensation, the pension of past retirees was to be based on notional fixation”. All very understandable so far. But the blog-post goes on to suggest, I quote again, “figures in the tables however fall below the notional fixation for the said ranks. An officer of the rank of Major, if taken as not promoted to Lt Col and progressing in his own rank with due increments in his own pay-band…”

Here we get into a zone of imagination that centres on what if the older Maj retiree had continued to draw increments in his own pay-band? I would like to ask here, why that idea should limit the true concept of being "notional" about fixing pensions for older retirees?

The older Maj retiree who had put in 20 years, or more, of service would have retired as Lt Col, on time-bound basis, with equal service after 16 Dec 2004. If we have to start imagining things and arrive at “notional” fixations, what is wrong with the “notion” of the older Maj retiree having actually progressed, on time-bound basis, to the pay-band of Lt Col, a notion based on an actual parallel post 16 Dec 2004, rather than imagining non-existent increments in the same rank?

Besides, giving a time bound promotee who retired prior to 16 Dec 2004 less pension, fixed in a lower pay-band, than another time-bound promotee with the same service who retired after 16 Dec 2004, is as clear a case of discrimination as can be thought of. It is all very well to cite fortuitousness as a basis for such differentials. Cut to the basics, it is all a result of capricious whimsy and arbitrariness rather than a ”fortuitous” outcome of some administrative process.

I clearly recall a case being cited online when a serving Officer of the armed forces had stated that ”it was opined....”, a phrase very useful for justifying administrative logic of the reprehensible kind, that there are “....bound to be loosers(sic) and gainers” in Govt decisions such as the selection of date of implementation of AV Singh Committee.

The concept advanced by that individual, of the Govt acting as a croupier in a game of chance at a casino, is so unspeakably repugnant that one yearns for a metaphorical blow-torch to enable incineration of such loathsome ideas at the source, taking care, of course, that the brain-cells that produced such logical travesty be only mildly singed in the process, in deference to provisions of human rights, orin view of the dubious state of evolution of neurons and synapses that could produce output of that nature, principles of SPCA may be invoked, if applicable, to ensure a post-obliteration certificate of the kind "no kind of life-form was harmed in the obliteration of that vile idea of Government-as-croupier".

Therefore, if we are to implement parities as called for in a paradigm changing concept such as OROP, we need to jettison some intellectual baggage that keeps us rooted to ways of old. The distinction provided for in Circular 555 points us in the right direction.

Just imagine, if the administrative machinery could issue the appropriate orders and PPOs could be endorsed as follows:

  • Endorsement In PPOs Of Maj With Service More Than 20 Years And Less Than 26 Years : “Rank Last Held   : Major; Rank For Pension : Lt Col”

  • Endorsement In PPOs Of Maj and Lt Col with Service More Than 26 Years : “Rank Last Held : Major/Lt Col (as applicable); Rank For Pension : Col(TS)”

This would come close to the idea of the previously spoken about variable veteran rank and remove a major anomaly arising out of “One Rank” of OROP not being really “one rank”. Let us not forget, yesterday’s Major with 20 years service = Today’s Lt Col with the same service. It is a central concept in the whole gamut of ideas and views on OROP.

As to why the stalwarts keep repeating OROP as implemented being “One Rank Several Pensions” and lose sight of the fact that OROP should also not be “Several Ranks And One Pension” is something that will need to be looked into and put up for consideration at a subsequent date.

Reference : Item (b) of blog post  


  1. The bureaucratic intellects are of different mindset. They will not get convinced with your simple down to earth logic. They require legal goading to understand the reality.

    1. @Manohar AM: A blog post, in any case, can't serve as an effective means for goading or convincing.

      The intention here is to highlight some aspects of issues that need attention and require a consolidated approach, by those affected, so some rationalization can take place.

    2. Really you brought in the relevant reality, I never meant that you are goading the bureaucracy. Knowing their mind set, it is obvious that your argument will be accepted by a court and not the MoD.

  2. Provisions of the circular that could be applied for providing equalization of pensions had been pointed out on twitter before Maj Navdeep's blog post.

    But amending PPOs is not necessarily the only way those issues can be set right.

  3. OROP phrase was coined after 3CPC,1973.Now,after43 years , applying that phrase sqarely and blindly without factoring / incorporating revised and redesignation of ranks of posts/appointments is visibly evasion of basic issues ,by the agencies and departments of GOI ,vested with that responsibility of issuing orders , circulars &tables.This is where the pivotal factor of time scale ranks /rankings is length of service in years as commissioned officer is basic and cannot be evaded - with NFU &MACP also to be factored ultimately.
    These compounding denials by some evading phrases of anomalies for decades ,are deliberate and serious omissions by all those heads.
    Further ,look at that order /circular which states( implied) that Majors of pre 1996 does not include those of pre 1986,1973....What sorts of order??, despite existence of so many related Govt Rules&Regulations ,judicial orders , and simple logic ( no magic).
    Rights of,
    aged veterans in above 70 ,who cannot shout loud are obviously overlooked by everybody ( MOD,DESW,PCDA,esms , service HQs, ).
    Hope .,rectification is awaited .

  4. While implementing the OROP, the bureaucracy unintentionally created too many ranks and the distributed alms to the veterans too are imaginary with no reason or rhyme. As you said they have to jerks on their intellectual baggage to bring back sanity in place. The 7CPC will bring in fresh assumptions to save few crores for the exchequer.

  5. In fact all substantive majors of pre 1986 retirees deserve to be considered for let col pension. ECOs who joined Army in 1960s were quite old to have completed 20/21 years of service before retiring at the then age of 52 years(which is now 54 years). Today officers retire at 54 and get Major rank in just 6 years which was 13 years then. More so all ECOs had to lose seniority by over one year for the purpose of promotion. All these points need strong follow up. Pre 1986 retirees are too old, if still alive to raise their voice or fight a legal battle. THEY MAY ALL HIT THE BUCKET & never get due JUSTICE in their life time

    1. A suggestion for pension parities based on QS of older retirees was made in this blog post.

      There is also a blog post with a suggestion for a similar QS based parity for OROP. It can be accessed with this link.