Tuesday 15 September 2015

Reproduced below is an interesting take on how the wily IAS cadre has been feathering their nests on the quiet, ensuring the same pension for themselves in perpetuity while denying OROP to the Armed Forces pensioners after cheating them out of their 70% pensions in 1973 as a singular reward for their outstanding performance in the 1971 war! A bit longish but worth your while if you wish to get to the root of what ails our beloved Nation, please read on:

"Yes, the question is rightly posed and to the right class as it is a little known or, say, little publicised fact that it is only the IAS who are the biggest beneficiaries of the concept of One Rank One Pension (OROP). They crafted the Pension Fixation Formula in such a manner that they are immune to any post-Pay Commission disadvantage to the old retirees. This article explains how it was maneuvered.

A few decades ago, the IAS ‘invented’ a secret magic wand to make sure that they get OROP eternally and surreptitiously but others don’t. This is how it was manipulated: The highest pay in the Govt currently is Rs. 80,000 fixed, called the Apex Scale (though it is not a scale in the true sense as it does not scale up). Only the three Defence Chiefs and the Cabinet Secretary get the higher fixed pay of Rs.90,000. The invention of this concept of “Fixed” pay was meant to shield them for ever from the ill effects of the formula they devised for others. It was contrived that the pension of the Apex Scale retirees would always be linked to whatever the revised Apex Scale is in future. Since most of the IAS/IFS officers retire in the Apex Scale, this decree eternally ensured OROP for this class. To meet any murmur to the stratagem, some Apex Scale peanuts were also flung at a few posts in some other services including the defence forces. Army
Commanders and a large number of Lt. Generals and their equivalents in the other two forces were also granted this privileged Scale.

*The Real Culprit: The Pension Fixation Formula*

Clause 4.2 of the Office Memorandum F.No. 38/37/08-P&PW(A) dated 01.09.2008 issued by the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare goes as under:-
*“4.2 The fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than fifty percent of the minimum of the pay in the pay band plus the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. In the case of HAG+ and above scales, this will be the fifty percent of the minimum of the revised pay scale.”*

This is the clause that fixes the pension and is deliberately meant to discriminate between the old and the new pensioners of all the services except the IAS/IFS and a few other apex scale holders in other services (which includes me). This formula wipes out all the increments one had earned during the service and ignores the level of last pay. It knocks down all the pre-2006 retirees to a different inferior class at the bottom of the revised scale irrespective of whether they had retired at the bottom of the scale without earning any increment or at the top where they stagnated for years. No credit is given for the past increments.

A minute reading of this formula shows that it conceals more than it reveals. Without declaring in so many words, it bestows OROP on all the“Apex Scale” retirees. “Apex Scale” is the only scale (apart from Cabinet Secretary’s) which is not a running scale like others and serves the interest of almost all the directly recruited IAS/IFS officers who invariably reach it before retirement.

In the above formula, please note the other mischievous stipulation: For HAG and below, the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than 50% of the minimum of the pay, meaning it can go above but not below 50%. But for HAG+, it says it will be 50%*, *meaning fixed, neither less nor more than 50%. The dictum ‘*and above*’ after HAG+ (which is Rs.75,500–80,000) is meaningless because there is no running scale above HAG+ and is deliberately inserted to mislead. Above HAG+, there is only the Apex Scale (Rs.80,000 fixed) where minimum or maximum does not mean anything.
Therefore, the question of “*fifty percent of the minimum of the revised pay scale*” does not arise in the case of Apex Scale.

Please note that HAG+ scale is only for DG rank and is inferior to the Apex Scale. This scale simply does not exist for the IAS/IFS. IAS officers jump directly from HAG scale (which is for Addl. Secretary to the Govt of India) to the Apex scale without suffering the adverse pensionary pangs of HAG+.

As mentioned above, for HAG and below, the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than 50% of the minimum of the pay, meaning it can go above 50%. This benefits those Addl. Secretary rank officers who fail to get the Apex Scale before retirement. On the contrary, it is made sure that the HAG+ scale retirees are placed at the bottom of the revised scale for fixation of pension whenever a new Pay Commission comes. This results in old retirees drawing less pension than the new ones.

On the other hand, since the Apex Scale always remains fixed at the same level even after revision of scales, there is no question of any disparity cropping up between the pensions of old and new retirees of Apex Scale.
Thus, old retirees of the IAS draw the same pension as the new retirees, meaning they perpetually enjoy OROP. The existing formula grants this benefit to the IAS (and a few others) stealthily, without creating any fuss. The “Apex Scale” is a perfect camouflage to protect the interests of the elite class.

In the IAS, apart from all the Secretaries, even Special Secretaries enjoy the fixed Apex Scale. Almost all the IAS officers reach it and get ‘Moksha” (salvation), in that they get entitled to the “Apex Pension’ in perpetuity.
If due to any reason, a special Secretary fails to get promotion to the Secretary rank, he has nothing to lose as his pension is protected for ever.

The policy makers are the Secretaries, most of whom are IAS officers. Their class is the biggest user of OROP. And they decide and preach that others should not get OROP otherwise the country will go bankrupt!! Isn’t it ridiculous when they cry hoarse asking “why should old retirees get the same pension as the new retirees”? Why don’t they apply the same principle to their own class? Why should the old retired Secretaries get the same pension as the newly retired Secretaries? Doesn't it speak of their double standards?

*Solution?*

Giving OROP to just the Apex Scale holders was a bad and inequitable decision. If the country really cannot afford OROP, then why doesn't the IAS come forward and make the first ‘sacrifice’? Let them forego OROP for themselves and then preach others not to press for it on the excuse of the country’s inability to afford it. Let them abolish/forego the Apex Scale and remove the concept of fixed pay. Make the Apex Scale running like other scales. Replace it with the HAG+ scale of Rs.75,500 – 80,000 which they don’t have. This scale, in any case, touches the Apex Pay of Rs.80,000 which most of the current retirees of all services reach before retirement.

If the IAS does so, then what will happen? It will level the playing field for everybody. It will fix the pension of the newly retired IAS at Rs. 40,000 (50% of 80,000) {equivalent to the Apex Pension} and of the pre-2006 retiree IAS at 37,775 (50% of Rs.75,500) as dictated by the pension fixation formula. Though it won’t have much financial gain for the country but it would level the playing field. This way, senior retired IAS officers will get less pension than the junior retired IAS officers like it is happening with all other services. This will remove the concept of ROP altogether. This may occasion resistance from some IAS officers but it would remove the heart burn of millions of others and restore equity. This will ‘save’ the country from the projected ‘bankruptcy’.

The million dollar question is: Will the IAS accept this class differentiation between themselves, of old retirees getting less pension than the new retirees?Who will bite the bullet and who will bell the cat?

*Logical Pension Fixation Formula*

Apart from the above step of turning the Apex Scale into a running scale, the illogical pension fixation formula is fit to be modified. The new formula should give due weightage to the following factors which are the root cause of the present turmoil, dragging the Govt to a plethora of litigation and protests by the ex-service men:-

a) Full credit should be given in the replacement scale to the number of increments earned in the retiring rank.

b) The equivalent of the last pay drawn must be protected in the replacement scale.

c) The formula should clearly state that, as per law settled by the Supreme Court, seniors (intra-service as well as rank seniors) will not draw less pension than juniors.

Keeping these factors in view, the pension fixation formula could be logically framed as under:-
“*The fixation of pension will be subject to the provision that the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than 50% of the equivalent of the last pay drawn in the pay band plus the grade pay corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired, subject to the following conditions/provisos:-*

*a) **The same number of increments, which the pensioner had earned while in service in the last rank, and equivalent of the last pay drawn before retirement, whichever is more beneficial to the pensioner, will be taken into account for fixation of pension in the revised pay scale;*

*b) **The revised pension will, in no case, be lower than the maximum pension admissible to lower rank retirees;*

*c) **Further, the revised pension will, in no case, be lower than the pension of the intra-service juniors as per the seniority list of the same/similar rank.”*

If adopted, the above formula can remove the disparities caused by the current formula and will benefit every service and every rank.

I may add that the current pension fixation formula was declared unconstitutional to an extent by the Supreme Court in two cases: (i) D.S. Nakara & Others Vs. Union of India, (1983) 1 SCC 305 (at page 323), AIR 1983 SC 130 (ii) Union of India Vs. Major General (Retd) SPS Vains, (2008) 9SCC 125. In these cases, the issue was whether there could be a disparity in payment of pension between officers of the same rank who had retired prior to the introduction of the revised pay scales and those who retired thereafter. The Supreme Court held it to be wholly erroneous and violative of the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution. The Court held that the object sought to be achieved was not to create a class within a class, but to ensure that the benefits of pension were made available to all persons of the same class equally.

Though the law on OROP was settled by the Supreme Court seven years ago in the afore-mentioned SPS Vains case, it was applied by the Govt only to the petitioner’s rank, i.e. Major General. Unfortunately, the Govt adamantly expects every rank to approach the court to get the benefit of OROP and does not relent until it finally loses face in the Supreme Court.

The Forum of Retired IPS Officers (FORIPSO) too had to approach CAT to challenge the pension fixation formula where it has won in January this year and OROP has virtually been granted. As per habit and moved by the nexus, the Govt is heading to the High Court though they have no case. No wonder, Indian Govt has the dubious distinction of being the biggest litigant. May be such litigations will come down if the IAS, who are the brains behind it, voluntarily shed OROP for themselves and sail in the same boat as others.
Let the Brahminical I A S people first come clean on their "Apex Scale " issue. The Armed Forces personnel are taught that it is the political masters who laid down the policy matters and the I A S babus simply implemented the same. Over a period of time, taking advantage of themajority of illiterate Political Class, the Babus have manipulated the situation to their best advantage! It is a matter of shame that the Services Chiefs fell into this trap , lost track of fighting for the best I interest of their respective forces. It is they who have unwittingly surrendered their higher status over the last 68 years. Even now their deafening silence shows that they lack the knowledge of how to counter the Babus bluff and get the O R O P resolved to the best advantage of the Services. I hope that now at least better wisdom prevails. Let us not allow the last hope of this nation to go down the drain by politicising the same."

Friday 2 July 2010

You Consented - Ode To An Indian Wife

Hey all,
Here's another of my original poems published on poetry.com, paying tributes to the self-effacing Indian wife. If you double-click on the title above, it will take you to the renamed site - Lulu.POETRY.com - where it can still be found.

We had never met before but when I
proposed, you consented to be mine.
We had to spend a lifetime together and you
knew me not but, you consented to take the
plunge. You were among strangers when I got
you home, yet you consented to hang on.
I could not arrange a honey moon for us,
but you consented to remain home to share
your personal space with us, the family.
My folks wanted me for themselves, they
exluded you, yet you gladly consented to be
part of us. You have no demands, no needs,
and have consented to be mine forever and
ever in this and many more lives - oh!
thank you my love, i'm so grateful.
In return I pray to God to choose you and
you alone always and everytime in our after
life. I can only hope that you will consent
when he asks of you.

Friday 25 June 2010

friend on the internet

Friends, below is an original composition of mine of some vintage but still relevant I feel. For your enjoyment, read on.

friend, i've not seen u nor heard u
but ur my buddy, a human like me.
we share views and differences too
we agree and then agree to disagree.
ur color and ur race, ur age and ur gender
matter little in this wondrous new space.
ur 4 and my 2, they make much more than 6
we add our bit and its humanity that knows.
gone r the walls and fences that keep us apart
as r all the bounds
in a jiffy, we r in touch, no waiting, no pain,
no fear, no inhibitions, no rebuke.
why we seek others when we have our own
may be the reason 4 our times - the space shuttles,
the mirs, the rovers on mars.
so keep byting, i'll send u the bits
bye 4 now but save me on the disk.
pramod sharma
Copyright ©2002 pramod chandra sharma
________________________________________

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Why are the young of today so aggressive?

Hi everyone, am back after all this time! Back with the question - Why are the young of today so aggressive? There are two separate incidents which have led me to conclude that the young of today have little tolerance and are showing the potential to lose all control of themselves.

The first was at a popular self-service eating place in a mall in Gurgaon. We, the little family were in the process of placing our order when suddenly, very close to my ear, I heard a very loud voice demanding of the management guy as to why he had not been served for over twenty minutes. A very legitimate demand, I agree but his next statement is what has me worried. He went on to add that since his order had been delayed inordinately, he would make sure that no one else would be served either. What kind of upbringing has he had to come to such a state of mind? That the situation was quickly brought under control is a credit to the manager's 'people skills', for the aggressive gentleman was called aside and we neither saw him nor heard him again.

The second has to do with a lady who arrived at her residential parking area at eight-thirty in the evening and started a huge hullabaloo over her parking slot being occupied by garbage carts of the conservancy service provider. Once again, it is an affair to make anyone angry but, look at what she does next. She calls up some numbers of the facilities folks who do not respond or have their mobiles switched off. She looks for the security guards who are missing and then she decides to block all cars going out of the parking lot! It is very understandable that the lady was upset at the situation, being unable to park her car but to cause distress to others by involving them forcibly in her predicament! The sane thing to do, I feel was to either find another parking slot for the night, there being many empty ones there or to push out the carts elsewhere. Am I wrong in making my conclusions? Tell me please. I would love to learn. What is even more surprising is that the lady professes to follow a religion which stresses on nonagression as a way of life and its adherents are taught not to harm even inadvertantly, any form of life! So help us God.

Thursday 17 January 2008

Millions of Unsuccessful Suicide Bids every day on Indian roads

Seeing the traffic scene on Indian roads, I am convinced that every day millions of young Indians set out on their two wheelers, having made up their minds never to return home. Yes, you read right, they DO NOT want to return home, for why would they otherwise ride their bikes like they were in a competition to have an accident somehow! I live in Pune where there was an agitation launched some time ago against a Court order to make helmet wearing compulsory. Would you believe that even politicians joined the protests and to this day, the Court's order remains unimplemented! How do these guys (gals included, by the way) court certain death? Well first of all they ride at break neck speeds, they weave through traffic, overtaking vehicles from the left, right and whichever other way they can! This does NOT stop even in a turn; blind or otherwise! They do not seem to realise that in a turn, the vehicle ahead could turn loosely or tightly and the driver would be looking out for traffic ahead and NOT at them while they are in the over-take mode, thus they stand to risk being squeezed under. At traffic lights, they will NOT keep in their lanes, choking all openings and leading to delays in vehicles moving up, including theirs. (If they just stuck to their lane and waited for their turn, traffic congestion would clear far quicker for all. They also will suddenly drive onto a busy main road without checking out the fast moving traffic on it, little realising that the main road traffic has the right of way and they must stop short of the main road, look for traffic on it and only when clear, join it. But, none of this for our Fidayeen, after all they are on a suicide mission. But one thing is very clear of course, my young friends are very trusting. They trust the other driver for their safety; else, why would they do all the crazy things they do? I wonder if all these millions of unsuccessful suicide attempts are at the root of all the stress that young Indians seem to be suffering from.