Preliminary Report of TSEWA Team to Army HQ: 07 to 09 Feb 17
As per the decision taken by the Executive/Core Committee meeting on 01 Feb 17, the team TSEWA proceeded to Delhi to meet Adjutant General (AG), Managing Director (MD) ECHS, Director General Manpower Planning (DGMP), Chairman Army Pay Commission Cell and other senior officers of Army HQ. The meeting was organised and coordinated by Col Ajit Singh Rana, President, North Zone, TSEWA, with his rapport & influence.
(a) Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd) – President, TSEWA
(b) Cmde Sudheer Parakala (Rtd) – Zonal President, South, West & East Zones
(c) Sgt Lawrence Joseph (Rtd) – Vice President, TSEWA
(d) Brig SKS Rana, VSM(Rtd) – Head Legal Cell, TSEWA
(e) Brig Anil Srivastava, VSM (Rtd) – Advocate for TSEWA
(f) Col Ajit Singh Rana (Rtd) – Zonal President, North Zone
The TSEWA team interacted with AG and other Senior officers of Army HQ on 08 and 09 Feb 2017.
Interaction on 08 Feb 2017
Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Ph D, the AG, delivered a talk titled “Current Challenges of Human Resources in the Indian Army” in USI building, EDP Enclave, Delhi Cantt at 1100 hrs. A large number of serving, retired officers and Team TSEWA attended the event. It was very useful talk covering so many issues which the Indian Army is confronted with.The detailed report containing important aspects is being fwd to Col Ajit Singh Rana, for approval of the AG. Once he clears it,the same will be put up in the public domain. The topics covered are:-
(a) Type of Recruitment in the Indian Army. Shortcomings and improvements instituted for smooth conduct of recruitment to avoid litigation in AFTs later.
(b) Intake in the Indian Army in the Officer Cadre. The SSCO entry of 5+5 year tenure is being made very attractive with an assured second career.
(c) Cadre Review. The benefit of Cadre review once in five years for the Army on the same lines of All Central Govt ministries.
(d) Electoral Reforms.Armed Forces have taken a lead to get electronic voting by which almost 12 lakhs serving soldiers are likely to cast their votes deployed even in remote areas in all future elections,as postal ballot is not feasible.
(e) Buddy System. Being critically examined and a solution is going to be found out very soon.
(f) Litigation. 17,000 cases on the average are being defended at any time. However, if a judgment is given in favour of ESM , Army HQ will not contest it in the hon’ble Supreme Court. But to get a benefit, the ESM who are not litigants in that particular case , has no option but to go to AFT. Personal Services (PS) Directorate is working very hard to reduce the litigation .
(f) Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV). Army is committed to the welfare of ESMs and Family pensioners. AGs branch has taken initiative to make DIAV fully functional with the goal of reaching out to 25 lakh ESMs and family pensioners on continual basis. It is headed by a serving Brigadier with staff of all ranks. It has a full-fledged web site. All grievances projected by ESMs and Family Pensioners are being looked into on priority and actions to redress their grievances is being undertaken.
– Responsibility of Veterans. The AG emphasized that Social media and Electronic media can influence the public to a great extent. Sometime ESMs are putting in social media incorrect information showing Service HQs in poor light. Some of them are showing Service HQs as villains without even checking the stand of Service HQ on many issues. Min of Def sends all grievances received at PMO or office of Raksha Mantri to service HQ who have to analyse the grievance. The Service HQ have to either take action suo-moto or recommend to the Ministry on grievances referred to them. Even when Service HQ recommends a genuine grievance to be approved by the Min of Def, the same is not given its due to incorrect and at times false information given by ESMs in Social media. Therefore many a time ESMs are only jeopardizing their own cases though Army HQ wants to help the cause of ESMs.
– AG requested all veterans to check up for correct information from Army HQ before hitting the key board. Army HQ stands by the veteran community to help them in all respects. AG requested that conjecture and half-truths has no place.
– AGs branch is in constant touch with CPPCs of all pension paying branches, DPDO, CGDA to ensure legitimate entitlements are given correctly and in time. SBI and PNB have placed their representatives in the office of PCDA (P) Allahabad to ensure there is total synergy between PSA and PDA. Other banks are being persuaded to follow their lead .
(g) Transition to Second Career. AGs branch has taken up with Ministry of Skill Development to train all retiring 60,000 JCOs and OR every year to get a decent second career. PPOs will be generated eight months before their date of retirement.
(h) ECHS. The problems faced by veterans and family pensioners is well known. The shortage of medicines and procedural delays are looked into on priority. The aim is every ECHS member must get best medical treatment in Empanelled hospitals. Cashless and hassle free medical treatment is the aim. Goal is to cut down delays in payment of bills and with initiatives taken, it is likely not to exceed 30 days.
(j) 7th CPC. Anomalies of 6th CPC are being constantly pursued with Min of Def. Core anomalies of 7th CPC have been vigorously pursued. AG briefed all committees constituted to resolve anomalies of 7th CPC and briefed them where the Defence Services have been short changed.
Question- Answer Session. He covered the following issues.
(a) NFU. Many ESMs are under wrong impression that Service HQs have opposed to NFU. On the contrary,when Armed Forces are not included in NFU, Service HQ have been taking up the issue with Min of Def right from 2009. Even the issue was agitated in front of the 7th CPC.
(b) JAG Branch. JAG branch officers are not members of Bar Council of India. Hence they cannot defend our cases in the AFTs and courts of law. The Central Govt Standing Counsel (CGSC) is the one who is empowered to defend the cases.
© Tri Services Act. Since last three years all three Services HQs have come together to prepare Tri Services Act. Hopefully it will see light of the day.
Presentation on Grievances of ESMs and Family Pensioners.
Since AG has to suddenly go out of Station, TSEWA was asked to make the presentation to DGMP. Accordingly team TSEWA made the presentation in the office of DGMP at 1500h on 08 Feb 17. MD ECHS, Chairman Pay Commission Cell, Offg ADGPS, a number of staff officers of AGs Br attended .
The DGMPS, Lt Gen Gopal, SM, received the team TSEWA and thanked them for having agreed to make the presentation. Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd) made a presentation . The four major issues covered were :-
(a) Anomaly in Circular 568 by which JCOs, OR and Family Pensioners were paid less Arrears due to Adoption of Minimum of Fitment Table of SAI 1/S/2008
(b) Problems Faced in ECHS.
© Functioning of Record Offices
(d) Zilla Sainik Boards and Rajya Sainik Boards.
The assurance given is AGs branch is totally committed to welfare of ESMs and Family pensioners. They desired such meeting between ESMs and Army HQ at frequent interavals is most welcome. AGs branch will give authentic information to ESMs so that no misgiving exist in the minds of ESMs and Family Pensioners about Service HQs.
Points from MD ECH
– Maj Gen Bam ,the MD on seeing the presentation accepted that certain problems are existing and all efforts are being undertaken to find solution at the earliest. He assured he is constantly in touch with Min of Def, AGs Branch, ECHS Regional HQs, Polyclinics and even veterans. He stated any one can ring him up at any time of the day or night to project his problem. He wanted veterans to understand his limitations.
– He informed us that he has taken up the perennial problem of shortage or non-availability of medicines in MHs, clearance of bills of empanelled hospitals, budget constraints, problems created by IFA system etc. Army Cdr, Southern Comd visited Secunderabad and found that MH Golconda has no problem with IFA though he is a difficult person to convince. All formalities to get medicines not available in MHs to be supplied by Apollo pharmacy was completed and at the last minute the agreement was cancelled. Effort to get Authorised Local Chemist is almost through and shortage of medicines is likely to become thing of the past.
Interaction on 09 Feb 2017
Chairman Army Pay Commission Cell, Maj Gen Kapil Aggarwal invited the team TSEWA to have a detailed interaction with him and his staff in his office at 1100 hrs on 09 Feb 2017. The team TSEWA discussed many issues with the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and two staff officers on various issues affecting pension and arrears, anomalies in 7th CPC. Since stand of Army HQ cannot be put in the public domain the same is not being included in this mail.
– He accepted the suggestion of TSEWA that there is a need to have a permanent Tri Services Pay Commission Cell so that continuity is assured. Such a cell will be able to interact with other Ministries and get best deal for Armed Forces and pensioners in subsequent pay commissions.
– He advised all veterans to read not only 7th CPC Report pertaining to the Armed Forces but of other ministries and know how they have got a better deal. The Army Pay Commission cell has brought out that a Track Man of Railways which is a unskilled worked category whose grade pay was Rs 1,800 in 6th CPC got a jump to equivalent of Rs 2,400 in 7th CPC. Similarly even CAPFs got a better deal in 7th CPC. Every BSF constable gets benefit of field area if he is in BOP. If the walking distance is 5 km or more he gets additional allowance of 25%. Similarly a Lascar (Non Combatant) in Coast Guard got a better deal than a Sepoy of Armed Forces.
– Deputy Chairman,gave us all actions taken by their cell to get better deal such as getting pension from Jan 2016 = 2.57 x Pension as on Dec 2015, improvement of index of rationalisation of Lt Cols to Brig and additional steps in the Increment method of pay fixation of serving soldiers and pensioners. NFU is likely to be sanctioned soon. He assured all help to ESMs and Family pensioners. The mandate of Army Pay Commission Cell is till Jun 2017 and will be wound up.
During discussion with various senior serving officers, it was revealed the Service HQ have taken up large number of anomalies in 6th CPC with the Govt of India. Govt of India instead of resolving them by appointment of a committee, passed on these anomalies as a term of reference to 7th CPC. 7th CPC instead of looking into anomalies threw the ball back to Govt of India. TSEWA in their next meeting with AGs branch,plans inform them that it is going to take up such anomalies through AFTs for resolution .
Interaction with Brig Anil Srivastava, VSM, Advocate of T SEWA
– The second court out of three in AFT (PB) Delhi will function very soon. The seven completed cases will be filed soon.
– He informed AFT is insisting that all litigants should give an undertaking to lead litigant of the case authorising him to file their documents to AFT on their behalf.
– AFT – 21 on Incorrect Arrears Fixation of 33 Year Delinked .T SEWA argument on AFT 21 stands legal scrutiny. If pension is paid at Maximum of Fitment Table and arrears of that pension also to be paid at Maximum of Fitment Table.
– Invoices for each legal case with required details will be sent to HQ T SEWA as desired.
Point from Brig SKS Rana, VSM, Head of Legal Cell.
The Govt of India, Min of Def letter clearly stated that once AFT gives judgment on broad banding, benefit to all those given lesser percentages of disability, the PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad should take action to generate Corr PPOs suo-moto. Though the stand is correct, the other members of TSEWA felt that DAD will always state that they will take action only if PS -4 (Legal) Army HQ/other Service HQs forwards such judgments with their recommendation then only Corr PPOs granting benefit of Broad Banding will be issued. So we will not allow PCDA (P) Allahabad to delay such claims on some pretext or other and send all such cases be sent to PS Directorate (PS-4 Legal)/Pers Dte of other Service HQs for expeditious action.
Impressionof President ,TSEWA
After interacting with so many senior serving officers, TSEWA is convinced that Service HQ is totally committed to the welfare of ESMs and Family Pensioners. We Veterans without benefit of correct data do at times level unsubstantiated charges against Service HQ. We have to understand limitation of Service HQ and appreciate they can go to some extent and beyond that they have to accept whatever is thrust upon them by Govt of India. Things are improving. Therefore,all members of TSEWA are humbly requested to exercise restraint while critising the Service HQs in the Social media, Service HQs are working for the veteran community and let us not make their position rather awkward.
There is a need for TSEWA to visit Army HQ once in six months to establish good rapport with senior serving officers to pursue cases either with Govt or through AFTs and hon’ble Supreme Court.
Sgt Lawrence Joseph, Vice President was involved in every meeting and presentation from 07 to 09 Feb 2017 .He as part of team TSEWA now has fully understood TSEWA works more for welfare of JCOs, OR and family pensioners than Officers.
Since AG was course mate of Col Ajit Singh Rana, President, North Zone, TSEWA, he got this meeting arranged. I am sure many of you know the present service chiefs and PSOs who might be your regimental buddies, seniors or colleagues etc. You must help TSEWA to get their audience to project grievances of ESMs and Family pensioners. We must constantly sensitize the Service HQs of ground realities.
Overall the visit of TSEWA team to Army HQ has been highly successful