PROPOSAL TO REDUCE PENSION OF SEPOYS TO DISCOURAGE PMR
My comments on each of the issues raised by Infantry Directorate, Army HQ in their letter No: A/60062/LMC/Inf-6(Pers) dated 20 Jun 2018 are given in succeeding paragraphs.
1. Recommendation of Infantry Directorate: Increase pensionable service to reduce PMR.
My Comments: The PMR soldiers are deprived of OROP and they get enhancement of pension only once in 10 years. They already suffer. Because of this many Sepoys hesitate to seek PMR and complete 17 years’ service and get pension. By increasing their service by three more years, nothing tangible is likely to be achieved. We will have older Army which is against the ethos of Young Indian Army. The very Infantry Directorate suggests that instead of keeping LMC Persons and superseded personnel on rolls of Army, it is better to let them go. This will also help many younger soldiers to get promotions faster. Therefore Infantry Directorate itself is not very clear as to what should be their stand. Moreover we need young soldiers in Infantry to close in and destroy enemy. If you have 40 year old soldier how do you expect him to have motivation to assault the enemy positions like they did in Op VIJAY in Kargil in May – Jul 1999. After 35 years of age even BPET standards are reduced as our body gives up with increase in age. 3.5% of PMR is very small figure when we have 13 lakh soldiers in Army alone. De-motivated JCOs / OR are a burden on any unit.
2. Recommendation of Infantry Directorate: Reduce Pension Budget
My Comments: The Infantry Directorate does not appear to know that 55% of defence pension is accounted for by 5 lakh Defence Civilians and 45% of pension budget is for 24.50 lakh defence pensioners. This is due to NFU granted to all Group A Defence Civilian officers.
3. Recommendation of Infantry Directorate: Trained Manpower Available Till Soldier Reaches Age of 40 Years.
My Comments. The Infantry Directorate appears to be seeing only figures and not the actuals. Consider a 40 old Sepoy trying to assault enemy position vis – a – vis 35 year old infantry soldier. Only 25% of Sepoys can hope to become a Naik and further 25% hope to become Havildar. When Sepoys are superseded at 10 to 12 years’ service they are a liability to Army for next 8 to 10 years. Since Jan 2006 no Sepoy retires as a Sepoy and all of them get pay of Havildar when they put in 16 years’ servie and on retirement will get pension of Havildar due to Modified Assured Career Progression. So why cannot Army let a Soldier go after he puts in 16 years’ service with full pension? This will help many junior sepoys to join Army and youthful profile of Army will be maintained.
4. Recommendation of Infantry Directorate: PMR to be levied penalties.
My Comments. There cannot be dumber suggestion than this. In any organization, demotivated personnel are tempted to apply for Golden Hand Shake. This will help the organization to get new & younger personnel who have higher levels of motivation to do well and contribute all their might to improve the performance of the organization. If PMR is to be levied only on JCOs / OR then Courts of Law will step in and call it as discriminatory if the same penalty is not levied on Officers. This violates simple principle of equity. Moreover the terms and conditions cannot be changed in the middle. All Sepoys when they joined have been told that they will get full penson of Sepoy if they serve for 15 years and will get pension of Havildar if they serve for 16 years due to Modified Assured Career Progression. Then how can the terms and conditions can be changed unilaterally later?
5.Recommendation of Infantry Directorate: Training Period of Recruit NOT to counted towards Pension.
My Comments. This is again violation of terms and conditions. Since they are paid pay of Soldier during training period of recruit and if they are to be treated as suggested by the Infantry Directorate, then they will get only stipend like the officer cadets in IMA / OTA etc. If the soldier dies while undergoing training his NOK will get peanuts as compensation.
6. Recommendation of Infantry Directorate: Pension to be reduced if the Sepoy serves for less than 20 years i.e. 75% if they serve less than 17 years, 85% if they serve less than 20 year and 100% if they serve for 20 years.
My Comments. We have seen during our visits to various villages as part of our Awareness camps that all pensioners live on pension alone. When the pensioners die their spouses get family pension. The family pension is already reduced to 60% of pension of their husbands. Let us compare what a Sepoy with 17 years’ service who gets pension of Havildar now and if the above reduction is implemented what is the effect on pension both on pensioners and family pensioner of Sepoy.
Ex-Service Sepoys Group – Y
|Pension of Sepoy Group Y,
with 16 years’ Service(Hav due to MACP)
w.e.f Jan 2016
|Pension if 75%
for Less than 17 Years’ service
|Pension if 85% for Less than 20 years’ service||Loss if Pension is 75%||Loss If Pension is 85%|
Family Pensioners of Sepoys Group- Y
|Pension of Family Pensioner of Soldier who is Sepoy, Group Y, with 16 years’ Service(Hav due to MACP) w.e.f Jan 2016||Pension if 75% for Less than 17 Years’ service||Pension if 85% for Less than 20 years’ service||Loss if Pension is 75%||Loss If Pension is 85%|
Recommendation by TSEWA: Every Central Government Ministry and Department tries to get their pensions enhanced. It is only Army, and that too Infantry, gets such illogical and thoughtless views which are de-motivating. Since pensions are same for Sepoys of Navy and IAF, I am sure these two services will reject such proposal with all contempt at their command. This will lead to many court cases and TSEWA will be the first ESM Association which will not hesitate to get this draconian proposal dismissed if required in Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)
9493191380 (Mobile connectivity is very poor in my residential complex)