- Many ESMs are asking me likely benefit that may accrue to them following issue of Min of Def letter No: 16(3)/2017/D(Pen/Policy) letter dated 29 Jan 2019. Click here to view the letter.
- It may kindly noted that the minimum guaranteed pension is for casuality personnel (i.e. disabled soldiers or war injured soldiers), special family pensioners and dependents sanctioned liberalized dependent pension w.e.f. 01 Jan 2016. This letter does not pertain to normal Ex-Servicemen or ladies drawing ordinary or enhanced rate of ordinary family pension. The letter dated 29 Jan 2019 at para 2 stipulates minimum guaranteed pension as under:-
(a) Para 2.1 is fixation of minimum Disability Pension (Service Element + Disability Element) with any percentage of disability of Rs 18,000 pm.
(b) Para 2.2 fixes minimum Disability Pension for those whose disability percentage is not less than 60% whose disability pension should not be less than 60% of last pay drawn subject to minimum of Rs 18,000 pm.
(c) Para 2.3 fixes minimum Special Family pension at Rs 18,000 pm to wives of soldiers died while performing military duties. This excludes ESMs and ordinary family pensioners or those drawing Enhanced rate of OFP.
(d) Para 2.4 fixes Dependent Liberalised Pension of children of soldiers martyred at not less than Rs 18,000 pm.
- Many ESMs posed a question to me from the time the ibid Min of Def letter dated 29 Jan 2019 is issued : Does it benefit me? Let us analyse each of the above cases.
- (a) Disability Element. w.e.f. Jan 2016 disability element has been broad banded which is 50% irrespective whether the disability percentage is between 20% and 49% (disability granted prior to Jan 2016). That means disabled soldier irrespective of date of retirement even with 20% disability is now drawing disability element as if he is granted 50% disability from 01 Jan 2016. The disability element is 60% of pension (or 30% of last pay drawn) for 100% disability. For 50% disability it is 30% of pension or 15% of last pay drawn.
(b) Disability Pension = service element + disability element.
(c) Minimum Disability Pension Being Drawn Already w.e.f. 01 Jan 2016. We take the poorest of the poor soldiers i.e. Sepoy with 15 years’ service and of trade group Y for our analysis of ibid Govt letter dated 29 Jan 2019.
(i) Service element = is Rs 17,129
(ii) Disability Element is Rs 5,139 (30% of pension)
(iii) Disability Pension = Rs 17129 + 5139 = Rs 22,268
(iv) Disability pension he is already drawing w.e.f. 01 Jan 2016 = Rs 22,268.
(v) How does minimum of Rs 18,000 now sanctioned by the Min of Def in anyway benefit a disabled solider with 20% disability w.e.f. 01 Jan 2016 as he is already drawing Rs 22,268 as his disability pension? So none of the ESMs irrespective of their rank benefit from this Min of Def letter dated 29 Jan 2019.
(d) Disability Pension for Disabled Soldier whose Disability is not less than 60%. Let us examine this case too to see whether the ibid Min of Def letter dated 29 Jan 2019 gets him any benefit to such disabled soldiers. Pension of Sepoy with 15 years’ service and of Group Y as on Jan 2016 is as under:-
(i) Service Element. Rs 17,129
(ii) Disability Element with 60% rounded off to 75% due to Broad banding w.e.f. Jan 2016. Rs 17169 x 0.6 x 0.75 = Rs 7,708
(iii) Disability pension already being drawn = Rs 17129 + Rs 7708 = Rs 24,837.
(iv) Minimum guaranteed Disability pension is not less than 60% of last pay drawn = service element + disability element
(v) Service element = Rs 17129.
(vi) Disability element for disability not less than 60% of Last Pay drawn = 17129 x 2 x 0.60 = Rs 20,555 pm.
(vii) Does this ibid Min of Def letter of 29 Jan 2019 give any benefit to such disabled soldiers who are NOT invalided when they sustained disability but given sheltered appointment till the time of discharge on completion of terms of engagement?
5 Then who does this ibid Min of Def letter benefit? It may benefit only those who are invalided out of service as being unfit for military duties anymore. Generally, invalidment is done only if disability percentage is not less than 60%. Assume a Sepoy who sustained injuries which is more than 60% in his first year of service (war injured soldiers are not invalided in spite of 100% disability). His disability pension is as under:-
(a) Service Element – Rs 17129 pm
(b) Disability Element @ 75% disability due to broad banding = 17129 x 0.6 x0.75 = Rs 7708 pm
(c) Disability pension he is already drawing w.e.f. Jan 2016 = Rs 17129 + Rs 7708 = Rs 24,837 pm
(d) Disability Pension now fixed at minimum 60% of Last Pay Drawn subject to minimum of Rs 18000 = Rs 17129 + Rs 17129 x 0.6 x 0.6 = Rs 20,555 (subject to minimum of Rs 18,000)
(e) Even a Sepoy with six months service and invalided draws more than minimum of Rs 18,000
(f) Observation: The minimum guaranteed disability pension does not benefit even a sepoy with six months service of Group Y and invalided from service. No disabled sepoy of 15 years’ service and of Y Group is benefited by ibid Min of Def letter dated 29 Jan 2019.
- Family Pensioners. The wives of soldiers who die and whose death is attributable to or aggravated by military service are sanctioned Special Family pension. The special family pension is 60% of last pay drawn or double the Ordinary family pension. The ibid Min of Def letter has fixed minimum Special Family pension at Rs 18,000 pm. The special family pension w.e.f Jan 2016 already being drawn by Special Family Pensioners of soldier who put in just six months service is 7000 x 2.57 = Rs 17,990. But soldiers can join at age of 20 years and till they put in 5 years’ service are not permitted to marry. The earliest service a Sepoy who dies while performing military duty is 5 years and then only SFP is granted to his wifew. The SFP of wife of such sepoy being Rs 17, 990, she is benefitted by Rs 10 as the minimum is Rs 18,000 pm.Wives of Sepoys who die with 5.5 years of service are already drawing SFP of Rs 18095 (=7041 x 2.57). So ibid Min of Def letter also does not benefit wives of Sepoys whose husbands died with 5.5 years of service or more.
- Dependent Children Sanctioned Liberalised Dependent Pension. This pension is granted to children of martyred soldiers whose wives pre-deceased them. The minimum age at which a soldier is permitted to marry is 25 years. Even then let us see if a solider with just six months service is martyred, does his child get a benefit of minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 18,000 assuming his wife has pre-deceased him. The soldier whose service is just six months and martyred at the age of 20 or 20.5 years, then his child gets Liberalised Dependent pension of Rs 6183 x 2.57 = Rs 15,890. But you do not come across soldiers marrying at the age of 20 years. But if a soldier gets married at the age of 25 years and assuming he dies with 5.5 years of service then his dependent child gets pension of Rs 18,095. Even such children also do not get any benefit from the ibid Min of Def letter dated 29 Jan 2018.
(a) No disabled soldier of any disability percentage of any rank gets any benefit as his present pension is more than Rs 18,000 pm.
(b) No wife of soldier with 5.5 years or more service gets benefit of ibid Min of Def letter as they draw more than Rs 18,000 pm as SFP.
(c) No child of martyred soldier with service of 5.5 years of more gets benefit of ibid Min of Def letter as they are already drawing pension more than Rs 18,000.
- If someone can point out benefit of this ibid Min of Def letter, I will be highly obliged as I might have made some mistakes. Click on this link to view the MS Excel sheet showing these details.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)