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Invites regional ESM organizations to get affiliated with AFVAI to strengthen the movement Further.Please contact at afvaindia@gmail.com #

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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Letter from AFVAI to Hon'ble Prime Minister of India.

Letter from AFVAI to Hon'ble Prime Minister of India.

The Hon'ble Prime Minister
Government of India
New Delhi
Sub: Urgent appeal from the Defence Service Pensioners

Respected Sir,

The Armed Forces Veterans Association of India is a registered ESM Associations and we represent the Retired Defence Service Personnel members of our great nation. Our members include pensioners from all the three wings of Indian Armed Forces. We would like to draw your kind attention to the following points related to the Defence Service Personnel and seek your assistance in addressing them urgently.

1.Non implementation of 7CPC recommendations:
In accordance with the 7CPC recommendations as accepted by the Government, the pay and pension of all central government employees and pensioners have already been revised from Aug 2016. The notification for serving defence personnel has been issued recently on 05 Sep 2016. 

However the notification for defence service pensioners has not yet been issued.
We have also noticed that the timeline for payment of arrears to civilian employees and pensioners was very specific.They have already been paid arrears along with their August 2016 salary/ pension. But the notification for defence personnel is vague and says that the arrears will be paid during the financial year. This partial approach shown by the Government towards the Defence community is discriminatory and biased. 

We beseech upon your good offices for immediate assistance towards payment of arrears to both serving and retired defence personnel at par with their civilian counterparts.

2. Undue delay in payment of full pension and arrears thereon to Pre-2006 Defence Pensioners due to delinking of 33 years of service:
The DOPT OM dated 06.04.2016 was issued in compliance of the Supreme court orders in the case of M O Inasu Vs UOI. In pursuance of the same, pension of all eligible Pre -2006 central government Pensioners including that of the Civilian pensioners of Ministry of Defence have been revised immediately thereafter.

However the provisions of  the above cited OM, has not yet been implemented for Pre-2006 defence service Pensioners even more than 5 months after issue of the above DOPT OM.

We request you to look into the matter personally and assist in issuance of the orders without any further delay.

3.Difference in Military Service Pay (MSP):
The Military Service Pay (MSP) is, " the pay granted in recognition of the relative disadvantage of conditions of service experienced by members of the Armed Forces compared to the civilian sector."

It is paid  to compensate for the “intangible hardships” of military service. These include frequent transfers, long separation from families, wife unable to work, children changing schools frequently and growing up without their fathers etc.

Further as per the 7 CPC report recently accepted by the GOI, "the superannuation of defence personnel, particularly the Other Ranks (ORs) at a younger age, is also a factor that has been considered" in deciding MSP.
On careful analysis of the above, it's observed that the following two important factors have determined the policy of MSP:-

a).Intangible hardships of military life: This cannot vary depending upon different ranks held by the military personnel. The different MSP set against different categories gives us a perception that the lives of soldiers who face the real threat of life altering events like loss of limb or ultimate demise in the field of active duty is valued less when compared to an officer. Surely each one of us who enlist in the armed forces are willing to forsake our lives for defending our country and should be treated equally and more so in case of the so called "foot soldiers" who are most likely to perish during active duty rather than officers. This perception needs to change and we urge the government to show just consideration and value the lives of each one of us equally.

The opinion of  7 CPC that central government civilian employees are also subjected to similar transfer, long separation from family etc. as that of a Defence personnel is misleading. If at all, a small section of All India Service Officers undergo transfers and that too mostly for a shorter period of time. Majority of them, particularly C & B group employees are treated as 'local cadre' and remain in the same station from recruitment till retirement.  However the Defence personnel starting from the rank of Sepoys are frequently transferred (minimum of 4-5 transfers in 15 years) from one corner of the country to another and to remote & inaccessible parts of the country.The 7CPC should have verified the statistics/data before making such a controversial statement.

b). Retirement of ORs at a younger age: implies that the Personnel Other Ranks, majority of  whom retire between 32-37 years of age are to be compensated through higher amount of MSP. But the recommendations of the 7 CPC accepted by the GOI in this regard are contradictory to this valid point enunciated by themselves. It is also important to note the following clauses of 7CPC report:-

"Major General and equivalent officers and those above them retire at 58 or beyond, thus serve for longer periods comparable, with their civilian counterparts. Having regard to all these factors the commission is of the view that the existing application of MSP up to the level of Brigadier is appropriate and does not call for a review.

"If anything the superannuation of personnel at a relatively younger age is a fact that affects the NCOs the most and therefore a stratification between them and JCOs will be to the relative disadvantage of NCOs."

Therefore, logically on both the above counts, personnel other than officers who are exposed to same risk and dangers in military life and additionally retire at a young age are eligible for higher MSP than the regular commissioned  and MNS officers,  who retire at a much later age. In any case, we definitely have a stronger case for payment of equal MSP to all defence personnel, irrespective of their class and rank.

Hence we request you kindly to review the relevant 7 CPC recommendations and pay the same MSP of Rs.15500/-  to all defence personnel irrespective of their class or rank.

4. Constitution of Joint Consultative Mechanism for Defence service personnel
The Defence Service Personnel other than officers constitute about 95-96% of the strength of the defence forces. However they are not given any opportunity to represent themselves in any of the committees constituted by the Ministry of Defence or the Government of India.

Perhaps this is the legacy handed down by the Britishers which is still in practice. We are the largest group of soldiers in the whole world who have been deliberately kept away from any decision making process. We have absolutely no say or voice even in matters concerning ourselves. 

The officers who constitute a meagre 4-5% of the defence forces take decision on our behalf and on the fallacious argument of maintaining discipline. When a soldier can file cases against the decisions of the respective defence services & the GOI before the Armed Forces Tribunals, High courts and even in Hon'ble Supreme Court, how will the participation in departmental consultative mechanism hamper discipline? This situation has led to serious downgrading of our status and substantial reduction in our salary and pension benefits over a period of time. It has also resulted in progressive anomalies which began right from the time of implementation of third pay commission recommendations under which the pension of these ranks were reduced from above 70% to pro rata 50%, carried forward from one commission to the other.

Sir, if a committee of neutral experts examine these issues, they would clearly see the injustice done to us. We perceive that GOI is also a party in all these measures and  discrimination towards us. Denying us even a small amount of financial benefit either by tweaking the Rules or by taking ad-hoc decisions, will result in huge savings to the government exchequer merely because of our sheer number. We strongly feel that we have been the victims of this strategic apathy shown towards us by the bureaucracy.

In order to find a lasting solution to this situation of keeping us away from the decision making process, we request you to kindly consider institution of a  "Defence Services Joint Consultative Mechanism for service matters"in which the representatives from different ranks of the personnel other than officers from the Army, Navy and the Air Force are also nominated proportionately.

We look forward to a fair and favorable decision from your end at the earliest.

Jai Hind!!

Yours Sincerely

M.PRABHAKARAN
GENERAL SECRETARY
AFVAI 

G S SIDHU
CHAIRMAN
AFVAI.

CC: 1.Hon'ble Minister of Finance,New Delhi
       2. Hon'ble Minister of Defence, New Delhi
       3. Secretary Ministry of Defence
       4.Joint Secretary DESW, MOD

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