The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (Purav Senani Kalyan Vibhag) is a young department of the Ministry of Defence which came into existence on 22nd September, 2004 on a promise made in the National Common Minimum Programme. The Department was created to give a focused and comprehensive attention to the problems of re-habilitation and welfare of ESM. This is a small Department with two Divisions, the Resettlement Division and the Pension Division.
This Division administers (i) Pension Regulations for the Army, 1961, raised as PRA, 2008 (ii) Pension Regulations for the Air Force, 1961, and (iii) Navy (Pension) Regulation, 1964. It also deals with Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982.
All the above Pension Regulations are under revision in the light of changes brought out by various Pay Commissions/Committees, Court decisions etc. Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 1982 have, however, been revised and circulated vide letter No. 1(3)/2002/Vol.III/D(Pension/Policy) dated 18th January, 2010. These Rules are known as Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pension Awards, 2008.
Kinds of Pension
Pension Division deals with policy matters relating to pensionary matters of Armed Forces Personnel which includes:-
Service Pension is granted @ 50% of emoluments last drawn or average of reckonable emoluments during the last 10 months, whichever is more beneficial. The minimum qualifying service to earn pension is 20 years in case of Commissioned Officer and 15 years in the case Personnel Below Officer Rank.
Ordinary Family Pension is granted @ 30% of reckonable emoluments last drawn subject to a minimum of Rs. 3,500/- p.m. (in case of natural death of the individual).
Special Family Pension is granted at a uniform rate of 60% of reckonable emoluments last drawn by the deceased, subject to a minimum of Rs. 7,000/- p.m. (in case of death of a individual attributable to military service).
Liberalized Family Pension is granted equal to the reckonable emoluments last drawn by the deceased(to the families of personnel killed in war or war like operations, counter-insurgency operations, encounter with terrorists etc.)
Disability Pension is granted comprising of disability element @ 30% of emoluments last drawn subject to a minimum of Rs. 3100/- for 100% disability to be reduced proportionately for lesser degree of disablement. Service Element will be @ 50% of the reckonable emoluments last drawn at the time of disablement.
War Injury Pension The rates of War Injury Element for 100% disability for various rank shall be equal to the reckonable emoluments last drawn which would be proportionately reduced where disability is less than 100%.
Processing of appeal
An Armed Forces Personnel, who is boarded out on medical grounds or is discharged / released / retires in low medical categories has the right to appeal against the denial of disability pension within a period of six months from the date of rejection of his initial claim. He will submit his claim to his Record Office(PBOR) / Service Hqrs(Commissioned Officers), which, in turn, will forward the same to Service Hqrs, as the case may be, to place it before the Appellate Committee. Similarly, right of appeal is available to next of kin to Armed Forces Personnel, whose initial claim for special family pension has been rejected. This Committee comprises of:-
Chairman : DDG(PS)/equivalent rank in Air Force and Navy
Member : (a) DDG(Pens), Office of DGAFMS
(b) DFA (Pension)
(c) Dir PS-4 / equivalent rank in Air Force and Navy.
In case the individual is not satisfied with the decision of the Appellate Committee for First Appeal, he has right to make another appeal through his Record Office(PBOR)/Service Hqrs(Commissioned Officers), which, in turn , will forward the same AG/PS, Army Hqs or equivalent in Navy/Air Force alongwith all the records to place it before the Second Appellate Committee on Pension. This committee comprises of:-
Chairman : Vice Chief of Army Staff or equivalent in Navy/Air Force
Chief of Staff (Army/Navy/Air Force) or his representative not below the rank of Maj Gen and equivalent
Joint Secretary or Addl. FA, MoD (Fin)
JAG of the Service other than to which the appellant belongs.
After consideration of all relevant issues involved in the case, the Appellate Committee will give its decision by upholding or rejecting the appeal.
Processing of Pension claims
The process for grant of pension is initiated by the Unit where the individual is posted, 18 months ahead of discharge/retirement. Personnel Below Officer Rank(PBOR) is attached with the concerned Record Office(RO) for completion of pension documents one month prior to discharge/retirement. Pension claim is initiated by the concerned RO in the case of PBOR and by Service Hqrs in case of Commissioned Officers and is forwarded to the respective Pension Sanctioning Authorities for notifying the Pension Payment Order(PPO). PPO is notified by Pr. Controller of Defence Accounts (Pen), Allahabad, in the case of Army personnel, Pr. Controller of Defence Accounts(Navy), Mumbai in the case of Naval personnel and Controller of Defence Accounts(Air Force), New Delhi in respect of Air Force personnel. A pensioner can approach his Pension Disbursement Agency on any working day after the date of retirement for getting his pensionary dues.
Defence Pensioners and disbursement agencies
There are 22.50 lakhs Defence pensioners and 55,000 to 60,000 are added every year. The pension is disbursed across the country by approximately 45000 branches of the Public sector branches, 640 Treasury offices of the various State Govts, 61 Defence Pension Disbursing offices, two Post offices, Five Pay Account Offices and the three Pension Payment Offices of Indian Embassy, Nepal. PCDA (P) Allahabad is centrally responsible for accounting and audit of such pension payments, which amounts to approximately Rs 39,000 crores during the year 2012-13.
Defence Pension Adalat
A large community of Ex-servicemen specially Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR) and their families are settled in the interiors as also remote areas. The lack of awareness at the ground level both at the end of the pensioners as well as amongst the local authorities specially the disbursing agencies leads to generation of grievances either on delays in disbursement or on incorrect payments. Defence Pension Adalats provide a credible forum for redressal of grievances of the defence pensioners near to their place of residence/work. Reforms in disbursement of pension is a continuous process. The whole idea is to make the life of the defence pensioners dignified and hassle free so that they can get their due entitlement promptly without running from pillar to post.
Since representatives of concerned organisations are present in the Adalat, it is possible to take appropriate decisions on the spot to the extant possible. The Adalat disseminates latest information, order circulars, procedures, forms and formats not only to the pensioners but also to various local authorities like Banks and Treasury offices etc besides providing clarification of doubts on pension provisions and procedures. Six such Adalats are held in a year.
Pension Grievances Cell
The cell receives on an average representations around 600 to 1000 in a month. These are examined in the Cell by the concerned Dealing Hand and referred to the concerned agencies for redressal manually with a copy to the individual so that he should know as to where his case has been referred. The Department has initiated a project for computerized Grievance Redressal to National Informatic Centre Services Inc. (NICSI), which is likely to be completed in the current financial year. States have also been requested to set up grievance redressal mechanism for the ex-servicemen.
Process for disposal of Court cases
The Legal Notices and Writ Petitions/Original Petitions, relating to pensionary matters, filed in various Courts are forwarded to the respective Service Hqrs for defending the case on behalf of Union of India and others and to take necessary action for filing counter reply, briefing the Govt. Counsel and attending the Court’s hearings. Powers for implementation of other wise of the Court cases have been delegated to the Service Hqrs, who, in turn, have redelegated the powers to lower formations like line directorate/Record Offices, etc. Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court is, however, processed by them with Ministry of Law to Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare. DP&PW is also consulted wherever necessary. DP&PW is also consulted, wherever necessary.
Status of recommendations of 6th CPC
Govt. letters for revision of pension of Armed Forces pensioners were issued on 11.11.2008 for pre 1.1.2006 retirees and on 12.11.2008 for post 1.1.2006 retirees. The pension of pre 1.1.2006 has to be revised as given in MOD’s letter dated 11.11.2008 first by consolidation, which has further to be adjusted in terms of Annexure-II(Modified Parity). This letter is available on the websites www.cgda.nic.in , www.pcdapension.nic.in & www.mod.nic.in. When the pension of a pre 1.1.06 retiree works out to be less than what has been shown in Annexure-II, it has to be stepped up by Pension Disbursing Agencies (PDAs) to the level what has been shown in Annexure-II for Commissioned Officers and Annexure-III for PBOR. The PDAs are required to know the details like rank of pensioners, qualifying service in the case of Commissioned Officers and also group of PBOR. Thereafter, Annexure-IV of aforesaid letter is required to be completed by PDAs and to be sent to the Pension Sanctioning Authorities to check the correctness of entitlement of the pensioners. Annexure-IV contains details like (a) (i) existing Basic Pension, (ii) Dearness Pension in case of pre 1.4.2004(retiree) (b) Basic Pension, (c) Dearness Relief @ 24% of pension as at (a) or (b), (d) consolidated pension/family pension, (e) revised pension under modified parity, (f) revised pension from 1.1.2006 (g) revised pension after deducting commuted portion.
Other orders issued in implementation of 6th CPC are available in the website of PCDA (P).
Cabinet Secretary Committee
The Committee set up under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary also went into this demand and related issues and submitted its Report on 30.06.2009. It did not agree to OROP but made seven recommendations aimed at narrowing the gap between earlier and current pensioners. All the recommendations were accepted by the Govt. and orders implementing the recommendations were issued on 30.10.2009, 19.01.2010, 20.01.2010 and 08.03.2010.
The implementation of the recommendations of Cabinet Secy. Committee has also been advertised in the Newspapers on 12th March, 2010 for information of Ex-servicemen.
Recently a fresh Committee has been set up in July, 2012 under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to look into the pay and pension matters of relevance of defence service personnel and Ex-Servicemen. It is also looking after the demand of OROP. On receipt of its recommendations, Government will take appropriate decision.
As on 24.08.2012 4,50,756 has been sent to respective Record Offices by the PCDA(P), Allahabad for onward transmission to their disbursing agencies.
Role of Deptt. of Ex-Servicemen Welfare
Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare plays a coordinating role in the process and accordingly took up the matter of tardy implementation of the recommendations of the 6th CPC with the Deptt. of Financial Services. As a result, that Deptt. issued instructions to all Public Sector Banks in September, 2009 and December, 2009 to complete the task of revision of pension expeditiously and issue duly completed Annexure-IV to all the ex-servicemen pensioners. A Joint Notice on behalf of the Deptt. of Financial Services and Deptt. of Ex-Servicemen Welfare was also published in the prominent newspapers in various languages on 21.12.2009.