Comments of Ministry of Finance on Proposal for Uniform Pay Fixation Policy for Reemployed JCOs/OR and Commissioned Officer

After a long battle of logic and submission of documentary evidence, DOP&T accepted the reality of disparity and discrimination in Fixation of Pay of Re-employed Ex Servicemen. The proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Finance several times with detailed clarification for Financial approval but finally they have turned down the proposal for uniform pay fixation policy stating the following excuses which can never bring parity between the officers and JCOs/OR.  The statement of MoF, DoE is reproduced below :  

“Considering that PBORs are normally appointed on a Group ‘C’ post where the pay scales may be lower than the scale held by PBORs and as such protecting last pay may result in unintended benefits. It has also been proposed to ignore 70% of amount of pension or Rs. 15000/- whichever is less. This proposed amount of ignorable amount of pension would cover a substantial portion of their pension. Therefore, on one hand their last pay is proposed to be protected and on the other hand their substantial part of pension i.e.70% is also proposed to be ignored. Both the benefits i.e. protection of last pay drawn as well as ignorance of substantial amount of pension may not be considered simultaneously. This proposed methodology would extend undue benefits tç PBORs while fixing their pay on re-employed post and it would result in wider financial repercussions. DoPT has also accepted in their reply that the Draft Proposal is for administrative uniformity and financial neutrality cannot be maintained while revising these guidelines. 

It has been proposed to ignore 70% of pension or Rs. 15000/- whichever is less while fixing the pay of PBORs on re-employment. The ignorable amount of pension i.e. Rs.15000/- has been proposed on the analogy of Service Officers. It is worthwhile to mention that the pension in respect of PBORs would always be on lower side vis-a-vis the pension of Service Officers as PBORs retire from Group ‘C’ posts whereas Service Officers retire from higher Group ‘A’ posts. Therefore, last time DOPT was advised to estimate how much portion of pension of Service Officers, in percentage terms, is getting ignored so that the same percentage may be considered while protecting the last pay of PBORs on their reemployment. DOPT has stated that they do not have this data. This department is of the view that the flat ignorable amount of pension i.e. Rs. 15000/-, in absolute terms, as applicable to Officers grade, may not be made applicable to PBORs as pension of PBORs and Service Officers is not comparable. The proposed ignorable amount of pension i.e. 70% or Rs. 15000/- would cover a substantial portion of PBORs pension whereas in the case of Officers the existing ignorable amount of their pension of Rs. 15000/- would be much less than 70% Therefore, there is no rationale behind ignoring an amount of 70% of pension or Rs. 15000/- while fixing the pay of PBORs on re-employment. 

The cases of PBORs and Commissioned Officers are on different footing, due to which there have been different rules for pay fixation for PBORs and officers since 1986. PBORs retire at an earlier age and render a lengthier part of service on re-employed post as compared to officers who retire later and render a shorter spell of service in re-employed post. Secondly, the PBORs are re-employed generally to a lower post whereas the possibility of the appointment of the Service Officers and Group ‘A’ to a lower post is minimal. Therefore applying of same principle of ignoring pension and protection of last pay in both the cases would not be appropriate.  

Any change in this different pay fixation methodology in respect of different categories of posts has not been recommended by any pay commission since 5th CPC. 5th CPC (in para-166.17 to 166.21) specifically considered the issue of ignoring entire pension in case of PBORs and the issue of ignorable portion for pay fixation in case of officers. The Commission clearly went along with the distinction between PBORs and Officers. It was specifically observed by 5th CPC that PBORs have been allowed to ignore the entire pension while fixing pay on re-employment as a result of which the pay is fixed on minimum of the pay scale. Therefore, 5th CPC had categorically recommended that they do not propose any change in the existing scheme of pay fixation for PBOR. Any change in such established policy by going against the recommendations of an expert body like pay commission, which is headed by retired Justice of Supreme Court, does not seem to be appropriate.  

The ignorable amount of pension Rs. 15/- in respect of ex-combatant clerks has not been revised since a long time, DoPT may review the same at a logical level in the present scenario.   

There is a major change in an established policy for pay fixation of re-employed pensioners which would result in wider financial repercussions. The financial implications have still not been quantified. 

Therefore, this department does not support the instant proposal of DOPT in light of above observations of this department. This department had forwarded the comments earlier also on the same lines vide ID Note dated 2/12/2022 and dated 8/6/2023. However, the subject matter falls within the domain of DOPT and therefore it is for DOPT not only to chalk out an appropriate policy direction based on their considered opinion and careful examination of all the relevant facets involved but also to decide the way to process the matter further. The concurrence of this department is required only thereafter, keeping in view the financial implications.”

Information source – MoF/DoE, ID No. 03-01/2017-E-lll(A) dated 27/10/2023.  

From the above statement of Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, veteran friends need not to be disappointed.  The team AIREXSA is still working and representation against the negative justification of the DoE has already been submitted to the Authority and it is expected to be resolved the issue within a few months.

According to the DoE, MoF, the uniform pay fixation benefit will extend undue benefit to the reemployed JCOs/OR. In this regard, it is to mention here that, the Reemployed Exservicemen who retired with Commissioned Officer Cadre are still getting the Pay Fixation benefit in the civil establishment and they are getting the undue benefit on account of their last pay being protected in the reemployed post.  It has been found that inspite of deduction of pension, they are still getting more pay than the initial pay applicable to the reemployed post. 

The matter is likely to be brought to the notice of the Ministry of Finance and DOP&T soon alongwith all the statistical data and documentary evidences obtained through RTI by the veterans as communicated.  Uniform pay fixation methodology may have the provision  to cease the protection of last pay to the Reemployed pensioners, considering heavy financial burden to the Govt Exchequer. After all we should think of the interest of the Nation first not the specific community/class considering their past service.

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