Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ONE RANK ONE PENSION


ONE RANK ONE PENSION

Almost every evening I see some retired veterans ranting and raving during discussions and debates on TV Channels about ONE RANK ONE PENSION.

Frankly speaking, I really don’t understand what this hullabaloo about ONE RANK ONE PENSION is all about – to me the whole thing is quite confusing. I have asked many of my retired colleagues but no one has been able to explain to me as to how it going to benefit all of us, especially those who had to retire from service on attaining the age of superannuation without attaining high ranks.

In the civil services you have ASSURED CAREER PROGRESSION or ACP.

Civilian government servants retire at the age of 60 and are assured of reaching a certain rank by the time they superannuate. So they get a handsome pension.

In the Defence Forces you have ASSURED CAREER SUPERSESSION or ACS.

Owing to the steep pyramidal hierarchical structure a vast majority of defence personnel are superseded for promotion at an early age and have to retire very early in life since the age of superannuation is dependent on rank, unlike their civilian counterparts who uniformly superannuate at the age of 60 irrespective of rank.

Will someone kindly to explain as to the how the one-rank-one-pension concept will benefit all the soldiers and officers irrespective of rank. Unfortunately there is a perception that this will mainly benefit the senior officers and not the junior officers and soldiers. This perception needs to be corrected and only then will everyone be convinced.

Regrettably, despite the poor promotion prospects in the services, pay has been linked to rank and since it is difficult to get promoted the service officer is put at a monetary disadvantage vis-à-vis his civilian counterpart.

In order to alleviate this problem of career-stagnation due to poor promotion prospects in the services, the 4th Pay Commission introduced an Integrated Pay Scale (Running Pay Band) upto the rank of Brigadier and equivalent. This concept had worked very well and should have been extended to senior ranks.

This Running Pay Band Scheme, introduced by the 4th Pay Commission, was an excellent concept. Since the Integrated Pay Scale was de-linked from rank it offered equitable prospects to all officers and offered a recompense to those who could not be promoted due to lack of vacancies (owing to the steep hierarchical pyramid) but continued serving the nation.

This excellent Running Pay Band Concept (in lieu of Assured Career Progression) was mysteriously abolished by the 5th Pay Commission for reasons that are inexplicable and unfathomable.

If this Integrated Pay Scale concept is brought back then pension will be rightly decided on years of service (and not on rank attained) and this will automatically obviate the need for one-rank-one-pension.

I feel that the one-rank-one-pension concept is not fair to the superseded officers, who are in a vast majority, and will benefit only the senior officers. In my opinion, pension must be decided on the number of years an officer has served the nation.

However, as I said, I may be wrong as I have not fully understood this issue. I shall be grateful if some knowledgeable veteran could explain to us as to how one-rank-one-pension will truly benefit all of us, especially those officers and soldiers who retired on superannuation, after a long dedicated service to the nation, without having the good fortune to reach high rank.

As I said earlier, there is a perception that the one-rank-one-pension concept will mainly benefit the senior officers and not the junior officers and soldiers. This perception needs to be corrected and only then will everyone be convinced.

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