The Department of Military Affairs has initiated a proposal to cut down the pension for those officers opting premature retirement as well to increase the retirement age of officers of the Indian armed forces.
There is also a lot of discontent about this inside the armed forces. The change in the pension formula will impact the serving officers who will be retiring in the immediate future. The officers are contending the move stating that the Department of Military Affairs has no right to alter pension formula. It is also told that any move to alter the pension will be challenged in court.
Under the new proposal, the retirement age of Colonel and equivalent positions in the Navy and Air Force will be increased from existing 54 to 57. The retirement age of Brigadier and its equivalent officers will be increased from 56 to 58 years. For the Major General and equivalent officers from 58 years to 59 years. No changes are proposed for changing the retirement age of Lieutenant General and above. For junior commissioned officers and their counterparts in the military and navy-airforce, the retirement age will be 57.
The Department of Military Affairs, headed by General Bipin Rawat, is the newly created entity under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and is tasked for HR and coordination issues between the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force.
A letter sent out by the DMA office on October 29 says a draft of the Government Sanction Letter (GSL) is being readied by November 10 for review by General Rawat.
The letter said that due to low vacancy in senior positions, many officers are boarded out. At the same time, many specialists and super-specialists, who are trending for high skill jobs, leave the job to work in other sectors. This causes a loss of high-skilled manpower and is counter-productive to the armed force.
The core issue is the pension formula which is now suggested to be in a format that increases the emoluments with years of service. Under the proposal, 50% pension will be given for 20 to 25 years of service, 60% for 26 to 30 years of service, 75% for 31 to 35 years of service and full pension for more than 35 years of service.
There has been an ongoing debate on rising pension bill of the MoD since the ‘One rank, one pension’ was implemented. In the ongoing fiscal ending March 31, 2021, the pension bill stands at Rs 1,33,819 crore, which is 28 per cent of the overall budget of the MoD at Rs 4,71,372 crore.