What is One Rank One Pension – This means one rank, one pension rule stating that retired soldiers of the same rank & length of service will receive the same pension, regardless of when they retire. As of now the retirement date determines the amount of pension. With each pay Commission coming up with its recommendations every 10 yrs, the military veterans who retire early, receive less as compared to those who retired later with the same rank & length of the service. Under OROP, a Sepoy who retired in 1994 for instance, would get the same amount as the one who retired in 1995.
Who will benefit from OROP—Ex-Servicemen drawing pensions will benefit from the OROP scheme, especially those who retired before 2006. Why – Because at present, pensioners who retired before 2006 draw less pension than their counterparts & even their juniors. The Scheme will benefit all 3 services—Air Force, Navy & Army. Let us find out- How much OROP scheme will cost for the Government. NDAS Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in his Budget announcement allotted Rs.1000 cr., for the scheme.
Why there was a delay in Implementing OROP Scheme –Many officials within the Ministry of Defence have expressed their views against Implementation of OROP. They were of the view that Financial, Administrative & Legal issues. In 2011, the Department of Ex—Servicemen Welfare of the MoD gave facts to Parliamentary Committee that OROP was not feasible to be implemented since military personnel are weeded out after 25 years which seems to be not realistic & Factual. In reality Pension Payment orders of Pensioners, which contain all relevant details such as the rank last held & the length of service, are retained during the lifetime of each pensioner and then during the lifetime of the family pensioner in case of his demise. All the details of Ex-Servicemen are available in a document called “Long Roll” which is managed by Regulation 592 for Army. The second reason for opposing the scheme was that the other Employees will also start demanding OROP.
Let us find out as to When did OROP became reality– After several disagreements UPA headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh finally in principle agreed to implement to clear the scheme in2013, at the end of his tenure as PM. Now the corrective measure was taken by the present NDA Government headed by PM Narendra Modi, who prioritized the veterans demands by implementation of OROP. On April 9th Defence Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar stated clearly— “that all hurdles, including a Political clearance on its financial implications has been deleted. The Factual details & calculation, Administrative details are also worked out with detailed study. We are sure to get the scheme rolling in the next few weeks”.
But to our dismay there was too much pollicisation from the opposition for OROP—
Protest by veterans as they were of the view that ArunJaitley Finance Minister is manipulative specifically to Times of India, India TV channel to mislead the public, and creating the difference between the officers & Soldiers, on the OROP Issue. Fast unto Death—Col. Pushpender Singh N
Major Havaldar Major Singh on Fast unto Death at Jantar Mantar OROP protest site. On 15th June 2015, there was a nationwide protest of Ex-Servicemen despairing BJP promises, even threatened to Rail Roko agitation. There were support garnered by four chiefs of the Armed Forces of India namely, General SF Rodrigues, Former COAS, & Admirals L. Ramdas, ArunPrakash,& Sureesh Mehta, Former Chiefs of Naval Staff, in an open letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on 13th August 2015. Warned that humiliation of veterans & Government handling of veterans & Armed Forces issues, pose grave ‘Implication for National Security’. Ministry of state for Defence Kiren Rijiju intervened n stated that matter will be considered& sorted As soon as possible
After continuous protests held throughout India By Ex – Servicemen, 7th Pay commission headed by justice A.K. Mathur in its 900-page report, recommends OROP without calling it one-rank -one pension, for all central government employees, including para-military personnel as well defence civilians who have retired before 1 January 2016. The recommendations affect 47 lakh central government & 52 lakh pensioners increase in pay will be 16 per cent, allowances 63 percent & pension 24 per cent. Seventh Central Pay Commission (7thCPC) in its consideration of one rank one pay notes that France, Germany, China, have pension schemes for Armed Forces, much like India. The US & UK also with small variation have pension scheme called benefit scheme.
General V.K. Singh, former chief of Army Staff & Union Minister who has been involved in Governments back channel for veterans, along with Def.Min.Mr.Manohar Parrikar has also mediated in this issue. But on 17th January 2016 a protest was led by 200 veterans including Major General Satbir Singh, protested outside 2, Krishna Menon Marg, New Delhi before the official residence of Arun Jaitley.Considering this protest on 2nd March 2016, Expenditure on pay & Allowances for 3.5 Million Central Government employees in the budget estimates of 2016-2017 has increased by 23.5 per cent. The increase is attributed to large increase in Allowances because of 7 CPC recommendations including in housing allowance, which is now 24 per cent of the basic pay.
General VP Malik, Former chief of Army Staff in a panel discussion on the 7th pay commission confirmed that 18 former heads of the Armed Forces, including himself, had written to PM Narendra Modi conveying their discomfort over recommendations of the 7th CPC, as it was blatantly discriminatory. On 12th August A committee of Jammu & Kashmir Ex Services League (JKESL) presided over by Major General Goverdhan Singh uttered the fact that the recommendations of 7th CPC should be without any dilution. “All retirees should in the same rank with same length of service should get the same pension irrespective of date of retirement.
Now let us consider the latest news on OROP as of November 2nd 2016, Ex- Servicemen Ram Krishan Grewal committed suicide over OROP also one of the recipients of benefits under the revised scheme. Defence Ministry said that political temperatures went soaring that it was under the 6th CPC, due to an error calculation by SBI In Bhiwani distt of Haryana. Meanwhile Mr. Parrikar, was committed to the welfare of Ex- Servicemen & said a total of Rs.5,5407 cr., has been disbursed under this scheme. Tweeting the details, Mr. Parrikar said that 3886.88 cr., had been disbursed as 1st Installment, 11,33,100 people have received it, 2nd Installment of Rs. 1,604.59 cr., has been disbursed.
Meanwhile the group of Ex-servicemen distanced itself from the suicide of Ram Grewal, and Arvind Kejriwal should stay away & the government should sort this issue, as the suicide didn’t take place at Jantar Mantar. The politics of Hypocrisy of Congress & AAP is baseless, & Hypocritical.
OROP is demand for last several decades & all successive Govt.didnot bother, but just before 2014 Elections UPA Govt declared OROP based on political Expediency, not for the genuinity. But the present NDA Govt took an All-round assessment &implemented recommendation of 7th CPC & disbursed the Amount duly.
Dr. S. Sukanya Iyer