As ex-servicemen steadfastly press for the implementation of One Rank
One Pension (OROP), top Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources have said that the
main reason behind the delay is not funds, but the minuscule increase that
jawans may get if OROP is implemented in its present form.
Sources said that the concern within the government is that the jawans
may get an increase of just about “few hundred” rupees per month — a raise that
may not justify the decade long OROP agitation.
The fear within political decision-makers is that OROP, if implemented
in present form, may result in many dragging the government to courts, and may even
create a political crisis. “It is no longer a budgetary concern. The formula to
arrive at Rs 8,300-odd crores has already been approved. The real worries
within South Block are political. Under the present formula, the jawans may
just get about few hundred rupees of increase per month in their present
pensions. This amount, the political class within the present government
believes, is too small to pacify the agitation that has been spread over almost
three decades,” a top Defence Ministry official said.
According to the official, the implementation — which is just short of
being announced any moment, may trigger dissatisfaction and will result in
soldiers dragging the government to courts and become a political issue. Citing
the reason behind the small increase for jawans, the official said: “The
government, in 2009, corrected the pensions of retired armed forces personnel
to parity as per Sixth Central Pay Commission.
The jawans largely benefited out of the correction as the pension
amounts increased. So the gap that earlier existed has largely been bridged. Rs
5000 crore has already been spent on bringing about the parity,” the official
said. According to Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) data, OROP — if
implemented in its present form — will ensure an increase of between Rs 525 and
Rs 1,720 to jawans in their monthly pensions by virtue of percentage of their
low basic pensions. Widows will get a hike of Rs 1,500 per month. The officers
are likely to get a per month pension increase between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000.
According to sources, UPA too was worried about the political and legal
consequences of these “relatively small” monthly increments after implementing
OROP and had carried out “three rounds of equalisation” to work out a solution.
The MoD official said that so far, the present government, though
committed, has not carried out any such equalisation. Group Captain V K Gandhi,
general secretary, IESM said, “Our present demands have been agreed upon not
only by officers but even by jawans. We are not willing to accept any dilution
in the demands.”
MADURAI: The Madras High Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a petition seeking a direction to issue a notification to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme within a stipulated period.
Acting on the petition by ex-serviceman S Chinnadurai, Justice S Vaidyanathan ordered notice to the Cabinet, Finance and Defence secretaries and sought their reply within two weeks.
The petitioner contended that 90 per cent of the ex- servicemen are living below the poverty line.
Previous governments had already announced OROP and allocated Rs. 500 crore for it. On May 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also assured that OROP would be implemented by the government but no timeframe had been given, he alleged.
The Indian ex-servicemen movement had also sent a memorandum and he had also submitted a representation.
Mr Chinnadurai said it was mandatory on the part of the government to implement OROP before the fiscal 2014-15 after announcing the scheme.
The delay in implementing the scheme would demoralize serving soldiers and ex-serviceman and adversely affect the integrity of the country, he said.
He said that armymen, who sacrificed the better part of their youth for the country, were not even getting proper jobs after they retired between 30 and 40 years of age.
NEW DELHI: The government is working on a fresh option to resolve the ongoing stand-off over 'one-rank-one-pension' demand of ex-servicemen, sources said on Thursday.
According to a senior government official, they are working on a proposal that would be similar to the pension scheme for MPs. The scheme operates on a band concept, with additional money for each additional year of service.
The proposal is to create pension bands for each rank, and then provide additional money for each extra year of service. So all officers who retire in a particular rank will be in the same band of pension, with the total pension payment going up according to the number of years he has spent in that rank.
"We are working out the fine details," one source said. Senior government officials are thrashing out the finer details, and it would be presented to the representatives of ex-servicemen and the military brass.
The latest move comes even as ex-servicemen are continuing with their protests against what they feel is a huge let down by the Narendra Modi government, which had come to power promising to implement the OROP scheme.
It needs to be stated that central police organisations (CPOs) are wrongly designating themselves and by some others as paramilitary. There is absolutely nothing military about them. Masquerading as paramilitary, they ask for equivalent of one rank, one pension (OROP). They appear to have been prompted by others opposed to the grant of the OROP. This is yet another attempt to put one more spoke in the OROP wheel.
There are only two paramilitary groups in India — Assam Rifles and Rashtriya Rifles. So, the police, including the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a plethora of others, need to disabuse themselves of this notion of being paramilitary.
ANOMALIES IN ALLOWANCES
Nearly 85% of military personnel retire at the age of 35-37 years whereas policemen retire at the age of 60. Another 23-24% of military personnel retire at varying ages between 45 and 56 years. When a soldier and a police constable reach the age of 60, the latter would have drawn approximately `45 lakh more than a soldier (pay in the case of a constable and pay plus pension in the case of a soldier). So, it’s pointless to compare onions with apples. Look at the anomalies in just a few allowances which an armyman gets and a policeman is given. The paratrooper allowance for a soldier is Rs 800 to Rs 1,200, whereas it is between Rs 7,200 and Rs 11,000 in case of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA BN), which is one of the CPOs.
AT THE RECEIVING END
A disabled armyman is sent out of service whereas a government servant is retained till the age of 60 years. A soldier posted in Kashmir (other than high altitude) and northeast gets no special allowance, whereas a policeman from the CPO gets double house rent allowance (HRA). When posted in peace stations such as Shillong, Aizwal, Sikkim and better part of Jammu and Kashmir, a soldier gets no extra allowance, whereas a policeman from the CPO gets 12.5% of the basic pay as a special duty allowance —25% of the basic pay as hardship allowance for IAS officers of the UT cadre and detachment allowance of Rs 300 per day for all central armed police forces personnel. None of these allowances are applicable to the defence services. Then there is what is called headquarter allowance of Rs 4,000 for the civil services officials which the officers of the defence forces don’t get. While the list of such difference is long, just one more example should drive home the point as to how civil services and the CPOs have feathered their nests. A defence services officer on instructional staff at the National Defence College gets Rs 1,800 per month whereas one from the CPO and civil services gets Rs 19,000 per month.
The higher command of the defence services need to explain to their officers and men as to how this vast difference in allowances have come about and why they have never raised such issues with the seriousness they demand. Why they were being denied non-functional upgradation and how the services came to accept this palpable discrimination?
Some retired chiefs of the CPOs have alleged that their personnel have suffered more casualties than armymen. This is evidently incorrect. Most CPO casualties have been at the hands of ill-trained and ill-equipped Maoists and other insurgent groups and all this speaks poorly of the leadership and training of these CPOs. These chiefs of the CPOs need tell us as to how many IPS officers have been killed in fighting Maoists. The BSF needs tell the nation how more than three crore Bangladeshis have crossed over to India?
EXCUSE TO DELAY OROP
This government is fast losing its credibility and appears to be seeking one or the other excuse to delay and perhaps dilute the OROP. Various figures are being floated, but no one tells how much nonfunctional upgradation has been granted since the sixth pay commission to the class-A central services officers (over four dozen of them). As also if any of these services suffer anywhere near the same range of disadvantages as the defence services officers.
Though the parliamentary committee has been very clear and precise in spelling out what exactly the OROP is, it is the bureaucracy which is trying to flummox the politicians by firstly throwing different figures and then frightening them that others too will ask for the same. On the other hand, they also prompt the others to demand the OROP. The political class should be alive to the compelling rationale for the grant of the OROP.
The political class seems to be unaware of the deep bonding between the veterans and those still in service, and the denial to the former, what is rightly their due, will equally impact the latter.
Finally, the Supreme Court was constrained to observe that the veterans were being forced to beg. Today, the military service fails to draw the right material in its officer cadre and it is possible to substantiate this argument with many instances of poor display of leadership within the military in the recent past.
Let this piece end with a quote from Lord Morgan’s book — Anatomy of Courage. “If we persuade intelligent youth to hold back from the army in peace, we ought not to complain, if we are poorly led in war.” India has a long history of its armies being poorly led and thus suffering unbroken chains of military defeats at the hands of invading armies.
The failure of the NDA government to implement the longstanding demand for one rank, one pension (OROP) in its first year has fanned deep resentment among ex-servicemen who have now decided to boycott official functions, hold rallies and go on hunger strikes in protest.
On Thursday, a 1971 war hero declined to attend a function in Pune where defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis were to felicitate him. Wing Commander SD Karnik (retd) decided to boycott the function as there was “no action, talk only” by the government on OROP.
The pension scheme is aimed at ensuring that retired soldiers of the same rank and the same length of service receive the same pension, irrespective of their date of retirement. The initial corpus of the scheme is estimated to around Rs 8,300 crore.
Various ex-servicemen groups were hoping that Prime Minister Modi would make an announcement about the implementation of OROP on May 25 during a rally in Mathura to mark the government’s first year in office. The OROP is expected to benefit close to 3 million defence pensioners.
Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who heads the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement, said, “We will do all we can to lodge our protest over the non-implementation of the OROP despite the PM’s and defence minister’s assurances. We are planning to hold a big rally in Delhi on June 14 followed by hunger strikes across the country.”
Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan asked veterans to be patient, stressing that the government was seized of the matter. Currently, all pre-2006 (the year the 6th pay panel report became effective) pensioners receive lesser pension than not only their counterparts but also their juniors. For instance, a major general who retired in 1995 draws a basic pension of Rs 30,350 but an officer retiring in the same rank after 2006 gets Rs 38,500.
Similarly, a colonel who retired in 2003 gets Rs 26,150, compared to Rs 34,000 drawn by a colonel who retired this year. The implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit 600,000 widows. Decorated veterans have in the past returned their medals, gone on hunger strikes and signed petitions in blood to draw the government’s attention to the OROP issue.
The UPA government had in 2009 declared that it had earmarked Rs 2,200 crore annually to improve the pension of jawans, a step it described as partial implementation of the OROP that had benefitted 1.2 million pensioners.
The OROP proposal was stuck as the defence ministry had to iron out some complex administrative and financial issues. The sticking points in its implementation have been resolved by the defence ministry and the matter is currently being scrutinised by the finance ministry.
Retired veterans of
the armed forces say they are awaiting three key promises made to them by the
Centre to be fulfilled even as the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is
scheduled to complete its first year in office on May 26.
Maj General Satbir
Singh (retd), vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), today
said President Pranab Mukherjee, while addressing the first joint session of
Parliament of this government on June 9 last year, had stressed on these three
The President said:
“My government ….will appoint a veterans’ commission; build a national war
memorial to honour the gallantry of our soldiers ...and the one rank, one
pension (OROP) scheme will be implemented.”
Sources in the government said the OROP could be
formally announced on May 26. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was in Goa
today, said the much-awaited OROP for the armed forces was likely to be cleared
in a few days.
One Rank One Pension Cleared in Principle, PM Modi to Take Final Call: Sources
New Delhi: The Centre has in principle cleared the 'One Rank One Pension' scheme for retired armed forces personnel, sources have told NDTV. The government has made a provision for an additional Rs. 8,300 crore for this purpose.
The scheme, which seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement, has been a long-standing demand of the over 20 lakh ex-servicemen in the country. Majority of Defence personnel hang up their boots much before 60 years. Also, over the years the disparity in the pension drawn by personnel of same rank who retired for instance a decade ago and those who retire now is substantial.
Demand for One Rank One Pension has been an emotive issue with defence pensioners for long. And, between 2008- 2010 veterans have on several occasions marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan to return their gallantry medals.
Sources say once Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back on May 19 from his three-nation tour, a final round of discussions will take place with him. The official announcement is likely to be made later this month, coinciding with the first anniversary celebrations of the NDA government.
The government has already made it clear that One Rank One Pension will be implemented with effect from April 1, 2014.
In a bonanza to retired employees of the armed forces, the Supreme Court today directed the Centre to pay at least 50 per cent of the pay as pension to all of them as recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
A Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur passed the order while dismissing about 50 appeals filed by the Centre challenging the rulings of various high courts and armed forces tribunals (AFTs). The HCs and AFTs had struck down the office memorandums (OMs) assessing the pension amount at less than 50 per cent for some categories of pensioners.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand had pleaded that payment of pension at 50 per cent or more would place an additional burden of Rs 1,500 crore. But the Bench said the pensioners were entitled to the CPC recommendations which had been accepted by the government.
They could not be denied of their dues just because some officials, who did not even have the authority to issue the OMs, had misinterpreted the recommendations, the Bench explained.
“We have already affirmed the orders of the HCs and AFTs” in a couple of cases earlier and there was no need for the Centre to come to the SC in each and every such case, the Bench said.
Today’s order should be implemented within four months extending the benefit to all those who were entitled to pension, irrespective of the fact whether they had gone to the AFT/court or not, the Bench clarified.
In one such case, the Delhi High Court had delivered its verdict on April 29, 2013, directing the Centre to ensure that pension was re-fixed at not lower than 50 per cent of the minimum of the pay in the band and the grade pay thereon. Arrears should be paid within two months and any delay would entail 9 per cent interest, it had ruled while dismissing a batch of Centre’s petitions. The HC had said it was in complete agreement with the reasoning of the Punjab and Haryana HC in similar cases.
Minister, Government of India, met representative of our organization(NEXCC)
led by ShriV.N.Mishra, Secretary General (as Chairman is indisposed).
Where 20/25 minutes cordial
discussion had in connection with implementation One Rank One Pension(OROP). He
has assured our delegation, that by 1st week of April,2015,
modalities will be finalized & 1stpayment will be made on 1st
week of May,2015. Arrears will be paid in 4 equal installments.
Considering the deferred assurance
given by the Hon’bleDefence Minister, available Central Committee Member in
Delhi, decided to defer our agitationalprogramme on 6th& 7th
April,2015. It is further to intimate that Central Executive Committee to a
The representative also brought to
the knowledge of the Hon’bleDefence Minister about the ECHS meeting scheduled
to be held on 05th April, 2015,at New Delhi, also & Military
Service Pay(MSP)anomalies, which he assured to look into.
This refers to arrears paid for
increase in pension as per recommendations of 6 CPC to all employees of
of central Government w.e.f. 24 Sep 2012.
Government has already paid the arrears
to civil employees from 1 Jan 2006. However this was denied to Armed Forces
personnel on most stupid ground that the arrears will not be paid to those who
had not gone to court.
RDOA had gone to court for arrears to
be paid to Armed Forces also. The case was won but the Government decided to
file SLP against the SC judgment. The SLP came for hearing on 17 March 15,
after many extensions. Honorable SC has declined admission of SLP and asked
Government to release payment of arrears w.e.f. 1 Jan 2006 within four months.
These arrears are for modified parity in pension paid w.e.f 24 Sep 2012.
Government counsel once again told
Honorable SC that the arrears w.e.f 1 Jan 2006 will be paid to only litigants.
On this plea Honorable SC had said that this will again increase your and our
work load because within few days rest of personnel will soon approach SC for
the arrears and Government will have to pay. Therefore it is better that the
arrears are paid to all personnel of armed forces.
Government counsel appealed that
Government does not have money for such large payment. On this plea again
Honorable SC ruled that if Government can loose thousands of crore in coal
blocks this payment is chickenfeed infront of that. Hence the arrears will have
to be paid within four months.
These were oral discussions in the
court, we will have to wait for formal order by the Honorable SC and the
reaction of Government on the judgment. IESM will go to court on behalf
of all personnel of Armed Forces in case Government refuses to pay arrears to
all affected Armed Forces Personnel.
Please wait for written judgment of
Honorable Supreme Court.
Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
Gen Sec IESM
Flat no 801, Tower N5
Nelson Mandela Marg
New Delhi. 110070
OROP is our right. Dilution in OROP
will NOT be accepted.
TO DAY ZILLA SAINIK WELFARE OFFICE, RR DIST. ORGANISED EX.SM AWARENESS AND JEEVAN PRAMAN CAMP AT ECHS POLYCLINIC SEC'BAD. DIRECTOR, SAINIK WELFARE TS & SREENESH KUMAR ADDRESSED THE GATHERING. 50 I CARDS ISSUED AND 100 JEEVAN PRAMAN REGNS DONE. EX.SM ARE VERY HAPPY ABOUT THIS PROGRAMME.
All the ex-servicemen are requested to attend and register themselves under Jeevan Praman
Meeting of IESM Delegation with RM Sh Manohar Parrikar on 2 Mar 2015
IESM contacted Sh Manohar ParrikarRakshaMantri
at the end of the budget presented on 28 Feb 15 and communicated to him that
ESM in general are disappointed because OROP has not been mentioned in the
budget speech of Finance Minister and allocation of funds for OROP has not been
announced. RM explained on telephone that OROP has been approved in two budgets
and hence it is considered approved and therefore there was no need to mention
in the budget speech. He was kind enough to invite the IESM delegation at 1400h
on 2 March 15 to clear any doubts if we had any.
Following five members of
IESM met Sh Manohar Parrikar RM at 1400h on Monday 2 March 2015.
Satbir Singh SM
VK Gandhi VSM
Singh was also invited by RM for discussion on disability pension issue.
RM made everyone comfortable
in the beginning itself that OROP for Armed Forces and Ex-servicemen is NDA
Government’s commitment and he has worked out the expenditure for the OROP. He
advised that there was no need to cover this issue in budget presented by NDA
Government on 28 Feb 15 as it already stands approved by Parliament as
part of budget for financial year 14-15. He confirmed that he had discussed the
issue with officers of MOD and ironed out all issues of OROP. He also confirmed
that OROP is genuine demand of Armed Forces and must be met in full; hence
there is no difference in thinking of Armed Forces and MOD. Accordingly file
has been prepared and is in process for approval from Ministry of Finance. After
approval of the file from Finance Minister, it will be put up for approval of
CCPA (Cabinet Committee for Political Affairs). RM has confirmed that MOD has
recommended giving OROP for X group and Y group separately. He also confirmed
that all ranks including widows have been included in the OROP. He further
confirmed that he is attempting to meet the date line for issuance of
Government letter (OROP Notification) given by him on 1 Feb 15 meeting with
There was no doubt left in
our minds after such a clear statement by RM and IESM delegation was convinced
that OROP is now in safe hands will see the day light soon. General Satbir
Singh thanked him and told him that it is first time that the demands of ESM
are being given proper consideration and attention. IESM delegation then
discussed following issues with RM.
in Widow’s pension w.e.f 24 Sep 12; General Satbir Singh informed him that widow’s pension was not
increased in 2012 when pension for all ranks was increased as per
recommendations of 6 CPC. Widows must be given that increase in pension. RM
expressed concerned on this issue and asked the delegation to give him the note
for his consideration.
Pension Retired pre 1996; It was
brought to RM’s attention that MOD is not paying Lt Col pension to Major rank
officers who retired pre 1996 on completion of 21 years of service. Major
Thomas of pre 1996 retirement had gone won the case in AFT and had been paid
enhanced pension. It should be applicable for all Majors who had retired pre
1996 and had completed 21 years of service. RM asked for a detailed note on the
issue for his consideration.
Pension who had retired on completion of 20 yrs but with less than 21 yrs of
service; RM was informed that there
will be only few hundred Majors who will fall in that category and MOD must
consider giving them Lt Col Pension with Major’s grade pay as a special case.
RM demanded a paper on this issue also for his consideration.
IESM will be sending the
detailed paper on above issues to RM at the earliest.
IESM delegation was
encouraged with the response and encouragement given by RM. One can now say
that OROP is in safe hands will soon be approved.