I had a fruitful meeting with the Secretary Ex Servicemen Welfare Department in the Ministry of Defence today. Mr Chibber, who has recently assumed the appointment, has had family connection with the Defence Services.
At the start he mentioned that when he took over, his peer Secretaries told him to work on OROP. This is a happy indicator of the bureaucrats’ sensitivity towards the issue. During discussion it became apparent that he had not fully grasped the nuances of OROP. For example, he quoted a discussion with a recently retired Colonel and pointed out that the latter was getting more pension than a Joint Secretary acquaintance of his, who had superannuated in the Nineteen Eighties. When I pointed out that the JS had served six years longer than the colonel and this needed to be factored in the comparative calculus, he at once grasped the issue. He finally appeared convinced why OROP should be applicable exclusively to Defence pensioners.
I touched on the issue of the Sepoys’ widows not being included in the proposed enhancement now under consideration. He had already received this input (through my note that I had given to the Defence Minister on 10 November) and agreed that it was an inadvertent omission on the part of The Cabinet Secretaries Committee and that he had already told the staff concerned and was hopeful they would be able to include them in the enhancement.
While agreeing that errors can happen, I pointed out that the rank pay shemozzle and putting four officer ranks on an equal pension after the Sixth Pay Commission, were not simple omissions. Clearly contrary to the pay commission recommendations these were prima facie acts of deliberate commission. I underscored the fact that unless the guilty are identified and punished, recurrence would happen.
On my asking he reconfirmed that the government orders on the pension enhancement should be out within this month.
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
262, Sector - 17A
Gurgaon - 122 001