Prime Minister Modi Inspecting Guard of Honour

Prime Minister Modi Inspecting Guard of Honour
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Behind One Rank One Pension scheme delay, worry about small hike for jawans

MoD sources said that the main reason behind the delay is the minuscule increase that jawans may get if OROP is implemented in its present form.


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. (Source: PTI)
Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Updated: June 26, 2015 8:31 am
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.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

One Rank One Pension: Madras High Court Notice to Centre on Petition by Ex Serviceman



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.

Read at NDTV


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Friday, June 5, 2015

New OROP formula may be similar to MPs’ pension plan TNN | Jun 5, 2015, 04.48 AM IST

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. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Defence matters: A new spoke in the 'One Rank One Pension' wheel


  • Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)
  • Updated: Jun 02, 2015 10:47 IST
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.

DISCRIMINATION
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.

UNAWARE POLITICIANS
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.

ON PUBLIC REQUEST THE PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT IS POSTED AGAIN HERE

SALARY HIKE TO MPS, ONE RANK, ONE PENSION

SALARY HIKE TO MPS, ONE RANK, ONE PENSION
Letter to Hon'ble Prime Minister by Hon'ble M.P.

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Ex-Servicemen return Medals