TODAY -

One Rank One Pension Paper (OROP), anomalies and solutions

03rd January, 2019 , New Delhi



Since 1300 days hunger rally strike going on to demand One Rank One pension under leadership of Major General Satbir Singh (Retd) at Jantar Mantar New Delhi.

ONE RANK ONE PENSION PAPER (OROP), ANOMALIES AND SOLUTIONS

One Rank One Pension issue is 40 yrs old. The demand for OROP was initially raised in 1973. In these four decades all political parties expressed their solidarity with OROP issue but were hesitant in approving it. Many times and with every pay commission pensions of ex-servicemen (ESM) were increased on the pretext of OROP but it was always one time increase and fell short of OROP.

What is One Rank One Pension (OROP):

OROP means that all soldiers of Indian Army/Navy/Airforce must get same pension for same rank with same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement. And any increase in the pension of current soldier must be automatically passed on to past pensioners.

Anomalies;

Congress Governments kept promising to give OROP but were always shy of releasing full OROP. Sh Narendra Modi promised in-front of 3 lakh soldiers on 15 Sept 2013 in an ESM rally at Rewari, that his Govt will release full OROP asap BJP/NDA Govt takes charge at center.

UPA Govt, realized this and fearing loss of votes of ESM, released full OROP on 17 Feb 2014, just before 2014 General elections. Congress Government issued an executive order to release full OROP on 26 Feb 2014. This order could not be executed in view of elections declared in March 2014. A large family of ESM (5 crore votes) did not believe Cong party and supported whole heartedly the call given by Sh Narendra Modi and voted for BJP/NDA candidates. NDA Govt was sworn on 17 May 2014. NDA Govt approved OROP in its budget on 10 July 2014. Sh Rao Inderjit Singh RRM of NDA Govt gave following definition in Rajya Sabha on 2 Dec 2014 in reply to a question by Sh Rajeev Chandrashekhar.

“The principle of One Rank One Pension for the Armed Forces has been accepted by the Government. The modalities for implementation were discussed with various stakeholders and are presently under consideration of the Government. It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the Government.

One Rank One Pension (OROP) implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancement in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.”

Ex-Servicemen family was very happy that the full OROP will be released soon as promised by Sh Narendra Modi PM of India. Despite various discussions, announcement of OROP got delayed. Finally ESM family was forced to start Relay Hunger Strike and agitation at Jantar Mantar from 15 June 2015. OROP was released by Govt on 7 Nov 2015, but it fell short of promised full OROP and was only one time increase as given by previous Governments. Salient features of OROP released by Govt are.

a) To begin with, pension of the past pensioners would be re-fixed on the basis of pension of retirees of calendar year 2013 and the benefit will be effective with effect from 1.7.2014
b) Pension will be re-fixed for all pensioners on the basis of the average of minimum and maximum pension of personnel retired in 2013 in the same rank and with same length of service.
c) Payment of revised pension is with effect from 01.07.2014.
d) In future, the pension would be re-fixed every five years

Govt also realized the shortcomings in OROP and announced One Man Judicial Committee of Justice N Reddy to look into the problems arising out of implementation of OROP released vide letter dated 7 Nov 2015. Judicial committee has submitted its report on 26 Oct 2016. The report has still not been published and is under consideration of Govt for the past two years.

As per above criterion soldiers who retired before 2014 will get pension lesser than a soldier of same rank with same length of service who retired post 1 Apr 2014. This defeats the basic principle of OROP. Following are four major anomalies in the OROP released by Government vide their letter dated 7 Nov 2015

These anomalies are discussed in detail in succeeding paragraphs.

1) Fixation of Pension on calendar year of 2013 instead of FY of 2014: Fixation of pension as per calendar year 2013 would result in past retirees getting less pension of one increment than the soldier retiring today. This will result in past retirees drawing lesser pensions than present retirees. This will completely destroy definition of OROP approved by two Parliaments and will also result in loss of one increment across the board for past pensioners in perpetuity.

2) Fixation of pension as mean of Min and Max pension: Fixing pension as mean of Min and Max pension of 2013 would result in more anomalies wherein same ranks with same length of service will draw two or more different pensions thus violating the very principle of OROP. This issue was discussed with RM in various meetings and after due deliberations it was decided that accepting highest pension of each rank in the year would meet the requirement as base of pension.

3) Payment w.e.f 1st Jul 14 instead of 1st Apr 14: OROP has been approved in budget of 2014-15 by two parliaments. As per norms of Government, all proposals approved in budget are applicable from 1st April of that FY. In the case of OROP, the Govt had issued specific orders to its applicability w.e.f 1st April .

4) Pension Equalization every five year: Pension equalization every five year will result in a senior rank soldier drawing lesser pension than a junior rank soldier for five years thus OROP definition will be violated for five years. This will also result in permanent violation of definition as fresh cases will come up every year.

Request of ESM:

ESM family is convinced beyond doubt that release full OROP will not only give due recognition to veterans but will also increase the morale of serving soldier. ESM family requests that OROP principle must be implemented as promised. The principle is that soldiers of same rank with same length of service must get same pension irrespective of their date of retirement. And any future enhancement in rate of pay must be passed on to past pensioners automatically.

Veterans will be happy if their pensions are fixed as given below.

o Fix the pension of soldier/JCOs/Officers who retired prior to 2014, based on the pension of soldier/JCOs/Officers who retired on 30 June 2014 instead of fixing on mean of min and max of 2013.
o Pension equalization to be done every year instead of every five years.

To workout Pensions of 7th CPC, the Pension of Defence Personnel be equalized s on 31 Dec 2015 before applying for multiplication factor of 2.57 to workout Pensions with effect from 01 Jan 2016.

Degradation of Defence Forces Personnel may please be stopped and instead their status in all respects be restored as existed on 15 Aug 1947. This will assist in the restoration of Respect, Justice and Status.

Some Important Issues of Welfare of Ex Servicemen and their families are as under :-

(a) Implementation of Actual One Rank One Pension (OROP).
(b) Pensions of Defence Widows.
(c) Pensions of Defence Reservists.
(d) Ensuring Second Career for the early Defence Retirees till the age of 60 years through the Act of Parliament.
(e) Improvements in Medical care Scheme ECHS. The medical procedures which have been introduced in the Country be on ECHS Procedure list within, six months of their being operational in India.
(f) Dire need to have Veterans Hospitals on the line of other Democracies.
(g) Need to enhance ECHS Budget to efficiently manage Super Specialty Care for the Defence Personnel and their dependents.
(h) Need to have Covenant Act of Defence Forces on the lines of UK & other countries.
(j) Need to expedite construction of Martyrs Memorial at India Gate. Long delays have already been caused.
(k) Need to enhance rates of Disability Pension for Defence Personnel.

Soldiers Not only Retire Early But also Die Eearly

Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, It is a common knowledge that soldiers retire ahead of their time. What is not so well known, however, is that they also die much younger than their civilian counterparts? It is more than a coincidence that longevity of defence veterans bears a direct relationship with their age at retirement. Thus, officers live longer than JCOs who, in turn, outlive the Other Ranks. The worst hits are the other ranks who bear the main brunt of the battle. However, the fact is that all defence veterans Die much early than personnel from other civil services.

Life expectancy of the civil government employees was studied by the Institute of Applied Research in Manpower Analysis (IARM) at the behest of the fifth CPC. After a detailed and thorough investigation, they arrived at 77 Years as the life expectancy of the Civil Servant. Railways conducted a similar exercise for their personnel; they assessed their life span as 78 years.

No such study was formally conducted for the defence veterans since; it was generally believed that soldiers live longer than civilians. However, Maj Gen (Retd) Surjit Singh, AVSM, VSM who headed the Army Cell of 5th CPC, carried out a detailed study alongwith other experts in 2005 which revealed that the average ages at which our defence veterans die are as under :-
(a) Officers - 72.5 years.
(b) JCOs - 67 years.
(c) Other Ranks - 59.6 to 64 years. There is definite need to upgrade Management of Welfare of Defence Personnel. We want suitable youth to volunteer for the noble profession of Arms. There is a shortage of over eleven thousand officers in the Defence Forces. We have kept the Raksha Manrti informed through letters sent by email and speed post on issues from time to time. As stated by Major General Satbir singh.

Hijam Rajen
Freelancer (DEMOCRACY)
New Delhi



* This Press Release was sent to e-pao.net by Hijam Rajen ((National General Secretary), In-Charge of North East India , Rashtriya Janhit Sangharsh Party who can be contacted at hr(DOT)singha(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This Press Release was posted on January 04 2019

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