Saturday, June 6, 2015

ONE RANK ONE PENSION ITS GENESIS, THE PRESENT IMBROGLIO AND THE WAY OUT


Respected Prime Minister,
Jai Hind.
1.         Ref:
(a)      Koshyari Committee Report on One Rank One Pension (OROP) submitted to the Parliament on 19 Dec 2011, which can be viewed online by clicking on the following link:
         (b)    Extracts of Findings, Observations and Recommendations of the Koshyari Committee, as recorded in its Report on grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP), submitted to the Parliament on 19 December 2011 (attached as Appendix ‘A’).

Genesis of One Rank One Pension
2.        Prior to the Third Central Pay Commission, the pension of Armed Forces personnel was regulated by Pension Regulation exclusively keeping in view the peculiarity and gravity of the service conditions to which the soldier is subjected to in peace, and the danger to which he is exposed in war, the inevitable need to retire a soldier much earlier than the normal age of superannuation enjoyed by the other central Government employees, the difficulty in getting a soldier to rehabilitate in civilian work of life after retirement, and last but not the least, the sacrifice that the family, and more so, the children of the soldier are called upon to offer to the country.

3.        It was decided by the then Government to grant pay and perks that a soldier deserves by virtue of his contributions to the motherland; and to keep his status and living standards quite high without comparison with civilian employees. At that time, the pension was based on the rank of retirement provided that he has put in the minimum required years of service. Every armed forces personnel are entitled for One Rank One Pension (OROP) which took care of his needs and it was based on principles of reward for his sacrifices. But unfortunately, after the Third Central Pay Commission, the pension formula as applicable in that civilian pension rules was extended to the armed forces pensioners
also, through a Government administrative order. This ex-parte decision has denied One Rank One Pension to the Ex-Armed Forces personnel which is the cause of all troubles and resentment amongst them. Accordingly, Ex-servicemen have prayed that the Government accept their long pending demand of for One Rank One Pension on priority, to honour those who defended our motherland; and the commitments made by the Government from time to time on this issue be honoured without any stipulations or conditions.

The Koshyari Committee on One Rank One Pension
4.        The Koshyari Committee was constituted by the Rajya Sabha in March 2011 to go into the genuineness of the demand for grant of ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP). The Koshyari Committee after having studied the requirement in detail, strongly recommended grant of OROP to Ex-Servicemen; and, in Para 3 of its Report submitted to the Parliament on 19 Dec 2011, it has unambiguously defined One Rank One Pension (OROP) as:

One Rank One Pension.
Ø   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.
Ø   This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
Ø   In armed forces, equality in service has two components, namely, rank and length of service. The importance of rank is inherent in armed forces as it has been granted by the President of India and signifies command, control and responsibility in consonance with ethos of service. These ranks are even allowed to be retained by the individual concerned after his/her retirement.
Ø   Hence, two armed forces personnel in the same rank and equal length of service should get same pension, irrespective of date of retirement; and, any future enhancement in rates of pension be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
     

Acceptance of OROP by UPA Govt
5.        The Definition of One Rank One Pension (OROP) as per the Koshyari Committee Report, approved by the Parliament, was accepted by the UPA Govt; and that is how the UPA Govt finally sanctioned OROP on 17 Feb 2014; and earmarked an initial sum of Rs. 500 Crores for OROP in the Budget for the year: 2014-15.

THE PRESENT IMBROGLIO

Disenchantment.
6.        We, the Military Veterans of India are dismayed at your ignorance regarding the Definition of ONE RANK ONE PENSION even after one year as Prime Minister; and appalled at your insensitivity towards Ex-Servicemen, by not fulfilling your oft repeated promise to grant OROP; your naivety in mouthing platitudes and say that you & your Govt are committed to grant of OROP; and distressed to see that not only are you being misguided, manipulated and taken for a ride by the wily Bureaucrats; but you are firmly in their grip to do their bidding; instead of vice versa. Sad, for one did not expect this from you; when Ex-Servicemen voted for you in large numbers during the last General Elections in Apr-May 2014.

The wily Bureacrats and their never ending mischief.
7.        Believe me, the wily Bureaucrats of the Min of Defence (especially, the Secretary, Dept of Ex-Servicemen Welfare and the CGDA) and the Min of Finance (especially, the Secretary, Dept of Expenditure) are out to sabotage OROP by confusing you, saying that, OROP has various definitions & connotations; and in support thereof, presenting different sets of astronomical figures that the Govt would be saddled with in case OROP is sanctioned. Not only that, they have the temerity to pull wool over your eyes and scare you by saying, if OROP to Defence personnel is sanctioned, other Govt servants, Police and Para military forces, viz. BSF, CRPF, ITBP, etc would also demand grant of OROP; resulting in opening of a Pandora’s box. As a matter of fact, these very fallacious arguments were fed to the Koshyari Committee constituted in March 2011; and the Committee vide Para 10.3 of its Report has categorically stated, ‘To this argument, the Committee finds that it is a baseless apprehension of the Government, as soldiering is a different profession and they retire by rank while civilian Government employee retired by age’; and vide Para 11.2 of the Report, that, ‘The Committee is not convinced with the version of the Ministry of Finance that the grant of OROP to the Defence personnel would eventually generate similar requests from the civilian work force of the country under the Central Government and the State Governments. The Committee would not like this argument or apprehension to stand in the way of the legitimate and fair demand of the Defence personnel. The Committee feels so because of the quite different terms and conditions of service of the two different categories of employments. The terms and conditions of Armed Forces are tougher and harsher than the civilian Government employee’.

Loss of Credibility of PM on account of broken promises.
8.        Respected Prime Minister, you have today lost the trust & confidence of the Ex-Servicemen fraternity. You promised grant of OROP in the Ex-Servicemen Rally at Rewari on 15 Sep 2013, amidst much fan-fare, before the Election; you promised OROP during the Elections; and; you went to the extent of saying OROP has been granted in your address to
the troops at Leh during 2014. Sadly, it was a lie. The hopes of Ex-Servicemen were kindled when told that the Govt would announce grant of OROP on 26 May. But when the Ex-Servicemen heard you saying in an interview to The Tribune on 29 May and in your ‘Man ki Baat’ on 31 May, that, “The Govt is committed to OROP for Ex-Servicemen; and no one should have any doubts about its (OROP’s) implementation. But there are varied versions about what the definition of OROP should be. Would it be proper for me to take a decision without keeping the Armed Forces personnel in the loop? So we are trying to arrive at a please-all decision", they were deeply disappointed; and they feel let-down by none other than their Prime Minister, for the inordinate delay in implementation of OROP.  It is indeed a case of broken promises. And you have no one to blame; other than yourself. This is a result of your failure to rein in your Bureaucrats.

A ploy to refer the matter to the 7th Central Pay Commission.
9.        From what one hears, delaying grant of OROP is only a ploy; to refer the same to the 7th Pay Commission. Would you call it a sign of coming of ‘Achhe Din’ for Ex-Servicemen?

Couple of pertinent Questions
10.      Respected Prime Minister, pray tell us:
Ø   What is the problem with the definition of OROP? There are no different versions of Definition of OROP as claimed by you, under the tutelage of your Bureaucrats. OROP has been unambiguously defined by the Koshyari Committee in Para 3 of its Report. (Refer Para 4 ibid).
Ø   Which is the magic formula you plan to work out that would ‘please all’. Please elucidate, when you say, ‘please all’, as to ‘who all’? Is it the Civilian Central Govt servants or the Police and Para Military Forces?

RECOMMENDED WAY OUT OF THE PRESENT IMBROGLIO

Recommended way out
11.      Since your Govt finds it so difficult to understand the concept of OROP, despite the fact that it has been unambiguously defined by the Koshyari Committee in its Report submitted to the Parliament; and since your Govt, inspite of being in the saddle for over a year, is still groping in the dark to arrive at a formula to work out the financial implication/ liability to the Govt on grant of OROP; we, the Military Veterans praythat, the exercise of working out the financial implication of OROP be entrusted either to TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) or to one of the IIMs; with the proviso that TCS/IIM so entrusted with the task, shall work out the financial impact of OROP, in consultation with the three Service Chiefs; and, the Stake Holders, ie. Ex-Servicemen and Ex-Servicemen Organisations. Is it too much to ask for?

CHANAKYA’S ADVICE TO THE KING

12.      To end, let me remind you, Chanakya wrote to Chandragupta about what the soldier does.  And he concluded as follows:

“If ever things come to a sordid pass when, on a given day, the Mauryan soldier has to look back over his shoulder (simhawalokana) prompted by even a single worry about his and his family's material, physical  and social well being, it should cause you and your Council the greatest concern and distress. I beseech you to take instant note and act with uncommon dispatch to address the soldier's anxiety. It is my bounden duty to assure you, My Lord, that the day when the Mauryan soldier has to demand his dues or worse, plead for them, will neither have arrived overnight nor in vain. It will also bode ill for Magadha. For then, on that day, you, My Lord (read Narendra Modi) will have lost all moral sanction to be King! It will also be the beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire (read Bharathvarsh)”


With best regards,
Yours sincerely,
Signature
Col Rajan
Convenor, Military Veterans INDIA

Copy to:
1.         Shri Manohar Parrikar
Hon’ble Defence Minister
South Block, ND-110 001

2.        Shri Arun Jaitley
Hon’ble Finance Minister
North Block, ND-110 001

3.        Maj Gen BC Khanduri, AVSM
Chairman,
Standing Parliamentary Committee for Defence

4.        Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Hon’ble MP (Rajya Sabha)

5.        Gen Dalbir Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Army HQ, South Block, ND-110 011

6.        Admiral RK Dhowan PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Naval HQ, South Block, ND-110 011

7.        Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air HQ, Vayu Bhawan, ND-110 106

8.        Shri Amit Shaw, President BJP
11, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110 001

9.        Ram Madhav, Gen Secy BJP
11, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110 001

10.      Gen SK Bahri, PVSM,AVSM,VSM
Chairman, Alliance of Ex-Servicemen Organisations
A3/502 World Spa EastSector 30/41Gurgaon - 122 001

11.      Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM
Chairman Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM)
543, Sector 23, Gurgaon – 122 017

12.         Lt Gen Balbir Singh Yadav, PVSM, VSM**
President Ex-Services League (IESL)
9, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, ND-110 021

13.      Air Marshal TS Randhawa, PVSM, VM
President, Air Force Association (AFA)
Vayu Bhawan, ND-110 106

14.      President, Indian Naval Foundation,
Naval HQ, South Block, ND-110001

15.      DDG Veterans Cell,
AG’s Branch, Army HQ, South Block, ND-110 011
Appendix ‘A’
[Ref Para 1 (b) of letter
dt 01 June 2015 addressed to the Hon’ble PM]

EXTRACTS OF OBSERVATIONS, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE
KOSHYARI COMMITTEE , AS RECORDED IN ITS REPORT ON GRANT OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP), SUBMITTED TO THE PARLIAMENT ON 19 DECEMBER 2011

The Koshyari Committee on One Rank One Pension
13.      The Koshyari Committee was constituted by the Rajya Sabha in March 2011 to go into the genuineness of the demand for grant of ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP). The Koshyari Committee after having studied the requirement in detail, strongly recommended grant of OROP to Ex-Servicemen; and, in Para 3 of its Report submitted to the Parliament on 19 Dec 2011, it has unambiguously defined One Rank One Pension (OROP) as:

One Rank One Pension.
Ø   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.
Ø   This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
Ø   In armed forces, equality in service has two components, namely, rank and length of service. The importance of rank is inherent in armed forces as it has been granted by the President of India and signifies command, control and responsibility in consonance with ethos of service. These ranks are even allowed to be retained by the individual concerned after his/her retirement.
Ø   Hence, two armed forces personnel in the same rank and equal length of service should get same pension, irrespective of date of retirement; and, any future enhancement in rates of pension be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.

FINDINGS.
14.      Findings.
Para 10.2 &10.3 of the Report
Ø   The Committee observes that One Rank One Pension was in vogue till 1973 when the Third Central Pay Commission took an ex-parte decision against the One Rank One Pension formula. If this formula was working satisfactorily for more than 26 years after the country's Independence what was the harm in continuing this formula? The same procedure could very well be followed even though this demand is accepted by the Government.
Ø   The Ministries of Defence (Dept. of Ex-Servicemen Welfare) and Finance (Dept. of Expenditure)] in their  submissions  have attempted  to  draw a rosy picture about the pension being given to the Armed Forces personnel according to length of service. If this is beneficial to them then why are the Ex-Servicemen consistently demanding for One Rank One Pension Formula? Why they are agitated? They serve the nation with utmost devotion and selflessness but their demands are consistently being ignored, not by the heads of Armed Forces, but by the Bureaucrats. It’s a typical example of Bureaucratic apathy.
Ø   To continue this apathy, the Ministries apprised the Committee that if OROP is to be implemented for the armed forces personnel, similar demands may be raised from the civilian Government employees. To this argument, the Committee finds that it is a baseless apprehensionof the Government as soldiering is a different profession and they retire by rank while civilian Government employee retired by age.
Ø   The terms and conditions of armed forces are tougher and harsher than the civilian Government employee. There are restrictions of fundamental rights to the armed forces. Risk to life of a soldier is always higher as they work under severe strain and sense of insecurity with undefined and unlimited working hours. Transfers and dislocation alongwith bleak career prospects are other disadvantages attached with the Armed Forces. Their family life is also non-comparable with that of civilian Government employee.
Ø   The Armed Forces are also subjected to Court Martial system for the sake of military discipline. In view of aforesaid uniqueness of Armed Forces it can not be equated with a civilian Government employee.

Para 10.4 of the Report.
Ø   The Committee is distressed to note that the Defence personnel of our country have returned their service medals to the President of India in view of the Governments' apathetic attitudetowards their demand of grant of OROP.

OBSERVATIONS.
15.      Observations.
         Para 9 (i) of the Report.
Ø   The Armed Forces of the Union are 'rank based structure' organisations. The Ex-Servicemen are associated with their rank even after their retirement and death. There is strong bondage between Serving and Ex-Servicemen community, as in most cases the siblings of Ex-Servicemen join the Defence services as a matter of honour and pride. Their mindset, attitude, commitment and dedication to the Nation do not change even after their retirement.
Ø   Till 1950, Armed Forces were enjoying an edge over their civilian counterparts in respect of pay and pension. The pension for armed forces was almost 90 percent of their last pay drawn, which was gradually reduced to 50 percent of their last pay drawn; whereas, the pension of civilian employees was enhanced from 33 percent to 50 percent of their last pay drawn in due course.

         Para 9 (ii) of the Report.
Ø   Pay and pension of Armed Forces personnel was governed by separate Pay Commission which was substituted with Common Pay Commission for both Civilian and Defence personnel w.e.f. Third Pay Commission.

         Para 9 (iii) of the Report.
Ø   Armed forces have to retire early as a matter of policy of Government which
         causes loss of earnings to them because the benefits given by successive Pay Commissions which could have accrued to them if they were made to retire at the normal retirement age of sixty. They are made to retire at a point of time when they have maximum liability of their family on them; nearly eighty five percent of armed forces retire at the age of 38; ten percent retirements take place at the age of 46; and remaining 5 percent retirements happen at the age of 56 to 58;

         Para 9 (iv) of the Report.
Ø   The demand for One Rank One Pension has its basis in the past precedence as well as truncated service career of the Armed Forces which causes loss of earning to them. Furthermore, armed forces personnel are deployed in toughest terrain and roughest weather including Siachin Glacier during their service career.

         Para 11.2 of the Report.
Ø   The Committee is not convinced with the version of the Ministry of Finance that the grant of OROP to the Defence personnel would eventually generate similar requests from the civilian work force of the country under the Central Government and the State Governments.
Ø   The Committee would not like this argument or apprehension to stand in the way of the legitimate and fair demand of the Defence personnel.
Ø   The Committee feels so because of the quite different terms and conditions of service of the two different categories of employments. The terms and conditions of armed forces are tougher and harsher than the civilian Government employee.
Ø   Risk to life of a soldier is always higher as they work under severe strain and sense of insecurity with undefined and unlimited working hours.
Ø   There are restrictions of fundamental rights to the armed forces.
Ø   Transfers and dislocation alongwith bleak career prospects are other disadvantages attached with the armed forces.
Ø   Their family life is also noncomparable with that of civilian Government employee.
Ø   The Armed Forces are also subjected to Court Martial system for the sake of military discipline.
Ø   In view of aforesaid uniqueness of Armed Forces it can not be equated with a civilian Government employee.

Ø   On the issue of returning of service medals by the Defence personnel of our country to the President of India in view of the Governments' apathetic attitude towards their demand of grant of OROP, the Committee is of the view that our Defence personnel should not feel alienated to this extent again and they are not forced to surrender their hard earned service medals in this manner to exhibit their discontent with the government policies.

Para 11.3of the Report.
Ø   There is another dimension of the issue under consideration, i.e., the necessity and justification for bringing about the change through the Third Central Pay Commission. Nothing has been brought before the Committee which could explain  or  justify the  circumstances  in  which  the Defence personnel were
applied the same criteria as applicable to the country’s civilian work force under the Central Government for the purpose of determining their pay, allowances, pension, family pension, etc. It is quite obvious that the terms and conditions of service, more particularly their span of service, i.e., the age at which they enter service and the age at which they become due to retire, vary drastically from the civilian work force. There is no doubt that the span of service of the armed forces is much-much less as compared to the civilians. The defence personnel in the PBOR category retire when they are around 35-40 years of age. Even the officers retire when they are around 55 years of age. That is the time when they have lot of family and social responsibility to discharge for which they need a sound financial support. This is certainly not the case with the civilian work force where the age of retirement is 60 uniformly. Further, under the rules governing pension/ family pension of the civilians, the longer a person serves, the more pay he gets and consequently he becomes entitled for higher pension / family pension. This being so, our Defence personnel are bound to remain at a disadvantageous position since the period for which they serve is definitely much less. On top of this, the fact that they retire at a younger age aggravates their hardship.

Para 11.4 of the Report
Ø   In the above situation, the Committee feels that the decision of the Government to bring our Defence personnel on the pattern of the civilians with regard to their pay, pension, etc. (from Third Central Pay Commission onwards) is not a considered decision which has caused hardship to the Defence personnel and has given birth to their demand for OROP. The Committee understands that before the Third Central Pay Commission, the Defence personnel were getting their pay/pension on the basis of a separate criteria, unconnected with the criteria devised for the civilian work force. That criteria acknowledged and covered the concept of OROP which has been given up after the Third Central Pay Commission.

Para 11.5 of the Report.
Ø   The Committee is not convinced with the hurdles projected by the Ministry of Defence (Dept of Ex-Servicemen Welfare) in implementing of OROP for Defence personnel. They have categorized the hurdles into administrative, legal and financial.


(Source- Sanjha Morcha blog_)

10 comments:

  1. I do not understand the term " please all" There is only one affected party and why anybody other than the affected party has to be pleased.

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  2. Dear sir,
    The voluminous manuscript will never attract their attention and they will throw into dust bin even without seeing the contents of that. the only solution is to obtain OROP we should emerge as major power not only to enhance OROP but also protect our country from being denigrated by the non sense politicians in the name of religion, caste and creed. general dalbir singh remained silence now starts his lotus mouth, the man who collects donation from jawan without seeking their consent, a sort of sycophancy samtach giri, he might have been assured of some good posts as governor after retirement . we should do something to protect our interest

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  3. Dil Prasad ChhetriJune 7, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    Sir.
    There is no ambiguity in the definition of OROP. It is very simple. one can understand in one reading only.The Koshyari Committee has defined the meaning of One Rank One Pension clearly. Prime Minister Mr. Modi was also saying 'pechida mamla hai'.But how it has become so complicated , not understood. It seems that they want to keep the Veterans in confusion so that the matter could be dragged till announcement of 7th CPC. How many times a responsible minister spoke lie in front of our senior veterans who have served the country more than 40 years. They should feel shame. 'JAI HIND'

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  4. OROP Solution is seen with Sppreme Court only. no hope left with this Govt now

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  5. PM Modi Ji is working for his brand image only. Any body can understand now. He is not worried of other things.

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  6. PM Modi Ji is working for his brand image only. Any body can understand now. He is not worried of other things.

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  7. PM Modi Ji is working for his brand image only. Any body can understand now. He is not worried of other things.

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  8. There is no word like 'shame' applicable to politician and buerocrats. They are made up of different materials. But now a days the senior Defence officers too do not bother about honour and dignity. Look at the way the present chief of Army Staff collected money and donated to PM that too for the rehabilitation works for Kashmir whose public are working against the Army and support Pakistan sponcered terrorism. They work gainst the interest of Army and the Nation. This chief not only become a psycophant but he is a bad example to the Army Officers and their ethos. He appeared before the huge veteran crowd and announced that OROP will be implimented by 30th April 15 but what happened. Why he does not consider his position as Chief of Army Staff and express his anguish to the Govt for utilising him to be part of the lie which the Govt spreading to fool the veteran. He should have offered to resign. Now he is again approaching veterans with the same story of lie. Shameful it is. Now let the veteran decide of their issues with the Govt directly as they decide.

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  9. It is a victory of buerocrats not army esm as they are very clever than army officers.

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  10. Shame on Modiji who promised good Governance and cannot control his bureaucrats, how does he plan to run the country. BJP has to introspect and respect its soldiers or the Country will loose the Jawans who are looked at with pride all over the world. It is only Indian Soldier who readily dies for motherland most others run away at the hour of need.... Hope government doesnot want us doing the same

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