Thursday, June 25, 2015
One Rank, One Pension: Misleading Statements---Striking Disparities—Consequences…..By Col K S Dhami (Retired), The Parachute Regiment
“The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha. From then onward, you will lose all moral sanction to be King”--- ( Kautilya also known as Chanakya, c. 350-275 BCE- advice to his King Chandagupta Maurya.
1. The delay in implementation of the promised “One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) to Ex-servicemen is a ‘Breach of Trust’ committed by the present govt. The main ground for OROP is the early retirement when other employment is difficult to get and financial demand increases. The Supreme Court ordered its implementation six years ago; The Parliament has approved it, The President supports it, yet no action. What-ever is the outcome, many veterans, badly let down, will never be able to forget and forgive this “Breach of Trust” and even more, the unbecoming manner the government has gone about it. The extent of denial of armed forces rights is best brought out in an article ‘The Soldier’s Right’ by Nalin Mehta in Times of India dated June 16, 2015.
2. A country is respected if it is economically and militarily strong. Economically, if you cannot give clean water, air and basic food (to half of the country’s population) you have little hope of becoming a super power; and high growth has little meaning. On Military’s importance, it is worth the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister heed the great politician, economist and military strategist Chanakya’s advice given to his King. quoted above . And to quote ancient (500 BC) great Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, Art of war “treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. and they will follow you into the deepest valley.” Let us hope that the Hon’be Prime Minister, Hon’ble Finance Minister and Service Chiefs realize this and the importance of maintaining high morale of the armed forces. Sun Tzu’s book (military treatise) is a prize possession of top corporate leaders— kept on their table— who use Sun Tzu’s tactics and strategies to achieve business aims and to tackle rivals.
3. There are apprehensions that the fall-out of the delay in the implementation of the OROP and the manner that the govts have gone about it in the past and now could disturb forces morale. For example, the big disparity in the Special Forces allowance of the army and the paramilitary forces that has come to light (unbelievable, almost ten –fold difference: army Rs 800-1,200 per month, paramilitary forces Rs 7,200-12,000 per month). Not to mention that finally the tasks lands up in the armed forces lap. Such differences are difficult for unit commanders to explain to their young officers and men under their command. How much can ‘man- officer bond’ and ‘regimental esprit de corps’, built over the years, endure? The politicians and bureaucrats, in the interest of the country, need to understand this. In the armed forces, ‘esprit de corps’ is critical—the single most winning factor. It is this spirit that saw young regimental officers lead their men to turn the tide in the Kargil conflict—spirit glorified in the saying “Man Dies but the Regiment Lives”
4. At this stage, the OROP needs to become a movement to let the people know the ‘Breach of Trust’ by the present govt, not only on OROP, but also on other unfilled promises concerning the common people— start with rallies and build up to the coming election in Bihar as suggested by Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd), former Vice Chief of Army Staff. Veterans have also to speak up for undoing the injustice in the past and for those serving. It is also time for the Service Chiefs and Senior Commanders to take the call on the situation, as brought out above, faced by Unit Commanding Officers, who are already stressed running their units with depleted officer strengths. (Army is short of over ten thousand officers).
(In separate letters, I have brought the above to the attention of the Hon’ble President of India by email dated 19 June, 2015; and Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, letter dated 17 June, 2015. The above email has also been sent on June 24, 2015)
(Source- Asian Tribune)