Saturday, August 29, 2015
An artful negotiator always deliberately mixes unimportant issues with important ones in the agenda. He then uses the former as a bargaining chip while his focus stays fixed on the crunch point. The ongoing OROP parleys follow the same pattern. While the date of applicability and the base year involve one-time payments and are relatively less critical, the main issue of principle is the yearly increase in pension.
In the simplest terms, the accepted definition implies, 'old and new pensions must be equated and must be kept equated in future'. These two postulates comprise the basic principle. The term 'yearly', as it pertains to pension revision, is not our creation. It was the Sixth Pay Commission that ordered salary increase of 3% every year. This being the crunch of the definition cannot be negotiable. Any change in this postulate would mean whatever is given is not OROP but a mere enhancement in pension similar to what the UPA government also gave in their tenure. Any talk of changing this frequency to three or two years, even on the facile pretext of 'as long as a senior does not get lower pension than a junior', should be anathema. That aberration occurred only in case of Major Generals and was related to rank pay. It has no connection to OROP.
The only concession that can be made is to give the government some more time if they want, even though they have already had enough time to work on OROP. Even this time period should be spelt out in specific terms. OROP has been in progress for many decades and another few days or weeks may not matter. Delay can be acceptable, dilution of definition must not be.
It needs recalling that OROP was a dormant issue till the IESM was founded in 2008. It took the IESM six years of struggle, including hunger strike, medal return, police detention, rallies, memoranda, presentations etc, to get it finally approved by the government. It was also not an easy task to get the final definition accepted and inserted in the Koshyari committee report. Thousands of veterans spread across the country, who have contributed to those efforts, and who are neither on the net nor on the social media, have their aspirations tied to OROP and are eagerly expecting the outcome. It is imperative that they do not feel betrayed.
It would be advisable to involve some JCOs/Other Ranks in the negotiating team. Asking for raise of hands at Jantar Mantar retrospectively and conveying it as a unanimous decision of veterans should be an avoidable illusion.
I feel sad that at this critical time I cannot be in Delhi. My elder brother, Colonel Mohinder Kadyan KC, has undergone surgery to have a duodenum tumour removed and I am with him in the US.
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
(SOURCE- VIA E-MAIL FROM COL NK BALAKRISHNAN (VETERAN)