Monday, August 17, 2015

Fulfil This Promise - Ensure that One Rank One Pension becomes reality soon

Aug 17 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
If Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech truly managed to disappoint a section of people it's armed forces servicemen. The latter had hoped that Modi would announce the implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme that would ensure pension parity among retired servicemen of the same rank and same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Aware of the demand, Modi reiterated government's commitment to OROP in principle. For ex-servicemen who have been on a relay hunger strike for the past two months this simply wasn't enough. 
They have now vowed to intensify their stir until OROP is actualised. There's no way that government can wriggle its way out of OROP. It's a long pending demand that successive governments have committed to. There are various versions of OROP and no version exists whose adoption will satisfy everybody. The government will need to work through the details, come up with a sustainable solution and stick to it while explaining why it's for the best. 
And if one reason for the delay is resistance by an entrenched civil bureaucracy that sees OROP as a threat to its own dominant position vis-à-vis the armed forces, then this will need to be overcome.Some argue OROP will see other arms of government including the paramilitary forces demand similar benefits ­ even railway employees are now demanding OROP. But this is specious since unlike paramilitary personnel and Govt officials, Armed Forces Servicemen have much shorter career spans ­ most military soldiers retire at 35-37 years of age. In such a scenario, the armed forces can't be equated with any other government service. 
Given that Modi has reiterated his commitment to OROP, he must now lend his full political weight to make it a reality.


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