Tuesday, September 8, 2015
OROP HAS BEEN GRANTED! BUT WHY AM I SAD? - Maj Gen Tejinder Handa
First, some facts for the uninitiated:-
• As per the Supreme Court, Pension is not ‘charity’ but ‘deferred payment for services rendered’.
• The matter of OROP was studied by the Koshyari Committee of the Parliament in 2011. The Committee with 10 MPs from different parties established the following:-
Armed Forces were in the receipt of OROP from 1947 to 1973. (Para 10.2 of the Report).
Armed Forces cannot be equated to Civilians: They retire much earlier and have totally different conditions of service. (Para 11.2 of the Report).
Till 1973 Armed Forces had a separate Pay Commission. Bringing them at par with the Civilian Employees was not a well-considered decision. Para 11.4 of the Report).
• Till 1973, Armed Forces got 70% of last pay drawn as pension while civilian employees got only 30%. After 1973, both were brought at par to 50%. (This is, perhaps the only instance in Independent India where pay/pensions of a cadre have been reduced).
• In 2008 officers of Civil Services were granted NFU (Non-functional upgrade). Thus they all draw much higher salaries while in Service and retire at the Apex Scale, which has already been granted OROP. (Ref Avay Shukla “The bitter truth about OROP”, Hillpost, 17 Aug 2015. Shukla is a 1975 Batch IAS officer who retired in 2010 and is in receipt of OROP).
• In a recent court judgement all Central Armed Police Forces (BSF, CISF, CRPF, ITBP and SSB) have also been granted NFU (and thus OROP).
• Hence all others with whom equations were drawn in 1973 now get OROP. Only the Armed Forces do not!
So now that the Govt has granted OROP to the Armed Forces, why am I not happy but sad?
I am sad at the irreparable damage which the spectacle of the last three months has caused to the Image and Honour of the Armed Forces. I do not wish to be judgemental as to which side is to blame. I am only sad that events had to unfold in such a manner. A proud force of nationalists and patriots has been brought down to the level of mere trade unionists. This will adversely impact coming generations.
I am sad at the latent politicisation which is an outcome of how this episode was allowed to be played out over the last few years. The Armed Forces have been one of the finest institutions of our country with a wonderful ethos. They have been always apolitical. What has happened will have grave consequences for our National Security Apparatus.
Finally, I am sad that all what has happened has been eagerly watched by the serving soldier. I wish I could tell myself that he will not be affected by such things since it was a matter pertaining to the ‘Veterans’ only. Sadly I am unable to tell myself such.
I only hope that someone ‘who cares’ can even now take appropriate steps to contain the damage.
(Source- via e-mail from Mathew Oommen Veteran)