Meeting of UFESM with Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, GOI, at 1600 hrs on 24 Nov 2015 at North Block, New Delhi1. A delegation of United Front of Ex Servicemen Movement (UFESM) comprising the following met Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister at his North Block Chamber, New Delhi and presented a Memorandum on various issues of concern to Ex Servicemen on OROP Notification issued by GOI:
a. Lt Col Dinesh Nain – Secretary Generalb. Sgt VN Mishra – Vice Presidentc. Cmde Sudheer Parakala – Chief Coord South Zoned. Brig SKS Rana – Rep North Zonee. Cpl Vijay Kumar – Memberf. PO Dhani Chand – Memberg. Hav Ishwar Singh – Memberh. Lt Gen Raj Kadyan – Advisor
2. The delegation was well received by Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Finance Minister without any Bureaucrats. The Members were introduced to him. It is the first time that Brig Rana and Cmde Sudheer Parakala represented Tri Service Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (TSEWA) during the meeting at FM level under the umbrella of UFESM on the subject of OROP Notification.
3. Lt Gen Raj Kadyan, Advisor, UFESM, informed the FM that more than 138 ESM organisations have come together and formed UFESM. On a query from FM, it was clarified that UFESM has got nothing to do with the activities of IESM at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
4. It was decided to present the three main concerns of UFESM so that the effort is not diluted on minor issues like the Effective Date and Base Year. The details of the three points that were included in the Memorandum are given in the succeeding paragraphs.
5. Periodicity of Equalisation of Pension. It was highlighted that OROP definition as given in Koshiyari Committee report and accepted on the floor of the House is “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”. Since after the VI Pay Commission, the salaries and consequently the pensions have been increasing by 3% every year, the pension must also be revised every year and not every five years as given in the notification.
6. Fixing of the Bench Mark. It was pointed out that the Notification talked of fixing the Benchmark up to which the past pensioners of the same Rank and same service are to be brought, based on the mean of minimum and maximum of the pension scale in a particular year. Since the pensions already being received are to be protected, it would imply that those already above the mean would continue to get the existing pensions which would lead to one rank and many pensions thereby violating the very definition and spirit of OROP.
7. Pre-Mature Retirement. It was pointed out that there are various categories of Defence Personnel who seek retirement and presumably may require different yardstick to be applied to these categories of personnel. The FM was requested to issue suitable amendments to the Notification elucidating the policy on this.
8. The FM gave a patient hearing on the above points and suggested that the points may be referred to the Judicial Commission. However the representatives stated that since the report of commission will only be recommendatory in nature and since the Ministry is competent to take a decision, it would be appreciated if these points were not left to the commission. The FM assured that the suggestions would be looked into on the file.
9. Single Ladies.The Members also highlighted the plight of single ladies who get very meagre pension and that they were unable to make both ends meet. The FM appreciated various aspects brought out by the delegation and assured to examine all the issues. He added that the burden on the Finances on OROP and VII Pay Commission exceeds 3% of GDP as against intended 2.5% and this will have an adverse effect on the development. The Advisor informed that a separate meeting would be sought to discuss the anomalies in the VII Pay Commission to which the FM agreed and said that his Ministry is examining the recommendations.
10. The meeting ended on a positive note because this is the first time that an ESM delegation has been met at the level of the Finance Minister.
11. The waiting electronic media was also briefed about the meeting and its outcome.
(Sudheer Parakala)Commodore, IN (Retd)Core Committee Member, TSEWA24 Nov 2015.
(Source- Via e-mail)