Sunday, January 15, 2012

Parliament panel favours one rank-one pension - Says financial liability of Rs 3,000 cr a year incorrect

Chandigarh, December 22

Recommending grant of one rank-one pension (OROP) to retired armed forces personnel, Parliament’s Committee on Petitions has said that it is not convinced with the hurdles projected by the Ministry of Defence in implementing the proposal. Observing that the financial liability for implementing OROP is Rs 1,300 crore for 20110-12 "which is not a very big amount for a country of our size and economy and also considering the purpose for which it would be utilised", the committee said it is not convinced with the version of the Finance Ministry that implementing OROP would generate similar requests from civilian employees because the terms and conditions of service of the two are vastly different and much harsher and difficult for the military.

The committee, in its report tabled in Rajya Sabha yesterday, also found to be incorrect, the financial liability of Rs 3,000 crore per annum put forth by the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare (DOEW) for OROP. Nixing financial, administrative and legal hurdles projected by the DOEW, the committee observed,” The defence services serve the nation with utmost devotion and selflessness but their demands are consistently being ignored, not by the heads of the Armed Forces, but by bureaucrats. It’s a typical example of bureaucratic apathy.” The Committee observed that the demands of veterans, including OROP, were included in the election manifestos of various parties but not given effect.

“The findings of the committee were appreciable and pro-veteran,” said Maj Navdeep Singh, a High Court lawyer dealing with service matters. “Even the legal difficulties expressed by DOEW have no legs to stand upon. It claimed that the Supreme Court had upheld the implementation of cut-off dates in pensionary matters in various cases. However, what DESW did not mention is the fact that there are many more decisions, including very recent ones, where cut-off dates have been deprecated,” he added. Further, the committee did not accept DOWS’ claims on legal issues and held that on the contrary.

(Source- The Tribune)