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Thursday, June 25, 2015
Some myths doing the rounds, and the truth thereon - By Maj Navdeep Singh (Retd)
Since many improbable queries are being raised on One Rank One Pension, more so on social media, let me attempt to clarify some of these again to put an end to misinformation, especially for those not connected with the Armed Forces who may be unaware about the modalities of the concept.
Here are the three biggest myths doing the rounds on Social Media.
Myth No 1: Since OROP is to cater for early retirement, why should those officers who retire at 60 be granted OROP?
Truth: Nobody in the military retires at 60 except Lieutenant Generals. Civil employees retire at 60.
Myth No 2: Pay progression in civil service is faster and hence pension is higher but civil services cannot be compared with defence services and when an officer joins up, he/she knows what he/she is getting into.
Truth: Though many civil services had a faster career graph, the situation has gravely deteriorated since the 6th Central Pay Commission (w.e.f 01-01-2006) when Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) was introduced for Organised Group A Civil Services. The said scheme provides that all officers of such civil services, if otherwise eligible, shall be granted the higher pay of promotional grades, even if they are not promoted. Hence, by default, officers who are unable to be promoted in their cadres are now retiring with the pay of an Additional Secretary to Govt of India (HAG) which results in (almost) de facto OROP. This concept of NFU has been denied to the defence services but remains applicable to civil officers working shoulder to shoulder even under the Ministry of Defence. For example, today, a Chief Engineer (CE) of the Military Engineering Services who may be a military officer of the rank of Brigadier may have his Civilian Superintending Engineer (SE) who would be serving under him, drawing the pay of a Lieutenant General under NFU and hence also the pension of a Lt Gen. So the boss gets a lower pay and pension than his subordinate!
Myth No 3: Personnel of the forces are granted employment on the civil side after being released from the Army, why then are they demanding OROP?
Truth: Absolutely untrue. There is no job protection for defence personnel after they are released from the forces, and by the way, they start retiring at the age of 34 years. Most of the personnel of lower ranks end up guarding our neighbourhood ATMs and a minuscule percentage is given the opportunity of government employment but much below their erstwhile military status and at Group D levels at times. Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) who are Group-B (formerly known as Class-II) gazetted officers are being offered appointments below the rank of Sepoy. To make this more understandable for those on the civil street, it is like offering a job profile below the rank of Constable to a recently retired Deputy Superintendent of Police. Is this fair?
Those who may like to know more about One Rank One Pension and related issues may like to peruse my two recent opinion pieces on the subject: