“The day a soldier has to demand his dues, is truly a sad day
in the history of the nation”- Chanakya
There’s no need to give any introduction to ‘One Rank One Pension’, which is more aptly known as OROP. The union government has come out with the Saturday’s (September 5, 2015) announcement on OROP. The much awaited announcement has left many questions, still unanswered!
There has been a prejudice that the implementation of OROP is practically not feasible for many stated and unstated reasons. But, in actuality it is not so!! Wondering how? Here is the answer!!
The proposed solution goes in this manner- As in the case of implementation of any deep-seated issues, initially, onetime settlement of existing defence pensions has to be undertaken to achieve OROP. Once it is done, as per the proposed method, a system of annual increment on defence pensions need to be implemented. It would result in equal pension for an equal length of service in the same rank, thereby achieving the OROP in true spirit.
More to this, the announcement of seventh central government pay commission is imminent. If the initial regularisation of pensions, according to the length and rank of defence personnel is done once, and thereafter adopt annual increment on pensions, the issue will be resolved totally – and no further calculations would be needed. Nevertheless, a clause to this effect may be brought into force with necessary constitutional proceedings, accordingly. As a note it should be accepted by all that – as in the case of regular serving personnel, there might be one increment issue in few pension cases as well – and – the same may be understood and taken it for granted!! The following illustration gives the clearer idea about how the things would work according to the proposed annual increment on basic pension:
Consider two persons retiring from the defence service in the same rank with the same length of service, say for example, after 20 years of reckonable service, but the only difference in the retirement period, say for example it deviates by 10 years in this particular case. Due to obvious reasons viz. annual increment in the basic pay and due to the implementation of guidelines of subsequent pay commission, at the time of retirement itself, the second person would supersede the first person in basic pension itself. The same may happen to the second person w.r.t the third person; and over a period of time the differences will be palpably very high. That’s how the demand of OROP had actually come into force. Nevertheless, if the annual increment at par with the serving personnel is given to the basic pay of pensioners, it would result in the maintaining of the same pension – at par with those future retirees with the same length of service in the same rank. Thus, the prevailing disparities in the pensions would be removed. Even if the next pay revision commission comes into force, there will not be any hiccups, for the incremental factor in the existing basic pay structure could be decided and adjusted accordingly – to maintain equilibrium of the pension payment structure in the spirit of OROP.
Secondly, the benefits of the serving defence personnel could also be simultaneously protected by paying the allowances acceptable to them. Nevertheless, there’s no issue of allowances (excluding Dearness Allowance) to the pensioners – so, it is not a matter of interest to the defence pensioners. Thus, the morale of those soldiers (the future veterans), who would like to continue in the defence services till superannuation, is also achieved by paying allowances passably. This method would certainly do the best to the armed forces personnel, as it ensures the implementation of OROP in both in letter and spirit. The only condition applicable before adopting this method of annual increment on pension is – to undertake as on date onetime settlement of pensions of armed forces veterans.
Once this method is agreed to, the long pending and future troublesome problems associated with OROP would be resolved – including any further and unforeseen problems. Also, it would ensure curtailing the expenditure on committees that would be formed at regular intervals, to suggest the modalities to the ruling government, thereby saving a handsome amount from the nation’s exchequer.
Before wrapping up, I would like to recite the popular slogan, “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”, which was given to India by the then Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, in 1965, at a public gathering at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. The importance of soldiers and farmers was symbolised in this way to the nation. It is very essential to protect the interest of the farmers and soldiers for strengthening the nation as a whole; and implementation of OROP in true spirit would certainly boost up the morale of the armed forces personnel, thereby enhancing the nation’s strength!!
Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi
(An Air Veteran)