Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Appeal to Members of Parliament

Honb’le Member of Parliament, 
                                                           Dated : 04 Jan 2011

At the onset, I on behalf of the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

1. As you are aware, retired Faujis- Ex Servicemen, have been fighting for the grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) for over thirty years. Recently the Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions examined the issue of grant of OROP in totality, in response, to a Petition submitted by Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP. The Petition Committee, with representation from many political parties, examined all stake holders, including representatives of Ministry of  Defence, Finance and many associated persons, organizations and departments. The Report of the Committee tabled in the Rajya Sabha on 19 Dec 2011, unanimously and strongly recommends the grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) to all defence pensioners and family pensioners. It now awaits legislative processing and implementation. On behalf of over Twenty Lakh Ex Servicemen and 4 Lakh widows, the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) appeals to the Honbl’e Members of Parliament to kindly sympathetically debate the Report of the Rajya Sabha Committee on Petition for the grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and please help in  its early implementation.

2. A copy of the report is enclosed for your perusal.  Salient aspects of the report are marked in bold italics and highlighted.

3. Findings and Recommendations of the Committee,  These are given below in  brief:-

(a)     Concept of One Rank One Pension. 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 be automatically passed on to past pensioners.

(b)     Govt Justification to deny OROP Untenable.  The Committee has not agreed with the infructuous arguments offered by the Government to deny OROP to Defense Pensioners / Family Pensioners.  The committee observed that the three  reasons i.e. Financial, Administrative and Legal, given by Government to deny OROP are untenable and merely a smoke screen to deny the ex-Servicemen their rightful dues.  The Committee felt that such injustice to the Defence Forces is only due to bureaucratic apathy.

(c)    Historic Perspective Justifies OROP.   The Petition Committee observed   that not only has the demand of OROP been included in the manifestos of all leading political parties but it has also been repeatedly considered by all Central Pay Commission since the 3rd CPC in 1973, numerous committees like Inter Ministries Committees, Group of    Ministers and Committee of Secretaries besides two Parliamentary Standing Committees on Defence of 2003 and 2010.  In view of the above, the Committee felt that there is merit in the demand for OROP by  Armed    Forces Personnel. 

(d)     Bureaucratic Manipulation to Change Established Concept of Military Pensions.   The Committee observed that in order to adequately compensate for the uniqueness of the armed forces as distinct from the other Govt servants, the concept of military pensions was historically better and different from that of the remaining Govt Servants.  However, this was arbitrarily and without any justification changed by 3rd CPC in 1973. The Committee opined that the Govt has not been able to provide any justification for changing the established concept and reducing military pension and the decision to align military pensions with civilian pensions was an ill considered decision, which gave rise to the demand of OROP. 

(e) Uniqueness of Defence Forces- No Commonality with Other Services.  The Committee observed that the Govts apprehension that civilian pensioners will also demand OROP is baseless because of tougher and harsher conditions of service of the armed forces vis-à-vis the civilians and there is no commonality between the Defence Forces and other Govt services.  The two cannot be equated and the armed forces deserve special dispensation. 

(f)   Ex Servicemen Discontent is Distressing.“The Committee is distressed to note that the defense personnel of our country have returned their service medals to the President of India because of the Governments' apathetic attitude towards them. The Committee felt that such alienation should not recur and their legitimate and fair demand of OROP be accepted.

(g)  Small Financial Outlay. “The Committee noted that out of the total financial liability of Rs 1300 crores for the year 2011-12 in case OROP is implemented fully for all the defense personnel in the country, the liability for the Commissioned Officers would only be  Rs 235 crores and remaining for JCOs and Other Ranks. The Committee feels that Rs 1300 crores is not a very big amount for a country of our size and economy for meeting the long pending demand of the armed forces of the country.

(h)    Recommendation.

(i)     “Keeping in view all the above factors, the Committee strongly recommended that Government should implement OROP in the defense forces at the earliest”.

(ii)   Applicability for Future Increases. “The Committee further recommends, for future, the pay, allowances, Pension, family pension,  etc. in respect of the defense personnel should be determined by  a  separate commission so that their peculiar terms and Conditions of service, the  nature of duties they are required to perform, etc., which are quite different from the civilian work force, are duly taken into account while taking decision on the same”.

3.  May we appeal to our Honorable Members of Parliament, cutting across party lines, to please support the just and fair cause of soldiers and ask the Government to grant OROP to all Defense pensioners and Family Pensioners.

Jai Hind!!

With Warm Regards,
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian Ex Servicemen Movement
Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570

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