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Thursday, July 5, 2012
Grant Of One Rank One Pension To Defence Veterans - Letter to The Prime Minister of India by IESM
Letter to PM, RM and three Chiefs Titled Grant of One Rank One Pension to Defence Veterans dated 05 Jul 2012 is circulated herewith for further dissemination please.
Dated: 05 Jul 2012
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
10 Parliament House
New Delhi -11
GRANT OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION TO DEFENCE VETERANS
Hon’ble Prime Minister,
1. This has reference of our letter dated 14.03.2012 addressed to all Members of Parliament and reply received from MoD (Pension Grievances) signed by Mr. Ajay Seth (Accounts Officer) (Copy attached).
2. We are deeply concerned at the way the welfare issues of Defence Personnel are being dealt with by the Govt. Letters to the PM are written only when all efforts to get the issues resolved have not borne results. Mr. Prime Minister Sir, we wish to inform you that we have appealed to every possible authority including your goodself a number of times on the issue. It seems that your staff does not even put up our letters to you since no reply is received which has your approval. Accounts Officers/Section Officers send the routine bureaucratic reply which does not even mention that the PM has considered and the draft of the reply has his approval.
3. One Rank One Pension (OROP) has been strongly recommended by Rajya Sabha Petition Committee and its recommendations were tabled in Rajya Sabha on 19 Dec 2011. Action Taken Report (ATR) by the Govt was due within three months ie by 18 Mar 2012 which is still awaited. The salient features of the recommendations were forwarded to all members of Parliament and others Govt functionaries. These are once again given in succeeding paras.
4. Findings and Recommendations of the Rajya Sabha Petition Committee Report on OROP:-
(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 manifests 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.
(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”.
5. This is an important demand of the Defence Forces and has been strongly recommended by almost all PMs, all political parties, three parliamentary committees on Defence. It is not understood as to why the same has not yet been accepted by the Govt? The fact that this issue remains unresolved for a long time and is still being persisted by the Defence Veterans and the three service HQs indicate the importance and genuineness of the demand. This has been duly analysed by the Rajya Sabha Petition Committee which found it totally justifiable demand and strongly recommended its sanction and implementation. The reasons so for given by the Govt and the Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary to deny the OROP have also been strongly rejected by the Petition Committee. .
6. Sir, the Defence Veterans are getting restless due to total apathy and disregard being shown to them. It also adversely affects the serving defence fraternity since most of them have veteran kiths and kins and the fact that they would also be veterans in due course of time. OROP is a concept which in the form of Military pensions existed till 1973 when the 3rd Central Pay Commission clubbed the Defence Personnel with other Civilian Central Services; a decision which the Petition Committee felt was unwise. The Defence Personnel have suffered thrice over; one they were denied their system of Military Pensions, (the pension of Defence personnel were reduced while that of Civilians Counterparts were increased. The highest pension of civil servant till 1970 was Rs 416.50 Pm/- while that of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) it was Rs 1000 Pm/. In 2006, pension for both is Rs 45000/- pm, which means while the pension of Defence highest rank has increased only 45 times, that of civilian highest rank it has increased 108 times). There is just no justification for the same. Thirdly, while Non Functional Upgrade (NFU) has been granted to Group A Central Services and IPS, the same has been denied to the Defence Officers and for other ranks, the Third Assured Career Progression (ACP) sanctioned by the 6th CPC award for all Govt employees, has been denied to the soldier Sepoy who is being compulsorily retired after 15/17 years of service. These are glaring and serious issues of injustice and need to be resolved immediately.
7. OROP is just and fair demand which must be sanctioned immediately. This affects over two million defence veterans and over three lacs widows. The IESM Governing Body is compelled to decide that incase the OROP is not sanctioned by 15 Aug 2012, the protest Movement across the country will be intensified. Sir, this decision though very painful has been forced on the Defence Veterans since concerted efforts for the last over four years have been nullified by the Govt Apathy towards the welfare of Defence Veterans.
8. We earnestly, request you for your personal indulgence and grant of OROP to the Defence Personnel immediately to stop any further alienation, demoralization and anguish to the defence fraternity.
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian Ex Servicemen Movement
Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570
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Copy to :-
Gen Bikram Singh, - With request for collective intervention
PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC
Chief of the Army Staff to address the serious shortcomings
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Army) and consequent injustice to the
South Block, New Delhi-110011 defence forces. OROP must be got sanctioned at the earliest.
Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, PVSM, AVSM, ADC
Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and
Chief of the Naval Staff
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Navy)
South Block, New Delhi-110011
Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, PVSM, AVSM, VM
Chief of the Air Staff
Integrated HQs of Armed Forces (Air Force)
Vayu Bhawan, New Delhi-110011