Shri Arun Jaitley,
Hon’ble Raksha Mantri
Ministry of Defence
South Block, New Delhi-110011
With a request for
to get the issues
resolved at the
earliest, by duly
taking into account
of military veterans.
Sh Ravi Shankar Prashad, Minister of Law and Justice, Shastri Bhawan,
With a request to
take immediate action
with regard to Points
Nos 2 and 5 referred
General VK Singh (Retd), Member of Parliament, Minister of State for (Independent Charge) for Development of North-East States and MoS Ministry of External Affairs
With a request to
use your good
offices in getting
Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Member of Parliament,
With a request to
use your good
Monday, June 2, 2014
Chairman IESM, Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM Writes To Sh Rajnath Singh, President, BJP and Home Minister, for issuance of Government Order for implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and other pressing issues related to Military Veterans
Sh Rajnath Singh
Home Minister Govt of India
02 June 2014
Sub: ISSUANCE OF GOVERNMENT ORDER FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP) AND OTHER PRESSING ISSUES RELATED TO MILITARY VETERANS
Dear Sh Rajnath Singh ji,
Please accept our heartiest congratulations for the great achievement of BJP under your leadership. This was written on the wall, your able and decisive direction to the party has led to this grand victory. Election campaign under you and Sh Narendra Modi's leadership was very effective and efficiently communicated to every citizen of India. Development agenda has shown that people of India are now looking for positive change and have risen above the divisive policies practiced by many. On behalf of the ex-servicemen family, the IESM extends felicitations to you and your team. We are also glad that you have been given this responsibility and now we can expect very clear directions from Home Ministry.
The Military Veterans family has given full support to BJP in this great run for the elections. Our faith in Sh Modi's leadership has been strengthened and ex-servicemen are happy that the country will get a stable Government. Ex-Servicemen are also happy that now India will get a Government which will mean business and will work for improving security of the country. IESM also congratulates the wisdom of Indians who have decisively elected a Government with full majority and expects some tough decisions for the security of India.
Ex-servicemen would like to draw your attention to some of their pending and pressing issues which were also included in the BJP manifesto, the foremost being OROP. The party had promised our delegation(s) before the elections that as and when BJP Government is instituted, you as Party President will ensure approval of our demands. Time has now come for implementation of OROP and redressal of other pressing demands of our veterans. You are aware that UPA Government had announced OROP in the Parliament on 17 Feb 2014 but failed to issue Government order for implementation in last three months of its rule. Armed Forces Pay cells have worked out the tables for OROP for all ranks but the Defence Ministry, based on inputs emanating from lower level bureaucracy and the Defence Accounts Department, is hesitating in issuing the implementation letter. There is a clear definition of OROP given at Para 3 of the Rajay Sabha Petition Committee (headed by Sh Bhagat Singh Koshiari) Report on OROP which was presented to the Rajya Sabha on 19 Dec 2011 and also is given in the minutes of the meeting chaired by the last Raksha Mantri on 26 Feb 2014 which is as under :-
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 to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancements in the rate of pension, to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
It further implies that Pensions of past defence retirees will be equal to that of a person with same rank and length of service and same group retiring wef 01 Apr 2014, and future enhancement in the rates of pensions will be automatically passed to the past pensioners. There is a inbuilt safety that a junior rank will not get pension more than a senior rank irrespective of their date of retirement. Protection of seniority of rank is very important in Armed Forces as hierarchy in Armed Forces is determined by Rank.
UPA Govt did not have the will to implement the announcement made in interim budget because they had announced this for political reasons and to gain confidence of Ex-servicemen during elections. Ex-servicemen never had faith in sincerity of UPA Government and hence did not support them despite the announcement of OROP. UPA had earlier also claimed giving OROP but never issued any orders. So much was the anti-military veteran attitude of the UPA that it went on to approve thousands of appeals against disabled and war disabled soldiers in the Supreme Court against disability pensionary benefits granted to them by various High Courts and Armed Forces Tribunals only on the ground that such judicial decisions were against ‘Govt Policy’. Rather than changing the policies and bringing them in line of judicial verdicts, the MoD continued to file appeals against the same based on misleading file notings of lower level functionaries in the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) of the MoD thereby bringing massive discontentment in the military community.
Ex-servicemen have full faith in the promises made by you, as President of BJP, and are looking forward for a swift and decisive action from you. You had promised to IESM in a meeting on 09 September & 7 November 2013 that OROP will be implemented at the earliest. We are now looking forward to you to honour your commitment by issuing the implementation letter as per approved definition of OROP. Some of the other important points which would need your urgent attention are given below:
1. Grant of OROP as recommended by Koshiari Committee and as announced in the Parliament. Government order for implementation of OROP as per approved definition needs to be issued on priority as already prepared by the Headquarters of the defence services.
2. Immediate unconditional withdrawal of ALL pending appeals filed by the Ministry of Defence against disabled soldiers, war disabled soldiers and military widows in the Supreme Court and review of all other appeals filed against other defence pensioners by an independent committee with due representation of stake-holders so that policies can be rationalised.
3. Formation of Military Veterans’ Commission headed by and manned by sensitised personalities with military background.
4. Job employment upto 60 yrs, that is, upto the age of retirement on the civil side, for all ex-servicemen at levels commensurate to their last held levels in the defence services.
5. Placing the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) under the Ministry of Law and Justice rather than the Ministry of Defence as is the case at present, in line with the decision of the Supreme Court in Union of India Vs R Gandhi [2010 (6) SCR 857] since the current functioning of the AFT displays acute conflict of interest since the AFT is supposed to pass all orders against the MoD and the same MoD happens to be its parent/controlling/administrative Ministry. It is also requested that AFT be given powers of civil contempt to ensure implementation of its orders since currently the AFT is toothless and cannot get its orders implemented.
6. Representation of Ex-servicemen and stake-holders in all committees made to decide welfare of military veterans since as per the current dispensation, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare issues policies which are forcibly imposed upon military veterans without taking the views of stake-holders into consideration. On the contrary, the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare on the civil side is much more sensitive to the requirements of its pensioners. Steps may also be taken to include a member of the armed forces and a member of the military veteran community into the 7th Central Pay Commission that has already been notified.
7. Grant of Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) to commissioned officers at par with other equivalent Group A civil officers, which is a long pending demand of the defence services.
8. Grant of third Assured Career Progression (ACP) to Other Ranks (OR) before retirement at a very young age between 35-40 years. It may be recalled that the 3rd ACP is currently theoretically admissible to Other Ranks after 24 years of service by which time most of the OR have already retired.
9. Improvement in Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).
IESM is very hopeful that NDA Government would soon issue Government Orders for implementing OROP as per the definition approved by Koshiari Committee and announced in the Parliament. IESM is also hopeful that other pending points, agreed by you or included in the BJP manifesto, will also get your special attention and be implemented forthwith.
IESM is looking forward to an efficient and stable Government and is very hopeful that security environment in the country will improve.
From our side, we assure you of all possible assistance in all your endeavours towards promoting nationalism and good governance.
We are with you.
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM