I love my India and want it to be the best in the world. It has the talent and capability. The state has constantly deteriorated in last six decades. The downfall is due to low quality, incompetent and corrupt leadership, unaccountable, equally corrupt bureaucracy and ineffective judiciary unable to fulfil people's aspirations resulting in unparalleled corruption and lawlessness. Drastic changes are necessary to make systems vibrant and responsive to make it an India of every Indian's dreams.
The one rank one pension (OROP) portion of Manohar Parikkar’s interview (here
at 13.55 minutes) in one of the TV channels needs some study and
clarification to put things in perspective.
in his interview has stated that the beneficiaries may not get 100 %
satisfaction. If OROP is fulfilled as per the definition accepted by the
government, there is no reason why there should be any deficiency in the
satisfaction level of the veterans. Obviously there are some slippages.
this aspect he went on to say that there are personnel who join Armed Forces on
the same day and retire on the same day but one may spend more number of years
in the last rank hence, draw more pay and hence more pensions compared to the
other person. The difference in pension could be as small as Rs 500 or Rs
1,000. But I am trying to find out a method of reducing this gap, may be at
mid-point. I am also discussing this issue with many and hopefully I will come
out with some solution satisfying maximum number of pensioners.
Yes it is
possible but why would that happen? Is it the individual’s mistake? He reached
the same rank as the other and served for same number of years. Did he work
lesser number of hours or performed not as good as the other? The fact is, the
number of vacancies for promotion in some of the arms and services are less
compared to the others and hence while an officer who is in a particular arm
gets promoted earlier because of the vacancy falling vacant, another officer in
some other arm or service may have to wait for the vacancy to fall vacant. This
waiting period in any case is not more than 2 to 3 years.
government is proposing different pension to officers promoted on different
days but with same number of years of service and rank, it will not be OROP as
per the definition. If the government intends to reduce the pension of those
eligible for higher pension due to the number of years of service in that rank,
there will be difference in the pension between those retiring today in the
same rank with same number of years of service and the earlier retirees. That
again won’t be OROP.
government granted Non–functional Upgradation (NFU) to all Organised Group A
Service officers of the bureaucracy on the ground that there is lack of
promotional avenues. Interestingly, an army officer reaches the rank of a Major
General, equivalent of a Joint Secretary after 28 years of service while a
bureaucrat attains the same rank after 19 years of service. Also while 0.8 % of
service officers reach the rank of Major General, 100% officers from the
bureaucracy reach the rank of Joint Secretary. Are we blind to see where the
stagnation and lack of promotional avenues are?
NFU scheme, every officer of a particular batch would be brought under the same
pay scale of an officer of their batch when he gets posted to an appointment
tenable by a higher ranked officer irrespective of the location and
appointment. The difference in pay is in thousands and the expenditure to the state
in lakhs. That did not matter to the government. Why then is the government
shying away when it comes to the military?
government spend the same amount of time to assess the financial implication of
NFU when the whole lot of director level officers of a batch was upgraded to
receive the pay of a joint secretary? Mind you, there are 58 different services
under the Organised Group A Services working under different ministries and
every time when an officer of a particular batch in IAS or an officer in any
one of the services gets promoted, every officer of the batch irrespective of
which service he belongs to will have to be given the pay promotion. Presently
an IAS officer gets promoted at the service of 17 years and the others two
thus evolved promotes every one through the back door whether they deserve
promotion or not. Hence in these services the system of Annual Confidential
Reports is a joke and serves no purpose. The hoax is, in these services
individuals can be promoted even without a vacancy being available or even when
the individual is holding an appointment tenable by a lower ranked officer.
This whole sale promotion system with total disregard to authorised
establishment and number of vacancies specified in each rank passes the
scrutiny of the finance while in the Defence Services even if a Sepoy is
promoted Naik it is struck down. The rule is, you show the man and we will tell
you the law.
OROP issue be resolved by stating that the pension of the officer will be as
per the entitlement of the officer or the pension which the officer of the same
rank and service gets whichever is higher? In this case the calculation and the
estimation of the cost to exchequer too would be simple as the date of commission,
date of retirement and rank of the officers are available in respect of every
pensioner and family pensioner in the Pensions Payment Order (PPO). The pension
and the family pension being paid to the present retirees and widows too are in
black and white and are being implemented presently. It will then just be, the
transplanting the figures of the present retirees to the older ones.
contains only rank at the time of retirement, date of joining the service and
date of retirement and qualifying service. So pensions are worked out based on
rank and total length of service. If the Government of India introduces one
more criterion of SERVICE IN LAST RANK, a data which is not available, the
implementation will never take place. This diversion is yet again a means to
confuse the issue and put everyone in circles, a usual methodology of the
Principle Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) will not pay the veterans till
such time authentic data is provided to them and that cannot be made available.
There would be many court cases on this issue as this violates the definition
of OROP as given out by the minister of state of defence in a written reply to
a query in the Parliament.
As per the 5thCentral Pay Commission (CPC) scale,
the difference in pension for every year’s delayed promotion for a Colonel
retired in 1996 but before January 2006 (Maximum number of officers retire at
the rank of Colonel) in the scale of Rs 15,100 – 450 – 17, 350 is mere Rs 225.
The difference will be much less in case of officers who retired earlier. As
brought out earlier, for a difference of 3 years in the date of promotion the
extra amount will be about Rs 675. Is it too much for a Veteran who gave his
best days for the country?
minister, it is hoped is aware that like in the case officers, there are a
number of groups in the Junior Commissioned officers and other ranks. For
example take the case of Infantry. The Rajputana Rifles Regiment has 23
Infantry Battalions. Promotions are based on the number of vacancies available
in a battalion. There are number of cases where a Sepoy in one battalion gets promoted
as Naik in say 10 years and in another battalion of the same Regiment a Sepoy
gets promoted at 12 years due to lack of vacancies in that battalion. In the
Regiment of Artillery you have more complications. There are many trades such
as Gunner, Surveyor, Radio Operator, Driver, Clerk, Store keeper etc. The
vacancies are fixed in each of these trades and therefore promotions of Sepoys
(called Gunners) are dependent on wastages, which is retirement. So you
generally find that in one particular trade a Sepoy becomes a Naik with 8 years
of service and in another he becomes a Naik at 11 years of service. The pay
scales of each of these groups are different. Are we going to keep calculating
the pension of each of these groups for different number of years of service
rank and trade separately? If that were to happen, this exercise cannot be
completed in even in 10 years considering the speed at which the bureaucracy
moves. Are we creating these confusions deliberately?
isn’t this the first time that anyone has heard someone from the government
saying that the deadline is July 2015, thus shifting the goal post from ‘before
the budget’ to a later date? What is the intention? Is it to drag the
implementation close to the 7thCPC and palm off the issue to them to
decide and thus cause further delay? Is it going to be something similar to the
way the government paid arrears to Sam Manekshaw just a few days before his
death? The minister needs to understand that the veterans are an aging
community. Many of those covered under the 5thCPC and
earlier are in their advanced age.
bizarre thing that he stated was the total expenditure on account of OROP. His
estimation ranged from Rs 6000 crores to Rs 14000 crores. If the bureaucrats of
the government had not been able to calculate the total cost to the government
in 11 months, in fact this exercise would have started much before the
erstwhile finance minister Chidambaram announced OROP in the Parliament, these
officers have no business to stay put in their jobs. The government might have
changed but the bureaucrats are the same. Or is this once again a tool to delay
minister sang yet another old, out of tune song – the ‘bureaucrats may demand
OROP’. This is an issue which was thrashed out thread bear in the Koshiyari
Committee report and someone is trying to infiltrate this issue into the
implementation process once again. The demand for OROP arises because defence
services personnel retire much earlier than their counter parts in the civil.
An individual retiring earlier will be in receipt of much lesser pay at the
time of his retirement than his counterpart who retires at the age of 60.
Accordingly, his pension which is 50 % of his last pay drawn is much lesser
than the pension of the other. This is besides the huge loss to his overall
life time income due to early retirement. The retirement benefits which a
soldier receives at the time of his retirement too are much less than his
counter parts based on his last pay drawn. The families of the soldiers too are
affected in this system. The widows of soldiers receive 50 % of the pension of
their husbands as their family pension whereas the families of the civil
services receive much higher family pensions. These are despite the fact that
the soldier serves under much difficult conditions with risks to his life and
government is prepared to pay the difference in the overall life time income
due to early retirement including the value of perks, increments, dearness
allowance promotion pay, gratuity, leave encashment etc. between the civil
service and the defence services personnel; there would be no need for OROP.
The choice is entirely up to the government.
the defence minister spoke during his interview, it is apparent that efforts
are underway to confuse the issue and put everyone in a spin, delay and dilute
the OROP scheme, a typical tactic of the bureaucracy to ward off something that
they do not want to implement.
government which has been talking about good governance lost a great
opportunity to demonstrate its resolve in the matter by not acting to withdraw
the 800 odd appeals filed by the ministry of defence against its own disabled
soldiers against the judgments pronounced by various courts. The Supreme Court
instead stepped in during the hearing on December 10, 2014, to set aside the
appeals of the government. If this delay in granting OROP is eroding the good
will of the soldiering community and creating doubts on the ability of the government
to reign in the bureaucrats and bring about good governance in the minds of the
people, the onus would lie entirely on the bureaucracy.
thanks to Brigadier Sivasankar Vidyasagar (Retired) for his very valuable
: Views expressed above are the author's own.
Brigadier (retd) V Mahalingam, has held varying command and staff appointments in his 35 years of Army service. He specializes in security related matters and is a leadership trainer. His areas of interest include national security, defence and security forces, governance, and politics.