oppn parties OROP Should be Implemented Without Delay

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  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
OROP Should be Implemented Without Delay

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-25 15:50:08

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
In 2011, the Koshyari Committee on OROP said it "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.” It further clarified that the concept includes "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. In armed forces, equality in service has two components, namely, rank and length of service. The importance of rank is inherent in armed forces as it has been granted by the President of India and signifies command, control and responsibility in consonance with ethos of service. These ranks are even allowed to be retained by the individual concerned after his/her retirement. Hence, two armed personnel in the same rank and equal length of service should get same pension irrespective of date of retirement and any future enhancement in rates of pension be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.”

OROP was in force in India till 1973. That year, the government of Indira Gandhi surprisingly chose to terminate it following the Third Pay Commission. This was the prize the Armed Forces got for fighting valiantly and winning the 1971 war with Pakistan. It caused a lot of disquiet in the Armed Forces and veterans staged public protests. Several things demanded in OROP are in force even now. Every time a new Pay Commission recommendation is implemented, pensions rise as per half of the lower end of revised pay scale. Hence, future enhancements are being passed on.

But the problem escalated when the Sixth Pay Commission chose to club several ranks in a single pay scale. It did not consider the fact that defence forces have more ranks than civilian services and that they will suffer. It clubbed seven ranks into just two pay scales. This will work for the defence forces and has to be reversed. The defence forces should have pay grades based on ranks. Any future Pay Commission should have representation from retired senior Armed Forces personnel to decide pay revision as per restored grading by rank as civilians do not understand the importance of ranks in the Forces. Or better still; a separate Defence Pay Commission with appropriate staffing can be constituted.

Successive governments have themselves created a huge problem by choosing to ignore recommendations by several Pay Commission, other committees and best practices followed worldwide â€" that is of lateral absorption of retiring defence personnel in paramilitary, police forces or as defence civilians. Their training makes them eminently suitable for such jobs. Also, if they are so absorbed, the pension bill of the defence forces will also come down drastically.

Defence personnel suffer from two big problems: they retire early and apart from some niche categories, do not find civilian employment opportunities. Hence, to keep morale high, the government should immediately initiate measures to absorb retiring personnel into appropriate wings. It should take into consideration the special needs such personnel and implement OROP without further delay. It made a major mistake by allowing the Delhi police to manhandle veterans at Jantar Mantar on 14th August. To be fair, the veterans were also in the wrong to hold their protest just a day before Independence Day when they knew that the prime minister would address the nation form Red Fort. Also, they were suitably warned to postpone their show till 16th August. Maybe they wanted to put maximum pressure on the government before I-Day. But the fracas was avoidable and should not have been allowed to end in the manner it did.

The excuse that if OROP is implemented, there will be similar demands from paramilitary and civilian personnel does not hold much significance as service rules governing them are completely different. A civilian retiring at 60, or even later if he/she gets an extension, cannot compare himself with a defence personnel retiring at 40 or 50. After all, he is gainfully employed for many more years and retires at a much higher pay scale to avail a higher pension anyway. Civilian bureaucrats should not be allowed to deny Armed Forces personnel their special right that was arbitrarily taken away in 1973. Narendra Modi, after his promise at Rewari, has no excuse to keep postponing the issue.