Wednesday, June 17, 2009

OROP by Lt Col Inderjit Singh

The email ID of Col Indirjit Singh is - ijsingh34@hotmail.com and his phone numbers are - 91-11-24675078, 26110710

Dear Friends,

Jai Hind.

An email received from Lt Col Inderjit Singh, Chairman All India Ex-Services Welfare Association, is reproduced below.

The email ID of Col Indirjit Singh is - ijsingh34@hotmail.com and his phone numbers are - 91-11-24675078, 26110710.
If you wish to have any further clarifications or discussions with Col Inderjit or any one else about the contents of the email below, PLEASE send your email direct to Col Inderjit or the concerned person. PLEASE DO NOT ENDORSE COPIES OF YOUR EMAILS ON THIS SUBJECT, RELATED TO THIS EMAIL, TO ME.
In Service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.
------------
From: Inderjit Singh
To: csk551@dataone.in ; TRUNCATED

Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 4:18 PM
Subject: OROP

ALL INDIA EX-SERVICES WELFARE ASSOCIATION
Dear Friend,

I suddenly got a call from Brig. R. K. Gulia for attending a meeting at the IESL Headquarter on 15 June 2009 at 1130hrs. He said that was the meeting of the Committee appointed by the MOD for ex-servicemen. Incidentally this Committee is the result of our efforts about which the Honble Raksha Mantri ji confirmed to me through his DO letter dated 16 Feb. 2009. I went there as I am always prepared to go and help the cause of ex-servicemen.

2. I went their and to my horror I found it was his own meeting in which he had invited some people to spread falsehood about achievements of his IESL. Basically these were points which the whole world acknowledges that these materialized only through our efforts.

3. If that was not bad enough, they came out with a paper produced with their half-baked knowledge which they as a Committee were going to present to the Government. This paper had been produced, as per their assertion, by incorporating views of all Organizations except our Association. The Association which has transformed the Govt thinking over the past 30 years and got you many things was not considered necessary for consideration.

4. Obliviously without our inputs they have produced a disastrous paper which would nullify all our efforts to bring the Govt to do the needful. While we struggle to get you your dues the IESL colludes with vested interests to scuttle our submissions and curry for personal gains. This exercise to bridge the gap is merely to scuttle OROP by working out a half-backed solution. When we then go to the Govt we will be confronted by their recommendations which would obviously have come from a representative ex-servicemen body. I appeal to you all to kindly reject it and tell them to pack up.

5. We have got a paper ready which will be presented to the powers that be and not to the self-styled representatives of the ex-servicemen. This paper I had brought with me to give to the Committee. When I found it was an IESL tamasha. I brought it back as with them it was waste of time and energy.

6. You are all invited to come and take part in this gigantic exercise. Read on our papers one by one and then come and join for signing. We will send this jointly to the authorities.


With warm wishes,

Sincerely,

Lt Col Inderjit Singh (Retd)
Chairman (ALL INDIA EX-SERVICES WELFARE ASSOCIATION)

............
(PRESENTATION ON OROP DATED 15.06.2009)
To,

The Govt Committee
For Ex-servicemen Problems
Ministry of Defence
New Delhi

SUB :- PRESENTATION ON OROP

Dear Sir,

We are grateful that we have been invited to make a presentation to you on OROP.

2. We hope after the presentation the Committee like all previous Committees would realize the folly of delaying the solution to the single most important problem and give the award in our favour.

3. We enclose our paper giving all the details. We hope this will help you in arriving at the right conclusions.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,



Lt Col Inderjit Singh (Retd)
Chairman
..............

ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP)

GENERAL

Definition

1. Before we try to find a solution to this simplest problem which has been made out as the most complicated and dreadful one, we should know what it actually is. I was the one who first took it up way back in 1982 and as per the objections raised from time to time, modified it to meet all these. The final definition for which no modifications are required is as follows:-

‘Pre 01 Jan. 2006 retirees got the same rates of pension as post 01 Jan. 2006 retirees, by matching up the three factors that govern the pensions of ex-servicemen i.e. rank, length of service and the trade (in case of all ranks below officers ranks only). After this was effected, any future increases be automatically applied to old pensioners. The family, dependents and disability pensions are included for the purposes of this definition. This however definitely does not mean the grant of pensionary benefits such as DCRG and additional value of commutation pension’.

2. Gentlemen we were seeking OROP, the Sixth Pay Commission, from One Rank Two Pensions (ORTP) prior to their award has improved by making it One Rank Four Pensions (ORFP). Further they have by their award saved us from the problem of having to match the factors that governed our pensions.

3. They even changed the rule sanctified by V CPC for bringing all previous pensioners to the minimum rates of the Sixth CPC to our disadvantage. Further they have changed the name of Rank Pay into Grade Pay and sanction it for themselves too. With this they while bringing themselves at par with us for Rank Pay, have also attempted to shut us up for OROP.

Attitudinal Change

4. We have been seeking OROP ever since 1982. We have had very many Committees of the Govt and Parliament recommending very strongly that this be given to the ex-servicemen. Despite that this problem lingers on. Why ? We, especially the Bureaucrats need to do a soul-searching. My observations over the years are that unless there is an attitudinal change in the Bureaucracy nothing can be done. I do believe that this elite Committee are ready to exercise a positive approach to this problem and not go all out to find ways to complicate this simple issue so much that no further Committee ever dares to touch this issue up again ?

Other Countries

5. The leadership of the strongest Nation i.e. US and the tiniest Nation Singapore very proudly say that they would give the best to the people who do the most difficult job for the Nation. The Armed Forces are the one who do that and they will get the best tangible and non tangible benefits from the grateful Nation.

6. The United States give OROP to the Armed Forces and not to civilians. They however call it 100% protection against inflation for pay and pensions. Benefits given by them are shown in the table below:-

TABLE:: PROVISIONS FOR FEDERAL CIVILIAN AND MILITARY SYSTEMS IN USA

Provision Average Civilian System Military System

a. Retirement Average Highest of last 3 years pay Terminal Basic Pay

b. Pension Begin (i) 55 years age or over with Upon retirement with more
at least 30 years service or more than 20 years of service
(ii) 60 years age or over with 20 years of service or more
(iii ) 62 years age or over with 5 years of service or more

c. Rate of Pension 33.75% of not the last pay 50 % of the last pay drawn
drawn but average of last 3 years pay

d. Maximum pension 60 % of the average of last pay drawn 75% of the last pay drawn. admissible But they are required to contribute They do not have to
4 to 7 % of their salary contribute any thing
towards pension fund

e. Inflation Pensions are not protected Pensions fully protected against inflation against inflation


7. What happens in our Country? In times of calamity, whether it is man made or otherwise, the hell is squeezed out of the Armed Forces and after the job is done, our grateful Nation wants to hang them up to the nearest pole till they are dead.

8. This attitude has to change to working out the best always for the Armed Forces ? Rather than stating ‘the soldiers knew the terms of engagement, if they did not like these why did they join the Armed Forces’. If the attitude changes, there is no dearth of political support to this matter as would be known from the recommendations of various Committees I will be talking about.

CONSIDERATION OF OROP

9. A number of times over the past twenty seven years, after we presented this Concept, we managed to force the Government into looking into this matter more seriously. Many major exercises were done. Every report emphasised strongly its implementation. The comments of these committees are given in succeeding paragraphs.

10. Estimates Committee 1980-81. The Estimates Committee 1980-81 (Seventh Lok Sabha, Fifteenth Report on Resettlement of Ex-servicemen) observed as given in succeeding paragraphs.

11. The Committee find that disparity in pensions is perhaps the most annoying of the problems that is agitating the minds of Ex-Servicemen. The Ministry have admitted that a Major General who might have retired in 1953 gets less pension than even a Major who retired in 1979. The Committee take note of the explanations given by the Ministry that the employee’s retiral benefits are determined with reference to rules in force on the date of retirement. Liberalisation in retirement benefits is made effective only from a prospective date and not from a retrospective date. In order, however, to narrow the disparity between the pensions admissible to old and new pensioners, the Government, it is stated, have granted ad hoc relief.

12. The Committee cannot be oblivious of the heartburning that the disparity in pensions would be causing to Ex-Servicemen. It is natural in the present day society in which rank structure implies differentials in emoluments and this is as valid before retirement as afterwards. The Committee appreciates the limitations placed by the general pension policy on the Defence Ministry which are otherwise fully conscious of the inequality that has resulted from this policy. This issue is like a thorn in the flesh of Ex-Servicemen and this ‘Thorn’ freshens and deepens the wound almost every month when an ex-serviceman who had senior appointment in the Armed Forces is chagrined to find that his pension packet is woefully lower than that of an ex-serviceman who was many grades junior to him. In the Armed Forces the pensions are in most cases fixed with reference to the rank held and not as done in the civil side, with reference to the pay drawn during the last year. Seen against this background what an ex-serviceman desires is that pension after retirement should remain related to ranks just as the pension and pay were related to rank before retirement. It is an extension of the well established pre-retirement principle to post-retirement period on a continuing basis. The Committee has gone into this matter. They strongly feel that disparity in pension is inequitable and unfair and there is no justification to perpetuate it particularly among ex-servicemen where rank structure have always been the principle determinant of emoluments, perks and privileges. The Committee recommended that this matter should be examined with a fresh approach as above and just solution found to end the disparity in pensions to the satisfaction of large body of ex-servicemen.

13. High Level Committee. The second such exercise was done way back in 1984 when the Government accepted our proposal to appoint a High Level Committee headed by Sh K P Singh Deo the then Minister of State for Defence. This Committee made the following recommendations:-
‘Ex-servicemen throughout the country have raised this point very emphatically. They are of the view that a Defence Forces pensioner irrespective of the date of his retirement should get the same pension as another pensioner who retired later for the same rank and the same length of service. Whenever, pensions are revised the same should be applicable automatically and with prospective effect to existing pensioners. Similarly, other kinds of pensions like family pension, special family pension, widows pension and so on, whenever revised should again be automatically applicable to older cases, in the light of principle which has been already established with respect to the pensions of High Court and Supreme Court Judges. This proposal is indeed worth consideration’.
14. Although the High Level Committee recommended its consideration, no effort was made to examine the matter seriously till six Members of our Association went on indefinite fast in 1987. A number of meetings with the leadership were held thereafter. As a result of this superhuman effort a number of serious exercises were undertaken by the Government but without any end result.

15. Jafa Committee. In 1989 the Government changed. The new Prime Minister appointed Jafa Committee to implement his promise of ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) for ex-servicemen. This Committee did every thing to scuttle this Concept rather than find ways and means to implement it. This Committee could not complete its recommendations due to lack of unanimity. The Bureaucrats however worked out an Ad hoc increase and tried to force it down on the ex-servicemen in Oct 90. The ex-servicemen termed it as “Betrayal of their Trust” and rejected it.

16. The half truths and lies trotted out by this Committee are being utilized by the Bureaucrats to mislead the leadership in denying the ex-servicemen the grant of this One Rank One Pension.

17. High Level Empowered Committee (HLEC). As soon as the government changed in 1991, series of representations were made to the leadership. As a result of these representations the Government announced the appointment of a High Level Empowered Committee for improving the pensions of ex-servicemen. The Committee would have liked to work on OROP, but were inhibited by the serious resource crunch that the Nation was facing at that time. They had however seen the merits of this Concept and therefore did not make any mention of it in their Report to ensure that its future consideration was not affected in any manner.

18. Inspite of the financial constraints and despite all the efforts by Bureaucrats to scuttle this effort, the High Level Empowered Committee worked out a reasonable award on 28 Dec 91.

19. The award had to be interpreted into a Government Order by the Bureaucrats for its implementation. They produced a Government Order vide their letter No 1(2)92/d(pension/Services) of 16 Mar 92. What these Bureaucrats could not achieve in the HLEC, they managed to achieve through the Government Order. They scuttled all the good work of the Committee through this order denying One Time Increase award to majority of ex-servicemen.

20. The matter was brought to the notice of the leadership who appointed another Committee for removing the anomalies in the earlier Government Order. This Committee after two years of deliberations produced an order creating even more obnoxious anomalies. These were finally got rectified through the V CPC.

RECENT INITIATIVES


Standing Committee on Defence

21. We had made presentation to the Defence Committee of the Parliament on 28 Apr. 2003. Based on our presentation the Standing Committee made a strong recommendation to the Govt. on One Rank One Pension (OROP).

22. The MOD submitted an Action Taken Report to the Committee virtually telling them that their recommendation could not be accepted. True to their reputation and designs of denying the ex-servicemen their rightful dues, the bureaucrats did not stint at misleading the Standing Committee of the Parliament. They spoke blatant lies to scuttle this initiative also. Unfortunately for them their lies were recorded and became public through parliamentary documents. We brought these to the notice of the Standing Committee. Based on our submissions the Committee rejected the Action Taken Report of the MOD and forcefully asked the Govt. to do the little act in compensation for the sacrifices made by soldiers. Some of their quotes are given below:-
a) ‘The Nation must repay its debt to those defendants of the motherland with gratitude and humility. We should, instead of, looking for precedents in this regard, create precedents for the others to emulate. Any amount paid in this regard will be small token of our gratitude to them’. (Twentieth Report on Welfare of Servicemen and Ex-servicemen – Aug 2003.
b) ‘The committee are disappointed at the report of the Inter-Ministerial committee constituted to examine the feasibility of application of the long pending demand of ‘One Rank One Pension’ for the ex-servicemen. The committee do not concur with the findings of the Inter-Ministerial committee that bringing into force of the proposal would entail numerous administrative, financial and legal implications as well as repercussions on the civil side’. (Fourth Report – Apr 2005)
23. As a result the Govt. appointed a Group of Ministers Committee (GOM) to examine these
problems.

GOM Award

24. The GoM announced its award on 25 Jan 2006, with this award they had brought all pre 1.1.1996 PBORs retirees to the maximum scale of the fifth CPC award. They had however not given the latest rates given on 10 Oct 1997. This meant that One Rank One Pension had not been given. Further they had not given even a penny to officers. The family pensioners and some more categories had also been left out of this award. The major shortcomings were as follows:-
(a) Full One Rank One Pension (OROP). The UPA in the CMP who committed to giving this to ex-servicemen. Full OROP meant the leveling off with the latest pensions of soldiers which were awarded on 10 Oct 1997. The GOM had given the maximum of Fifth Pay Commission award. It was therefore not OROP.
(b) Family Pensioners. The notification specifically denied the award to the families. In the absence of such a statement the families would have got the increase automatically after the husbands pensions were increased as their family pension is 60% of the husband’s pensions. It is the greatest injustice.
(c ) Officers Pension. The Officers had not been given even a penny. It was tragic that the officers who made the Army what it was - a strong Fighting Force – had been ignored. Bringing about the possibility of reverting to pre 1998 situation when a Sub Major got more pension than pre 1986 Lt Col. How could that be allowed to happen again ?
(d) Others. Many more categories had been denied the benefit. This is one of the techniques the bureaucracy employs to deny us our rightful dues. First they create anomalies and then use these for denying more things.

25. After this award the situation as it prevailed was that PBOR of the Armed Forces were having full parity with V CPC rates where as civilians continued to be on modified parity granted by V CPC. Officers of the Armed Forces were not given anything so they also were on modified parity.

26. A precedent of giving full parity with Pay Commission rates to Armed Forces had been set. All that is needed is to maintain it. To rectify the short fall of that award, the officers also to be brought on full parity.

WHY EX-SERVICEMEN SHOULD GET OROP

27. The Armed Forces deserve to get OROP for the following reasons: -
(a) Soldiers can not serve up to the age of 60 years, where as their civilian
counterparts can.
(b) A Soldier retires around the age of 35 years. The effect of inflation on their pensions over a long period is disastrous.
(c) The Sacrifices they make for the Nation, they deserve to get better deals for pay and pensions.
(d) Sh. K. P. Singh Deo, High Level Committee of 1984 strongly recommended that OROP be given.
(e) Presidential commitment to the Joint Session of Parliament in Dec 1989.
(f) Strong recommendations of the Standing Committee on Defence of the Parliament after rejecting the blatant lies of the Action Taken Report of the MOD in Apr 2005 and again in their Sixteenth Report on 30 Apr. 2007.
(g) Commitment of over 450 Hon’ble Members of Parliament through their Party’s Election Manifestoes given at one time or the other.

RECOMMENDATIONS

28. The ex-servicemen’s long standing demand of One Rank One Pension should be granted without any conditions and also applied to all pensioners including officers without exception. Its grant does not need any complicated theories. All that is required is to follow the principles of the Award given by Group of Ministers on 25 Jan 2006 which means granting the old retirees the maximum of the rank that has been awarded by the Sixth Pay Commission by matching up the three factors that govern our pensions.

29. If there is any difficulty in implementation we are prepared to help the Govt in finding a way out.

CONCLUSION

30. The efforts of the vested interests to deny ex-servicemen their rightful dues of ONE RANK ONE PENSION by any means can well be gauged from the submissions made above.

31 It may be seen that these vested interests have not stopped at anything to achieve their objective. They spread misinformation and when that did not work, disinformation was resorted to. When all else failed they tried to achieve their objective by suppression of information.

32. We emphatically state that ONE RANK ONE PENSION is a definite Concept which is easily implementable. Its acceptance would for all times lay down definite rules which the vested interests would not be able to distort or misinterpret to reduce the ex-servicemen community to beggars. The vested interests would not be able to issue dictats every now and then to reduce every exercise of revising pensions of ex-servicemen to a mockery, a play ground for testing their ability to disseminate falsehood and taking away already granted facilities rather than improve upon these. Above all it would save the future Pay Commissions for all times all the efforts, that is normally required for finalizing the pensions.

33. Ours in the only Nation where the Soldiers not only operate in the most difficult terrains such as Siachin Glacier, but also are called out for every natural or even more hazardous man made disasters every now and then. The beauty is that they have always done the Nation proud. It is here again only, that the Armed Forces are the poorest paid and reduced to beggars. The time has now come when the Nation has to pay back for their services by making theirs the elite service once again as was prevalent prior to 1953.

34. The panacea for all this is ONE RANK ONE PENSION. We have struggled for it for the past almost 30 years. No diluting of this concept will be acceptable. In the past 30 years we have always got everything through the Govt of the Ruling Party only. It is in the fitness of the things that the credit for solving this single most important problem goes to the present Govt. We would look forward to it.

(PAPER SUBMISSION TO THE STANDING COMMITTEE REGARDING OROP DATED 15.06.2009)

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