AFTER ACTION REPORT: EX-SERVICEMEN RALLY AT BENGALURU ON SUNDAY, 14 MARCH 2010
1. An EX-SERVICEMEN RALLY was held at Bengaluru on Sunday, 14 March 2010; whereat, 250 Ex-Servicemen led by Veteran Rear Admiral BR Vasanth, Brig JS Narasimhan, Brig Sudandiram and Brig B Chandrashekar signed in Blood, a Memorandum addressed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, in support of their demand for grant of MILITARY PENSION by way of ONE RANK, ONE PENSION.
2. ‘One Rank One Pension’ implies that uniform pension be paid to 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 the past pensioners. Military Service is UNIQUE, with a highly demanding 24 by 7 work culture under hostile environments; and secondly, Military Service is the only Service wherein a Jawan is bundled out at the young age of 35, when he has a wife, two small children, unmarried sisters & parents to be taken care of; without the STATE bothering to give him an alternative employment. It is absolutely callous. A young man who joins Govt. service in civil as a LDC or a Police constable; serves comfortably till the age of 60 years and retires in a much higher position with a good amount as pension. Not so in the case of a Jawan. 85% of the Sepoys retire as Sepoys only after 15 years service. Most civilians who retire at 60, would live to see only one Pay Commission after retirement, considering their longevity to be 70-75 years and may be a few, two pay commissions; but a Sepoy would live to see nothing less than four Pay Commissions after retirement. ‘ONE RANK, ONE PENSION’ is equally applicable to Officers, as bulk (85%) retire in the rank of Colonel, at the age of 54 years; thus losing out on pay for six years & enhanced pensionary benefits. It is the older pensioners of the Army, Navy & Air Force who are the worst sufferers. It is not only the serving soldier that the STATE is duty bound to take care of; but also the Veterans who have sacrificed their youth in service of the Nation with no other thought but, DUTY, HONOUR and COUNTRY.
3. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, comprising 44 eminent Members of Parliament, had in their Report to Lok Sabha on 19 Aug 2003, strongly recommended the grant of ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP) to Ex-Servicemen. Para 99 of the said Report is reproduced below:
“The Committee has been recommending grant of `ONE RANK ONE PENSION’ to the armed forces personnel time and again. The Committee observes that successive Governments and Pay Commissions have made improvements in the pension structure keeping in view the cost of living index. This has accentuated the disparity of pensionary benefits between pensioners of the same rank. The older pensioners who have become infirm in ability and capability and burdened with a larger social obligation receive pension calculated at the rate of pay at the time of their retirement in 1950s or 1960s or 1970s, which is quite paltry and the Dearness Relief quite inconsequential in today’s context of inflation and shrinking purchasing value of money. The nation must repay its debt to those Defendents 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 would be small token of our gratitude to them. The Committee, therefore, once again reiterates their earlier recommendation for providing `ONE RANK ONE PENSION’ to the armed forces personnel”.
4. The Ex-Servicemen in their Memorandum addressed to the Hon’ble Prime minister have requested convening of a JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE [JPC] by 15 Apr 2010, to study the subject matter in its entirety and submit its Report within sixty days (ie. by 15 Jun 2010).
5. Col Rajan, the IESM Convenor said that the Memorandum is being signed by Ex-Servicemen in their own BLOOD, to impress upon the Hon’ble Prime Minister that Ex-Servicemen are indeed anguished & pained; and to request him to initiate immediate steps to ameliorate their problems of Pension and Re-settlement. The Ex-Servicemen in their Memorandum addressed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister have clearly stated that that in case their request for amelioration of our problems relating to Pension and Resettlement are not suitably addressed, the Ex-Servicemen, all over the Country, will be forced to further intensify their struggle; and the next and final step would be to launch a nation wide Satyagraha, undertaking FAST UNTO DEATH, commencing on 02 Oct 2010.
EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE
I hereby thank and express my gratitude to Brig Parthasarathy for being kind to cover the event and post the photographs.