Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bureaucrats and IESL convolute OROP: Politicians remain confused

All India Ex-Services Welfare Association
Lt Col Inderjit Singh (Retd).
Member: Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India.

Dear Chander,
I read with much concern the way opinions are being expressed on the definition of OROP. My humble appeal to all the wise men please do not confuse the entire matter by expressing different definitions of the OROP. Well I will give you the definition which was evolved while working out the concept and understanding its intricacies and effects, while also taking into consideration the shenanigans of the bureaucracy for scuttling this issue. It is all pervading and has stood the test of times and is accepted in the official circles also. Well here it is...

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

Perhaps you would recall that in my earlier mail, to Mr Sehrawat, i narrated how i got the high level empowered committee appointed in Sep 1991. After my heated exchanges with the RM in his parliament office, he realized that I was talking sense. He then besides requesting me to put up to him a paper about our discussions in two hours time but also desired that I should meet him in his office on subsequent Monday morning so that if there was any clarification necessary he could speak to me before going and making a statement in Parliament.

After my meeting he had another meeting with the bureaucrats on the subject, where he wanted to discuss my projections. The bureaucrats after seeing my paper misled the RM especially about the expenditure involved by including the cost for paying DCRG and additional commutation value. The last two sentences of the definition above in green were added after this meeting so that leadership could not be misled by them in future.

When I landed in his office and met him, his attitude was again very hostile. As soon as I sat down he shot a question to me.

RM: why should we give you pensionary benefits at new rates. We gave you pensionary benefits at old rates when you retired. With that you made your houses, educated your children, and married them off all at old rates. Since you have already met all your family obligations at old rates why should you be given pensionary benefits at new rates?

Self: You are very right Mr Pawar. You gave us pensionary benefits at old rates. With that we built our houses, educated our children. and then married them off all at old rates. We are not seeking from you the pensionary benefits at new rates, we are seeking monthly pensions at new rates, which is for our survival and not meeting family obligations. This is because when we go to market for buying our requirements, the shop keeper does not look up at us to say oh you are old pensioners, I would therefore charge you less. I have to pay the same rates as new pensioner, I therefore should get the same pension as new pensioner.

The RM thanked me for clarifying his doubts, went to the Parliament and announced the HLEC of which i was made a member. This committee was very inclined to give OROP, but for the very bad economic situation, where we had to send our gold to UK to run the country, could not take the final leap. i was however able to work up a deal which took us almost there. The deal of one time increase (oti) by which the gap of new and old pensioner was reduced ranging from Rs 10 to 46.

I hope after this, the argument about the definition would come to an end and our wise friends would stick to this definition and not concoct fresh ones and offer a convenient handle to the bureaucrats to confuse the issue before scuttling it again.

I have just read Gen RN Radhakrishanan mail which he must have taken great pains to write for our benefit. All his questions are answered by this definition. There is no point in wasting time on going through all the rigmarole stated by him as you would notice from what I narrate below.

When we went on hunger strike in 1990, the next day I was called by the PM Mr VP Singh for a meeting on this matter. The earlier one I took up when he was the defense minister in 1987. he had been totally misled by the bureaucrats. When i met him, the first thing he told me was that old records were not available, they were therefore finding it difficult to give OROP. I told him that his bureaucrats were totally misleading him. All records were available with DPDOS, if not there with the CDA, if not there also then with Record Offices. In any case what do we require for working out OROP, the rank, the length of service and for JCOs, NCOs ans Sepoys, the trade also in which they served. these were all available in the discharge books. He was stunned to hear this.

Then he said that many difficulties were coming up for working out officers pensions. I told him that working out officers pensions was even more easy. Supposing you want to work out the pension of an earlier Major with 28 years service, all that is needed is that you work out what will be the current pension of a Major with 28 years and give it to the earlier pensioner. He was again taken aback and promised to do something about this matter. He went back on his promise that is a different matter. He was misled by our great IESL into giving one time ad hoc increase. This we termed as betrayal of our trust by the PM. The great IESL branded it as OROP. If any body wants to see it I can post the paper clippings of these statements i.e. ours as well as that of IESL.

Best wishes and regards,
Lt Col Inderjit Singh
All india Ex Services Welfare Association

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