Monday, December 22, 2014

One rank one pension: Good news on its way

 Posted by: Oneindia Staff Writer Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 15:14 [IST]

For many ex-servicemen the wait has been a long one. Their demand and fight for One Rank One Pension will become a reality soon. 

Sources tell OneIndia that the defence ministry is working over time to ensure that the same is implemented in quick time. Manohar Parrikar, the defence minister of India was recently quoted as saying that the announcement of its implementation would be made in 4 to 8 weeks. 

Significance of OROP 

It is an equal demand for pensions. If an officer has retired last year and there is an increase in the pensions the following year owing to enhancements by the pay commissions then it is implemented only prospectively. Basically if an officer has retired in 1990 in the current scenario he is not entitled for an enhanced pension if the same is implemented during the later years. 

The argument has been that the pension for officers of the same rank should remain the same at all times. This the ex servicemen had demanded as the costs of living was going up and the hike in pensions should benefit all and not just those who have recently retired.

Red tape 

The government has time and again assured the ex servicemen that the OROP will be implemented. It was promised during the elections and even the Prime Minister had said that he was blessed to be the one implementing it. However there are certain teething issues that the government is facing on this front. Several ex servicemen say that they have done the rounds of various offices several times. 

However there has never been any clear response. They also have stated several times that the government or the political class needs to step on the gas pedal to push this issue through. 

Budgetary allocation 

Government sources say that the finance minister had already allocated Rs 1000 crore for the OROP. This itself is an indication that the government is committed to the cause. We agree there have been delays but work is on in full throttle now to dismantle all those bureaucratic hassles which had slowed down the process. 

The government says that unlike the previous regime we will not just make announcements and then forget about it. There are 24 lakh pensioners and all of it has to be taken into consideration. 

There was also a bit of a delay as when the government took over it had appointed one man to handle both defence and finance. However now with the new defence minister taking charge this issue is being exclusively looked into. All bureaucratic hassles have been wiped out and an exclusive team is working on it, sources in the ministry informed.

(Source-One India News)

Read more at: http://www.oneindia.com/feature/one-rank-one-pension-good-news-on-its-way-1594149.html

One Rank One Pension – Decision Expected in 1-2 Months

 

Much to the relief of nearly 25 lakh ex-servicemen, including 12 lakh soldiers who are protecting this sovereign nation, the final decision on the One Rank One Pension demand will be announced in a month or two.
According to reliable sources of information, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar has given the assurance and that steps in this regard have already been taken. The fact that the Ministry is working overtime to enforce this scheme has brought cheers to serving armymen all over the country. They can rest assured that the scheme, which was being talked about for a number of years, will finally be implemented this time.
The Sixth Pay Commission had recommended fitment formula and modified parity for past pensioners, in order to reduce the gaps, which were accepted by the Government. For example, a Sepoy, who retired prior to 1996, gets 82% lower pension than a Sepoy who retires after 2006. Similarly, among officers, a pre-1996 Major gets 53% lower pension than his post 2006 counterpart”. OROP means that every pension-eligible soldier who retires in a particular rank deserves the same pension, irrespective of date of retirement. Currently, soldiers who left the armed forces more recently receive more than those who did earlier, because successive pay commissions hiked salaries.
During his Parliamentary speech, the then Finance Minister Pranabh Mukherjee announced that the scheme would be implemented in July 2009. It was announced that the Government was going to implement the recommendations made by the high level committee led by KM Chandraskehar. The scheme was discussed a number of times, but was never implemented.
With an allocation of Rs. 1000 Crores, while there is pressure to implement the scheme, the government also has to keep in mind the lakhs of former servicemen.
The new Government’s stand in this issue will become clear in another few months.
(Source- 7th CPC News)

New pension scheme for armed forces still on paper

Dalip Singh, NEW DELHI, Dec 20, 2014, DHNS:

Though the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for implementing the one rank-one pension scheme for defence personnel, a working group chaired by the Controller General of Defence Accounts has failed to provide a roadmap for scheme implementation. File Reuters Image

Though the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for implementing the one rank-one pension scheme for defence personnel, a working group chaired by the Controller General of Defence Accounts has failed to provide a roadmap for scheme implementation.

Under the scheme, soldiers of the same rank and same tenure of service are entitled to get same pension, irrespective of the retirement dates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ,in his first visit to the high altitude forward post of Siachen on Deepavali, had told the soldiers that the scheme was an “emotional subject” for him. He had chided the United Progressive Alliance regime for dragging the issue. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised the ex-servicemen the implementation of the scheme during Lok Sabha elections. A parliamentary standing committee on defence, headed by veteran BJP leader B C Khanduri, has suggested roping in an Indian Institute of Management for conducting a study to suggest measures for welfare of the ex-servicemen. The parliamentary panel, that scrutinised the defence ministry’s budget for 2014-2015, will submit its report on Monday.

Though a working group under the chairmanship of Controller General of Defence Accounts was constituted for examining a proposal submitted by the services, it failed to arrive at any consensus on the modalities.

The Defence Ministry has already missed the April deadline to implement the programme that would help attract youth to join forces. 

Former finance minister P Chidambaram, in his interim budget presented before Parliament in February, had announced the decision to implement the scheme and allocated Rs 500 crore.The budgetary allocation later was revised by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to Rs 1,000 core for this fiscal year.

The standing committee on defence is also believed to have expressed its displeasure with the Department of Ex-servicemen’s Welfare for being insensitive towards ex-servicemen. The panel members were miffed to know that the department does not have a clear database of skilled servicemen though appreciated that the ministry was trying to reach out to corporate representative bodies for their employment. Of the 34,364 retired personnel registered with directorate general of resettlement and its affiliates in states last year, only 14,320 got employment available for resettlement of former officers and ‘persons below officers rank’.

These personnel are recruited against quota earmarked for them but they do not get any seniority or salary drawn by them in armed forces.  

The panel is learnt to have suggested that defence personnel’s seniority post recruitment in paramilitary forces should be protected.

(Source- Deccan Herald)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Vijay Diwas – A nation’s unpaid debts to its fallen warriors by

27 Dec 2014 - Jay Bhattacharjee

As the three Services chiefs and the Defence Minister paid their homage early yesterday morning at Delhi’s India Gate to the country’s soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the 1971 war, every Indian would have been moved by the dignity and solemnity of the ceremony. The immaculately fine-tuned event was performed with the care, finesse, and precision that only our armed forces bring to each and every task that the nation gives them.
Vijay Diwas is the day when the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ was presented by Lt Gen AK Niazi, C-in-C of Pakistan Army in East Pakistan before Lt Gen JS Arora, GOC-in-C Eastern Command of the Indian Army at Dacca (now ,Dhaka) with a request to accept it. Gen JS Arora, accepted history’s greatest military surrender post World War II on December 16, 1971.
Even at this stage of my life, I get goose pimples when I see how our armed forces pay their respects to the nation and to their own fallen comrades. It is the same when I hear Vande Mataram andJana Gana Mana when they are rendered with the appropriate dedication on any occasion. This is not blind nationalism; it is the primordial sentiment that any human being feels for his near and dear ones. The concept of the “nation-state” has, of course, been derided in the last century and a half by many rootless cosmopolitans ; yes, mindless nationalism has been the cause of many conflicts and problems in recent times, but there is a higher and infinitely purer form of attachment to one’s own civilisational and cultural roots. This is what I subscribe to.
This is what the 16th December events signify for people who share my ethos. Yet, there is also a deep sense of unease that the magnificent remembrance ceremonies for our fallen warriors are still being held at a structure that was erected by our former colonial masters, however impressive that building may be. For nearly 70 years after independence, we Indians have failed to construct a National War Memorial (NWM) where such events should be commemorated. Every now and then, I have heard the netas and the babus promising a NWM at the earliest, but such promises have been routinely forgotten as easily as they were trotted out.

Worse, the excuses that have been made for not building the NWM are so egregious and over-the-top that I have often wondered whether we deserve to have one of the finest military forces in the world. Easily one of the worst  subterfuges attempted was by the former Delhi politico Sheila Dikshit, who pontificatedthat building the NWM near the India Gate would affect the  ambience of the area and restrict people’s movement at the popular hangout zone”. If this doesn’t call for “righteous wrath”, nothing will.
There are some signs of future solace on this front. According to credible but unconfirmed reports, the Union Government has agreed, in principle, to construct a National War Memorial at the Chhatri next to India Gate, as also a War Museum nearby. This is the culmination of years of dedicated effort by former soldiers and admirers of the armed forces. Yet, I will not be assured until there is a categorical official declaration on this subject. The desi babus and netas have, in the past, sabotaged countless decisions that were laudable and desirable, for me to be complacent about this one.



This brings me to the sad and deplorable topic of how the Indian political-bureaucratic establishment has treated our armed forces and our warriors for decades, even after they have saved our bacon on every occasion that we have sought their help. The sheer brazenness of the egregious conduct of the babu-neta combine will take your breath away. For the last five decades, the political-bureaucratic combine has done everything possible to undermine the status and morale of the armed forces. Yet, it is to the same armed forces that they have turned to, when the nation was in peril. Whether it is Kargil or the Uttarakhand floods, or the latest J & K natural calamity, the civilian apparatus has sought the succour of the men and women in olive-green, blue and white. But when it came to giving them their legal dues, this same bunch used every trick known to the human mind to deny, delay or sweep under the carpet what the nation owed our sword-arm.

With the arrival of the new dispensation in Raisina Hill, there were lots of expectations that the scenario would change. But it is unfortunate to see that the babus in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) have egged on the Union Government (read the Defence Minister, a.k.a. the Raksha Mantri and the Cabinet) to file a slew of cases to deny the veterans their legitimate and rightful dues. In the recorded annals of democratic and so-called civilised, law-abiding countries, there will not be any similar instances of infamy. Yet, our former soldiers took it on their chins and carried on their legal battles in the courts with dignity and fortitude.
However, what took the cake was the Union Government trying to argue a woefully perverse point before the Supreme Court on the 10th December, just seven days ago, to deny disability benefits to former warriors. It was truly an instance of disgrace abounding. The Supreme Court, thankfully, rejected the Government of India’s petition. Indian citizens who read the whole history of this sordid episode will cringe in shame and boil in anger.
Our country is indeed fortunate that it has defenders of the calibre and integrity that we have. Here, I must repeat the words in the funeral oration of Pericles:
The greatness of Athens has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it, who in the hour of conflict had the fear of dishonour always present in them, who, if ever they failed in an enterprise, would not allow these virtues to be lost to their country, but freely gave their lives to her as the fairest offering which they could present at her feet”.
The veterans of an institution that achieved this remarkable feat deserve infinitely better than what the politicians and civil functionaries are doing to them. Our soldiers, air warriors and sailors embody the resurrection of the “khatriya spirit”, as the great sage, Sri Aurobindo advocated. These are the indomitable individuals who have ventured forth to combat “fearful odds for the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their Gods” as Horatius conceptualised them (“The Captain of the Gate”).
NaMo and Manohar Parrikar – if you don’t give these people what is owed to them, Vijay Diwas will always be an irrelevant ritual.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are the author's personal opinions. Information, facts or opinions shared by the Author do not reflect the views of Niti Central and Niti Central is not responsible or liable for the same. The Author is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

Vijay Diwas:Tribute to the heroes of the 1971 Indo-Pak war - by SHIVKANT GAUTAM

16 Dec 2014
It was on March 1971 when Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujeeb Rahman had dared Pakistan. That time, nobody had imagined that Bangladesh will become a reality in just nine months and nine days. As soon as the reports of atrocities on civilians by Pakistani armed forces spread all around, pressure on India mounted to take military action. When Pakistan attacked on India’s western frontiers, India also retaliated and pushed Pakistanis back. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw informed then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India’s victory against Pakistan. Then Gandhi declared- “Now Dhaka is the capital of an independent country.” 90,000 Pakistani troops under General Niazi’s command surrendered to General JJ Aurora as prisoners of war. On Vijay Diwas, Niti Central pays tribute to the sons of Mother India who laid down their lives for the sake of their motherland.

Vijay Diwas is the day when the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ was presented by Lt Gen               AK Niazi, C-in-C of Pakistan Army in East Pakistan before Lt Gen JS Arora, GOC-in-C       Eastern Command of the Indian Army at Dacca (now ,Dhaka) with a request to accept it.   Gen JS Arora, accepted history’s greatest military surrender post World War II on           December 16, 1971.

(SOURCE- NITI CENTRAL  NEWS BLOG)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

TO THE POINT - OROP DELAY ; TV DISCUSSION ON HEADLINES TODAY


Thousands of ex-servicemen are concerned over the government's delay in implementing 'One Rank, One Pension' scheme. 

Not only has the scheme been delayed, the government has also said that it will not be implemented in full.

In this episode, we ask - Is the government betraying the armed forces by failing to follow through with its promises?

PLEASE CLICK TO WATCH TV DISCUSSION ON HEADLINES TODAY ON OROP

Published on Dec 16, 2014

One rank one pension: Good news on its way Read : One India News

For many ex-servicemen the wait has been a long one. Their demand and fight for One Rank One Pension will become a reality soon. Sources tell OneIndia that the defence ministry is working over time to ensure that the same is implemented in quick time. Manohar Parrikar, the defence minister of India was recently quoted as saying that the announcement of its implementation would be made in 4 to 8 weeks.

Significance of OROP 

It is an equal demand for pensions. If an officer has retired last year and there is an increase in the pensions the following year owing to enhancements by the pay commissions then it is implemented only prospectively. Basically if an officer has retired in 1990 in the current scenario he is not entitled for an enhanced pension if the same is implemented during the later years.

The argument has been that the pension for officers of the same rank should remain the same at all times. This the ex servicemen had demanded as the costs of living was going up and the hike in pensions should benefit all and not just those who have recently retired.

Red tape 

The government has time and again assured the ex servicemen that the OROP will be implemented. It was promised during the elections and even the Prime Minister had said that he was blessed to be the one implementing it. 

However there are certain teething issues that the government is facing on this front. Several ex servicemen say that they have done the rounds of various offices several times. However there has never been any clear response. They also have stated several times that the government or the political class needs to step on the gas pedal to push this issue through.

Budgetary allocation 

Government sources say that the finance minister had already allocated Rs 1000 crore for the OROP. This itself is an indication that the government is committed to the cause. We agree there have been delays but work is on in full throttle now to dismantle all those bureaucratic hassles which had slowed down the process. 

The government says that unlike the previous regime we will not just make announcements and then forget about it. There are 24 lakh pensioners and all of it has to be taken into consideration.

There was also a bit of a delay as when the government took over it had appointed one man to handle both defence and finance. However now with the new defence minister taking charge this issue is being exclusively looked into. All bureaucratic hassles have been wiped out and an exclusive team is working on it, sources in the ministry informed.


Read in Hindi: वन रैंक वन पेंशन के लिए बस कुछ दिनों का इंतजार और

(Source- CG Employees blog)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

PENSION PROMISE IN PERIL? Military veterans claim babus are thwarting PM Modi's poll pledge of one-rank-one-pension by inflating its cost estimates

Dec 14 2014 : The Times of India (Pune)                                                                               


                                        

 
Roman emperor Augustus started the tradition of military pensions in 13 BC, when every legionary who had fought 20 years for Rome was guaranteed a pensionfor-life. It set the bar for modern armies, and independent India continued the British tradition of financially privileging military service until the mid-1970s, when soldiers were paid more than civilian bureaucrats, in service and after retirement. All that changed with the Third Pay Commission, which brought military salaries in line with civil services, and while soldiers have long complained about political control over the military in independent India mutating into bureaucratic control, a row over the NDA's promise for one-rank-one-pension (OROP) for military veterans is raising questions about the government's ability to translate its intent into action.
 
Fifteen months after Narendra Modi first demanded it immediately after being anointed the BJP's PM candidate, 10 months after the UPA government granted it, five months after NDA's finance minister Arun Jaitley confirmed it and almost two months after the PM told soldiers in Siachen that it was his “destiny that onerank-one pension has been fulfilled“, military veterans are questioning why the promise has still not been implemented.
NUMBER GAMES
 
Put simply, OROP means that every pension-eligible soldier who retires in a particular rank deserves the same pension, irrespective of date of retirement. Currently, soldiers who left the armed forces more recently receive more than those who did earlier, because successive pay commissions hiked salaries. Two days after he was anointed BJP's PM-candidate in September 2013, Modi vehemently supported the OROP demand at a veterans' rally in Rewari. With roughly 12 lakh veterans also constituting a huge vote-bank, UPA government approved the demand in February 2014, and it was reaffirmed by NDA in July, when finance minister Arun Jaitley specifically provisioned Rs 1,000 crore in his 2014-15 budget (within an overall defence pensions budget of Rs 51,000 crore). Yet, it remains stuck in bureaucratic wrangling.
 
At the heart of the problem are bureaucratic disagreements over costs. The finance ministry told a parliamentary committee in 2011 that it would cost Rs 1,300 crore a year while defence ministry pegged annual cost estimates at Rs 3,000 crore. Yet, now that OROP has been approved, the Comptroller of Defence Accounts has reportedly put the bill as high as Rs 9,300 crore per annum (see charts).
 
Defence minister Manohar Parikkar has held stakeholder meetings to resolve the crisis, most recently on December 10, with no clear solution yet. Veterans' groups are perplexed at the changing goalposts, blaming the bureaucracy for being obscurantist. Says Lt Gen SK Bahri (retd), chairman, Alliance of Ex-Service men Organisations: “The bureaucracy is fighting a rear-guard action. It is not difficult to find funds but our problem is the lower bureaucracy which can stop anything in the ministry . We are fighting an internal enemy .“
 
Veteran groups, fighting the OROP battle for at least two decades, claim they don't have the ears of the leadership.“Whatever the bureaucracy tells them, they believe,“ says Lt Col Inderjit Singh, chairman, All-India Ex-Services Welfare Organisation. Reassuring doubters, Parrikar was recently quoted as saying that “the government is seriously considering implementing the one-rank-one-pension policy“ and the “announcement will be made in four to eight weeks“.
 
His words may reassure veteran groups who have been organizing protest rallies. Their social media networks are full of invective and a growing sense of “betrayal“ and “disillusionment“, which is fast gaining a political edge. The fight for OROP, in this narrative, is turning into a new cipher for the ever-present military trope of overbearing bureaucrats being allowed to ride rough-shod over them in a defence ministry that is still not integrated with service headquarters, as in other liberal democracies.
 
The problem is that different departments used different formulas to calculate costs but as Major Navdeep Singh, advocate in Punjab and Haryana High Court points out, “the directive to break this logjam has to come from the top“. “There seems to be an anti-services sentiment in the lower bureaucracy ,“ he adds, “but higher echelons must overrule such disputes.“
SOLDIERS vs CIVILIANS
 
The case for OROP is predicated on military terms of service being much harsher than those for civil services. Most soldiers retire between 35-37 years of age, while officers below brigadier-or-equivalent do so at 54, with limited re-employment options. Civil servants, in contrast, retire at 60.
 
Moreover, the Sixth Pay Commission granted the facility of what bureaucrats call “non-functional upgrade“ (NFU) to officers in all-India Group A services.This is a sort of `pay-promotion', allowing them, under certain conditions, to draw higher pay than their rank, without actually being promoted. Almost all civil servants benefit from this while defence services officers do not, even as their career pyramid is much steeper.Only 0.8% of defence officers make it to the rank of major general after 28 years of service, compared with a much higher rate of civil servants who are eligible to become joint secretaries at 19 years of service. As Major Navdeep Singh says, veterans see NFU as a sort of “OROP by backdoor for civil servants“.
 
Many distinguished veterans argue that they are only asking for what was promised to them, pointing to the aphorism of Chankaya, the architect of the Mauryan empire, who is said to have advised his prodigy Chandragupta Maurya thus: “The day a soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha.From then on you have lost all moral sanctions to be King."

(Source-TOI Pune)