Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 25
As the fine print of the Cabinet’s decision on additional pension for ex-servicemen emerges, it is clear that the government stopped short of accepting the ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) formula but there will be an across the board increase in pension for all those who retired before January 1 2006. Depending on which side you stand, opinions are sharply divided on the hike and the last word on the matter is yet to be spoken with ex-servicemen groups rejecting the additional pension benefits. The basic pension of all officers who retired before January 1, 2006 will increase between Rs 1,800 and Rs 3,600. The existing 65 per cent of dearness allowance will also be admissible over the increased amount. However, this is not as per the OROP formula. Despite the increase, officers who retired after January 1, 2006 will get pensions that are way ahead of those who retired before January 1, 2006. The other measures on dual family pension and family pension for physically and mentally handicapped children after marriage have been welcomed. Sources said as per calculations made so far, the following will be the tentative hike in basic pension for officers who retired before January 1, 2006: Captain Rs 13,850 (existing) to Rs 15,350 (after hike); Major Rs 14,100 to Rs 18,205; Lt Col Rs 25,700 to Rs 26,262; Colonel Rs 26,050 to Rs 27,795; Brigadier Rs 26,150 to Rs 29,145 and Major General Rs 26,700 to 30,350. These figures could be more, depending upon several other factors. This DA would be paid as per prevailing rates. Other payments of military service pay and grade pay factored into the pension calculation formula remain unchanged. Maj General Satbir Singh (retd), vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, rejected the announcement terming it as “misleading”. “What has been given, albeit grudgingly, does not even meet provisions of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) judgments on the matter,” he said in letters shot-off to the Prime Minister with copies to Defence Minister AK Antony and the three Service Chiefs. Two summers ago, the General had led a march to Rashtrapati Bhawan where hundreds of retired personnel returned their medals. Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa and Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda have welcomed the decision. Bajwa said the remaining demands of serving officers should be met immediately, while Hooda praised Sonia Gandhi for the move. Explaining the intricacies of OROP, Maj General Singh said, “OROP means that defence personnel with the same rank and same length of service must draw the same pension irrespective of the date of retirement and any future enhancement would be automatically granted to them. What has been announced is not OROP.” The hike has come about after a change in calculations. Till now, the pension for ex-servicemen retiring before January 1, 2006 was calculated as per the lowest pay in the existing pay band.