Thursday, December 31, 2015
OROP - A SAGA OF STATE BETRAYAL?
Recently I had interaction with about 6-7 senior IAS officers- all retired secretaries - and we did discuss OROP threadbare! I was provoked and furious when someone who had been an Army officer (EC / Short service commission)and had gone to IAS, using the term 'mercenary' and "mendicant" language, while referring to OROP demand by Armed forces!
Our discussions were based on an article "OROP - A SAGA OF STATE BETRAYAL" that I had posted in this group, which covers all aspects of OROP, that I could visualize for their benefit, which I am sending in word form attachment. This article may be of interest when we discuss OROP with civilians, especially with IAS. It obviously created a bit of heat with my IAS friends, but I had the last word!
May be this will provide a brief for lawyers like Ram jethmalani and others.If you consider it useful it may be published in 'Report my signals' .
OROP - A SAGA OF STATE BETRAYAL?
One Rank One Pension (OROP) is not just about more pension money- but against broken promises and commitment by a sovereign state to its Armed forces-after actually depriving part of their meagre pension they drew till 1973 with promise of more (OROP) - and denying it for 42 years! Armed forces feel discriminated in successive Central Pay Commissions (CPCs) over 4 decades and feel “Betrayed”! How justified are these perceptions?
After independence, pay scales for both Military and civil officers were reduced. While pre-independence civilian employees were allowed to retain their old higher pay, in an inexplicable, illogical act of discrimination, pre-independence Army officers were deprived this privilege! Lt Gen Sinha’s salary, Rs 1065 per month as major, was reduced overnight to 700 per month- loss of about 30%! Sardar Patel protested on 22 March 1947 that this was very unfair to Army officers. Finance justified on grounds of smaller number of pre-independence civil servants compared to Military!
Armies all over the world retire their personnel young- in India about 88% retiring at 35-37 and 90% out of the remaining retiring at 54-56 years- while ALL CIVILIANs retire at 58-60 years of age. This is in the National interest, to keep a young and fighting fit Army and to compensate early retirement Armed forces earlier drew 70%, and civil employees 30% of last pay drawn, as pension!
Third CPC in 1973 reduced Armed forces pension from 70% to 50 %, and increased civil pension from 30 % to 50%, on the logic that the Armed forces were soon getting OROP! By reducing 20% pension with immediate effect-but not implementing OROP the alleged rationale for such reduction-has the governments not reneged and cheated the Armed forces veterans for 42 years of their otherwise 20% additional pension? The civilian employees on the other hand started enjoying 20% enhanced pension since then and continue to serve till 60, assured job security! Can Armed forces be really faulted for perceived bureaucratic sleight of the hand, as CPCs are constituted mostly by bureaucrats?
Pre-independence veterans-many of them wounded disabled and survived in second world war, 1962 China war, Indo-Pak wars of 47, 65 and 1971- fighting five major wars in about 2 decades plus and saved Kashmir for us lost about 30% salary while in service and 20% loss in pension after 1973! Post- independence veterans lost 20% on their meagre pension and financially too lost out on benefits from successive CPCs due to early retirement-unlike civilian counterparts enjoying 20% enhanced pension since 1973, and serving full tenure till 60!
Denying OROP, the 4th CPC sanctioned ‘Rank pay’ in addition to Basic pay, a small lollypop in lieu! Controller of defence accounts (bureaucrats) created ‘faux paus’- deducting ‘rank pay’ from total emoluments and then doing pay fixation- causing financial loss to the Armed forces with negative cumulative effect on pay, DA, Pension, gratuity and commutation! After years of litigation the Apex court in September 2012 ruled in favour of Armed forces, yet to be implemented by bureaucracy!
6th CPC ruled that pensions should be fixed at 50 % of the " MINIMUM OF THE RANK IN THE PAY BAND, CORRESPONDING ". The bureaucracy erroneously placed the pensions of (only) Armed forces at 50 % of the " MINIMUM OF THE PAY BAND, CORRESPONDING", overlooking the rank factor! 4 different ranks Lt Col, Colonel, Brigadier and Maj Generals were in the same Pay Band-4, and MOD placed all of them at the bottom of this pay band for pension fixation ignoring ranks and length of service resulting in denial of legitimate dues to Armed forces!
In eighties with less pay and infamous compulsory financial deposits to government, at times forced to maintain two establishments, Is it appreciated how much the combined financial loss of even a couple of hundred rupees due to Rank pay and Pay band loss denied to them then due to ‘faux paus’ by bureaucracy mattered - when they needed it the most, with family and financial commitments being high, and denied till date?
Imagine thousands of veterans who died and are dying every day and have all lost out on their full rightful pensions for ever! To those veterans living since 1973 there is triple loss- being deprived of 20 % of their earlier pension(3rd CPC) plus loss of their genuine entitlements due to rank-pay calculation error(4th CPC) and Band pay(6thCPC)by bureaucracy! No errors were ever made while calculating the emoluments of civil bureaucrats- by themselves in all CPCs-getting their dues in time, unlike the Armed forces!
Now contrast this with how the bureaucracy had gifted to themselves “non-functional upgrade“ (NFU) in the same sixth CPC to officers in all India Group A services- from which the Armed forces were inexplicably excluded- wherein subject to certain conditions even without being promoted a civilian could draw higher pay than their rank and grade without assuming higher responsibilities- independent of vacancies in their cadre-disregarding the Apex court directive of equal pay for equal work!
Disabled civil employees are retained in service till 60 years with normal pension! Military personnel, where chances of disability are much more due to professional hazards, wars and risks are thrown out of service, often denied even their disability pension! A former Vice Chief of Army Staff who lost a leg in 1971 war as a major had to fight legal battle for years post his retirement just to get his disability pension! Capt Siddu whose arm was amputated while serving in high altitude was denied his disability dues after 40 years fighting court cases with the Supreme Court slamming the government for treating Army personnel as beggars!
OROP for Armed force personnel should be examined in this background!
One Rank One Pension (OROP) implies uniform pension for Armed Forces Personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement, with future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
OROP, despite acceptance and commitment by all political parties of all hues; the Parliament; the public; and by all pay commissions and bySupreme Court on 16 Feb 2015 directing implementation ( ) is not complied with! The Parliamentary (Koshiyari) Committee said “There is merit in the demand for One Rank One Pension by Armed Forces Personnel, otherwise the matter would not have been considered time and again by various committees of the Government and Central Pay Commissions. It could have been rejected once and for all and principle of res judicata would have been applied to this demand”. Despite this, the bogey of huge unrealistic financial outlay, similar demand by other central police forces and bureaucracy were spread to frighten the governments!
Why OROP only for Armed forces?
1. Compulsions of early retirement being the necessity of the nation to keep a young age profile in the Def. forces
2. Restrictions on fundamental rights granted to a citizen are denied to the Soldier. They have no right to protest, form associations, agitate or complain about nature of duties, working hours, conditions and hazards!
3. While civil employees are only subjected to Indian Penal Code, Armed forces personnel, besides IPC, are also subjected to Military law and court-martial, swifter and harsher in nature!
4. Tough postings in Hilly, High-altitude, jungles, deserts, insurgency prone areas, more often separated from families
5. War risks, loss of limbs or life and poor compensation!
Political parties In last 4 decades- because of party politics, coalition politics and its own very political survival- had neither the time, nor inclination to get into the nuances of this complex problem! This resulted in heavy dependence on bureaucracy- well informed and well entrenched with its views!
The Armed forces function under adverse conditions, in a strictly regimented, mostly in hazardous, stressful conditions, often compelled to maintain two establishments on being posted away from family! They work 24/7, under a strict disciplinary code throughout their service! OROP is justified not only for a dignified living as a veteran soldier but also for the past denials of their genuine dues! “If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t” - Hyman Rickove
Is it the policy of Indian governments since independence to “punish” Armed forces when they win wars and bring laurels to the nation? Indo-Pak war of 1947 resulted in 30% loss of pay-and the magnificent victory in war with Pakistan with unprecedented 93000 Prisoners taken and creation of a new nation- resulted in 20% loss to veterans in 1973! The bureaucracy on the other hand gained by retaining its 30 % higher pay scales after independence, and enhanced its pension by 20% since 1973!
A few hundred rupees denied in eighties affected us to a much great extent financially! Who, but the bureaucracy should be responsible for denying our legitimate financial entitlements in time?
Brigadier VRP SARATHY, VSM
2, Professors’ Colony; Air force Road; East Tambaram; Chennai- 600059
Tele: 044- 22394296 & 9444970161
In view of above the finance ministry-main impediment citing cost factor- should calculate loss of 20% pension to all Armed forces veteran community-still living and dead- since 1973, for 42 years with promise of OROP, not implemented and cost of NFU to exchequer discussed later!
Babu-neta & the fauji By JAY BHATTACHARJEE
15 Mar 2014
The Apex Court has given vent to its feelings on the working of Babus, Netas, and police. The anguish of Judges of the Supreme Court can be judged from their remarks made in the open court, “We are fed up with this government,” the apex court said, adding “They don't have the guts to differ with the opinion of the clerks.” “Even God will not be able to save this country. In India even if God comes down he cannot change our country. Our country's character has gone. We are helpless,” in another case it said, “In this country you need huntering (flogging) to make you work,” the Supreme Court today said while venting its anger on babus and top police officials.” (The Tribune,dated 6 & 9 Aug 2008).
Capt Siddu’s right arm was amputated while on duty at high altitude in November 1970. After fighting legal battle in various courts for 40 years, and even burning his artificial limb at India Gate, he got justice! 0n 1 Apr 2010, the Supreme Court slammed the union government for treating army personnel like "beggars" in respect of emoluments and pension and asked the authorities to adopt a more "humane approach" towards those bravely defending the country's borders. They went to the extent of saying that "If a person goes to any part of Delhi and sits for begging, he will earn Rs1000 every day and you are offering a pittance of Rs 1000 per month for a man who fought for the country in the high altitudes and whose arm was amputated? It is unfortunate that you are treating them like beggars".
As Obama said ''So long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known”- implying the responsibility to arm and equip the Armed forces with the best available and affordable weapon systems is of the Government- sadly neglected till date by our governments-with the Army Chief saying that we will fight with what we have during the Kargil conflict and another Chief writing to PM about critical deficiencies in weapon systems!
(Source- Via e-mail from Report my Signal)