1. Over the last 33 years that we have been working for the cause of ex-servicemen, we have never found the leadership wanting in sympathy and support. Every laudable initiative of theirs was however scuttled by the Bureaucrats. To achieve their nefarious designs they spread misinformation, if that did not work then they resorted to spreading disinformation. If that also failed then suppression of information was resorted to. If all that failed then of course blatant lies were resorted to scuttle our demand. Some of the Objections they have been relying upon are given in succeeding paragraphs together with what the truth is, to give you an idea and also to help you to dismiss these if they are projected again.
OBJECTION NO 1
2. One Rank One Pension was considered but not recommended by Fourth and Fifth Central Pay Commission.
3. Fourth Pay Commission. We never sought One Rank One Pension from the Fourth Pay Commission. Any recommendation that they may have given must have been based on misrepresentation of facts by Bureaucrats.
4. Fifth Pay Commission. The Fifth Pay Commission accepted the Concept. In its implementation the Bureaucracy watered it down by bringing old pensioners to the minimum pension of the current rank and applied it for civilians too.
5. Ever since we had been representing for granting us the full parity with the current ranks. In 1997 the Govt accepted this but unfortunately before implementation it fell. It was found to be legitimate demand by the UPA Govt. and full parity with Fifth CPC rates sanctioned on 25 Jan 2006. This in other words was OROP with Fifth CPC Rates.
OBJECTION NO 2
6. A High Level Empowered Committee chaired by the then Defence Minister Sh. Sharad Pawar also recommended One Time Increase and not total parity.
7. The Chairman of the Association happened to be on this Committee. This Committee was convened to only improve the pensions of pre 1986 pensioners and not consider ONE RANK ONE PENSION.
8. Despite this limitation it was inclined to give it but for the drastic economic situation of the Nation when we had to export all our Gold to UK to run the affairs of the Nation. The Committee took a considered and conscious view to not to mention anything about One Rank One Pension to enable its future consideration.
OBJECTION NO 3
9. In the case of Indian Ex-services League and others wherein the petitioners had contended that all retirees who held the same rank and irrespective of their date of retirement must get the same amount of pension. This contention was rejected by the Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
10. This point is put up to the benign but ignorant leadership every time to scuttle OROP despite the bureaucracy knowing fully well that it is not correct. They seem to believe in the adage that if you continue to repeat a lie people will ultimately start believing it as truth.
11. In the Nakra case the Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered that the Liberalized Pension Formula sanctioned by the Govt should be applied to all irrespective of the date of retirement.
12. The Indian Ex-services League they talk about is the actual cause of all our problems. Some ill informed and over zealous members of that organisation filed a suit for CONTEMPT OF COURT proceedings against the govt for not granting OROP to ex servicemen under those orders. The Court then proceeded to examine if the OROP comes under the purview of those orders.
13. A word about these two things. Liberalised Pension Formula meant giving 50% of last pay drawn to all irrespective of date of retirement. That means whatever salary one was getting at the time of retirement he gets 50% of that salary as pension. Since at different points of time men were getting different rates of salary they could get 50% of what they were getting and not the same rate of pension as others. Whereas OROP means that same rank personnel got the same pension irrespective of date of retirement. How could they get same pension for the same rank under this order?
14. The Court very rightly concluded that OROP does not fall under the ambit of Nakara case. The Govt. have therefore not violated their orders. The case was therefore dismissed. The Govt. in actual practice had given more than the Liberalized Formula could give by bringing all the sepoys to Rs 150.00 PM pension and this included those who were drawing a pension of Rs 4 and Rs 17 at the time of retirement.
IT WAS NOT OROP THAT WAS REJECTED, IN FACT THE CONTEMPT CASE WAS REJECTED.
15. “The implementation of the concept itself would be gigantic task for about 21 Lakh pensioners with addition of about 55000 number every year involving manual matching of the past and present rates of pension by about 35000 pension disbursement agencies comprising of Public Sector Bank’s branches, Defence Pension Disbursement Officers, Treasuries, Pay and Account Offices and Post Offices. Such an exercise would be involved with each and every increase/revision of pensionary benefits”.
16. This statement is a blatant lie. In fact if OROP is sanctioned, the entire effort of various bodies would be totally cut down. It is a gigantic task no doubt, but it will have to be done initially for past pensioners only. 55000 numbers retiring every year will not be requiring up-gradation as they would in any case be with the latest pensions.
17. Revisions are not given every year. Whenever it happens it is normally as a result of any Pay Commission. When that happens it will have to be done for all including the past pensioners. So what is so frightening.
18. In fact with this Concept the entire process will be simplified. After the initial revision future revisions will be possible by a click of a button on a computer.
OBJECTIONS NO 5
19. In view of this judgement, concept of One Rank One Pension can not be confined to a class/category of pensioners. Once accepted for ex-servicemen, the civilians may raise similar demands and if not accepted may move court of law on the above analogy as well as the principle of law of equity”.
20. This is the biggest canard that is projected to frighten the leadership into reneging from their promises made by them from time to time.
21. The judgement on Nakra Case says that liberalized Pension rule will be applied to all irrespective of date of retirement. The Liberalised Pension rule says 50% of the last pay should be given as pension. It does not say that any specific benefits given to a particular category should be given to all categories/classes.
22. Further, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has ruled that Armed Forces are different Group from civilians with entirely different Service Conditions. The Hon’ble Supreme Court step in when there is discrimination within a group and not between two totally different groups with totally different Service conditions. Rules applied to them can not therefore be claimed by the civilians unless they are prepared to take their Service conditions too. Since they will never accept their Service Condition, Law of Equity cannot be applied in their case.
23. Any attempt by civilians for claiming One Rank One Pension through Courts is therefore doomed for failure. The bureaucrats know this full well and that is why they are creating problems for soldiers.
24. The Govt. had given ONE TIME INCREASE in 1991 and full parity with Fifth CPC rates, in other words OROP, in 2006. The civilians did demand but when told very categorically by the Govt that that was only for Armed Forces for their sacrifices for the Nation, they withdrew as patriotic citizens of the Nation. The threat of civilian demand is therefore nothing but a lie.
OBJECTION NO 6
25. The Inter Ministerial Committee has noted that acceptance of One Rank One Pension may be legally difficult.
26. There is no legal difficulty about implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ concept. What is required is attitudinal change of the Bureaucracy and if it does not happen then strong directions to them. What we mean is obvious from succeeding paragraphs.
27. The ex-servicemen had sought from the Hon’ble Supreme Court the grant of Dearness Relief on Pensions to re-employed ex-servicemen. This demand was rejected by the Hon’ble Court.
28. This matter was taken up with the Fifth Central Pay Commission by us. We presented the problem in its true perspective and got the right recommendation from them for the Govt despite court orders. The Cabinet approved the recommendation. When it was passed to Bureaucracy for issuing Notification, they decided to have the matter reviewed and rejected.
29. Our intervention by taking up the matters with the leadership stopped their mischief and we got the problem solved through them.
30. If that could be done what is the problem now. All that is required is the direction by the leadership for its implementation and it will be done.
31. Finally if there is any legal lacuna, the law can be amended to remove that infirmity. We have over 700 Hon'ble Members of both the Houses of Parliament supporting this cause.
OBJECTION NO 7
32. Huge expenditure will be required to meet this demand. The situation will further become unaffordable as the Govt will not be able to resist the demand for civilians too.
33. The Bureaucrats bloat these figures by adding expenditure on account of additional DA, Gratuity, commuted value of additional pension and arrears on account of back payment. If the figures are still not frightening enough then they add on the expenditure on account of civilians also demanding. WE DO NOT WANT ARREARS. WE WANT THIS MATTER SETTLED FOR FUTURE. GIVE US FROM THE DATE THE GOVT PUTS ITS SEAL ON THE MATTER.
34. This is nothing new. A number of matters sanctioned on the basis of the Recommendation of Fifth CPC were allowed from date of signatures and not retrospectively. The Bureaucrats know it and despite that they make this misleading statement to have the matter rejected.
35. About gratuity and additional value of commuted value of pension, there is no problem we have not sought it as this is not covered by our definition of OROP.
36. The problem of civilians demanding has already been explained. It is a total fallacy. Our civilians are most patriotic and understand the sacrifices being made by soldiers day in and day out.
OBJECTION NO 8
37. Acceptance of the concept of One Rank One Pension is bound to give rise to similar demand being raised by the civilian pensioners numbering more than 40 lakhs
38. This canard we keep hearing every time. This is the final trump card for scuttling the OROP.
39. Now the argument that the civilians will also demand OROP and if not granted they would go to the court to claim it. This is the argument that they advance finally to scuttle the efforts of the leadership. We have been interacting with major civilian unions. All of them have always been ready to support us for this cause and that too without demanding for themselves. Then when in 1991 we were given OTI the civilians also demanded it but when told this was for the Armed Forces only they as true patriots did not insist. Similar thing happened when in 2006 the Govt granted parity with fifth CPC to us.
40. In case some people inspired by the bureaucracy do go to the court for redressal they will certainly be welcome. The Court will also be ready to give them but then the Courts will also tell them that the Armed Forces have been given these special privileges for their peculiar and difficult service conditions. They would then go on to tell them that they were willing to concede OROP to them if they were prepared to accept their service conditions also. Who among any of the applicants would be prepared to shed their position and accept these conditions. None. We say this because we have had an opportunity to settle this matter during the proceedings of the HLEC in 1991.
41. There was an argument and the civilian big wigs wanted for themselves also what was being worked out for us. When nothing was resolving the issue it was proposed that one chance each be given to the entire civil and Armed Forces personnel to change their service to the other if they so desired. Once that was given we said we bet our lives that 100% Armed Forces personnel would like to switch over and not one of the civilians would opt for the Armed Forces. There was a total furor but none to take up the challenge. They were not small fries, they were Secretaries of all the Ministries.
42. Finally since when have the bureaucrats started to know about the feelings and pulse of the people more than the leadership. Every Committee of the leadership have recommended strongly that OROP be granted. The Defense Committee went to the extent of demanding that if there was no precedence then it should now be set to repay the deep debt of gratitude of the grateful Nation to the Armed Forces for their sacrifices. Further over 700 Hon’ble Members of Parliament are committed through their party Manifestos for giving the OROP to the Armed Forces. Do we presume that they have been foolish in promising OROP to Armed forces.
43. We suppose they don’t care for these minions for they are not only bigger then them but also the Nation.
OBJECTION NO 9
44. One of the point to scuttle, they stated was that there are no precedents for granting OROP.
45. We do not have to go far to find these. These are being followed right here in India. The Members of Parliament are getting it. So are the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts. In our Govt itself the Secretary level officers and Chiefs and Army Commander level officers are getting it.
46. If you are looking for precedents outside India then US Armed Forces are being given by the entire country and with tremendous pride. They however call it 100% neutralization of pay and pensions for cost of living for AF. This is not allowed to the civilians. Besides that there are some more things that are done for the Veterans as given in Chapter 2 which should be an eye opener for every body.
OBJECTION NO 10
Edge to AFs During British Regime
47. During British regime the AFs were paid more so that they could help them maintain their rule here.
48. Truth. This is a totally misleading statement. The British paid better to their AFs then and continue to do it even now for they understood the value of the soldiers sacrifices for the Nation unlike our bureaucracy.
OBJECTION NO 11
Annual Increments on Pension
49. The veterans are demanding annual increments on pensions as per serving soldiers
50. The Truth. This is another lie that has been invented by the bureaucracy to somehow put off the leadership from conceding this demand of ours. At no point of time in the last thirty years have we demanded annual increments on pensions. I state very categorically and with all the force I can command being the author of this rightful demand, that we do not want any annual increment on pensions. The accepted definition has been suitably amended to clarify this aspect.
51. We will be thankful if we get what has been stated in the definition given earlier and repeated here for ready reference.
DEFINITION OF OROP
“THE PRE 1 JAN 2006 RETIREES GET 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 PENSIONERY BENEFITS SUCH AS DCRG AND ADDITIONAL VALUE OF COMMUTATION PENSION, FURTHER IT AT NO STRETCH OF IMAGINATION INCLUDES ANNUAL INCREMENTS IN PENSIONS AS IS GIVEN TO SERVING SOLDIERS ”.
The last highlighted sentence has been added to the accepted definition after it was brought out as a major hurdle for the Govt hesitating to grant of OROP, for the first time ever in the last thirty years of our submission of this problem to the Gov't in 1982 by a very responsible official. In simple words it means full parity with the latest rates of pension for past pensioners. Once granted there are increments till another revision by a Central Pay Commission or a Committee.'
52. During the Britiish regime the Armed Forces had definite edge over their civilians counterparts which they could not swallow A word about this edge before we move further. This was not because they wanted to keep them happy so they could rule India through force, but they did that as a matter of their policy to give the best to their own Armed Forces who did the most onerous duties for the Nation. They did it then and do it even now. This was a tool that was exploited by bureaucracy for getting the Armed Forces branded as tools of British and anti Nationals. What a travesty of ground reality.This ultimate trick, they almost succeeded with, when they spread the canard of troops movement during the recent fiasco about the Army Chief.
53. Soon after we got our Independence they set about this matter right. By their actions and deeds they systematically reduced the Armed Forces to the state of beggars for receiving whatever doles were dished out to them by their masters. Whatever was given was far too less than what the cuvilians got. Some of their actions that bring about teir Vendetta to fix the Armed Forces are narrated in succeeding paragraphs.
Death Cum Retirement Gratuity (DCRG)
54. Soon after Independence the bureaucrats sanctioned for the civilians the grant of DCRG. While doing so they forgot that there is another arm of Indian Nation which is even more deserving than they and who also need to get it. But no, how could they dare to be equal to their masters that is Bureaucracy and not the leadership. I have had a top Bureaucrat bragging that they are the Govt and it is they who decide matters. It took two years more for it to be sanctioned for the Armed Forces.
Removal of 33 Years Conditionality.
55. The rule for pension was that you got fifty percent of the last pay drawn as pension. This is fine. But on this a condition had been added that you get full fifty percent if you served for 33 years. If you serve less, then you lose pension proportional to the number of years less service. This rule was fine for civilians as they could serve that long and even more. This rule was fine for civilians as they could serve that long and even more. This rule was arbitrarily applied to the Armed Forces also despite knowing that the Service conditions do not permit them to serve that long. With this the pensions that accrued to them became woefully low. To make these look a little respectable they gave a sop of 5 years service weightage for pensions. As a result of this rule a jawan was losing almost one third of his pension instead of fifty percent for no fault of his. Higher ranks lost a little less.
56. This DAY LIGHT ROBBERY on the Armed Forces pensions was discovered by us soon after the Fifth CPC. We started pursuing it with the Govt. Every time the answer given was that this is a cardinal principle with regard to pension and therefore can not be waived for the Armed Forces. The reply of the MOD is in Appendix B.
57. In this Sixth CPC they removed this rule for civilians without allowing it to the Armed Forces. When a huge hue and cry was raised they allowed it to the serving soldiers only. Further representation resulted in it being allowed to the veterans too. They were however given prospectively and not from 01 Jan 2006 as was allowed to civilians.
58. The Cardinal Principle that was coming in the way of doing justice to the Armed Forces by stopping this DAY LIGHT ROBBERY, was blown away when they applied it for themselves and that too when they could serve for 33 years.
Disability Pension Rules
59. We were successful to have these totally unfair rules changed through the Fifth CPC. What was given and more was very faithfully applied to civilians. But the Armed Forces were denied all that and continued to be denied till after the Sixth CPC. The vindictiveness of the Bureaucrats is reflected in the points given below :-
(a) The Armed Forces (AF) were given three fixed rates of disability pension (DP) where as civilians sanctioned for themselves 30% of their salary as DP.
(b) While for civilians the orders to their paying authorities were to give it to them without reference to any body, the veterans had to be put through a Medical Board for determining their disability before giving them the latest rates. These Boards in most cases determined their disability less than 20% and stopped their pensions. Others were at most allowed 20% minimum DP.
(c) For civilians there was no restriction for getting minimum 50% disability pension across the board, but for the AF veterans the restriction of 20% so kindly waived by the Fifth CPC was retained. Now no civilian retiree is getting less than 50% DP, whereas 90% of veterans are still getting 20%. When I questioned the logic I was told that we have been given less because we are far too many disabled.
60. I have narrated a few. Every single order issued for AF and veterans is so worded that it denies them their dues rather than give them.
61. It would be noticed from the kind of frivolous objections raised by them to justify the rejection of OROP, the extent to what can be done by the bureaucracy to have rejected this legitimate demand of ours. It should be obvious to the leadership if they are serious and sincere about fulfilling their commitment to those who staked their all for the Nation, that they will have to take the matters into their own hands.The time has come when the approach has to change. Rather than the leadership asking the Bureaucracy.
CAN IT BE DONE
they need to be asking
HOW CAN IT BE DONE
After getting the answer from them direct them to implement it without any hitch or hindrance. There is no other way to solve this problem.
CAN WE HOPE THAT THE LEADERSHIP WILL RISE TO THE OCCASION AND ENSURE THAT OROP IS FINALLY GIVEN TO THE ARMED FORCES. EVEN THOUGH IT IS THIRTY YEARS TOO LATE.