Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Subramanian Swamy Raises One-Rank One-Pension Issue With Manohar Parrikar


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NEW DELHI: Seeking justice for ex-servicemen, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and raised the issue of one-rank one-pension.

He reminded Parrikar that the implementation of same-rank same-pension scheme was BJP's 2014 election promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the campaigning at Bhiwani.

In his speech at Bhiwani, Modi had stated that if BJP came to power after the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP government would do justice to the ex-servicemen of the armed forces on the same rank-same pension issue.

One-rank, one-pension means soldiers of the same rank and the same length of service get the same pension, irrespective of their retirement date. For an example, a sepoy who retired in 1995 would get the same amount of pension as the one who retired in 1996.

According to Swamy, Parrikar told him that he is seized of the matter and is closely studying the issue with a view to finding a solution to the satisfaction of ex-servicemen.

The Defence Minister assured Swamy that an announcement on the issue of one-rank one-pension is expected to be made by the time of the Budget presentation in February next year.

The decision to implement the scheme was first announced by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the UPA government's interim Budget in February this year. Chidambaram had allocated Rs 500 crore for it.

The NDA government had allocated Rs 1000 crore for the scheme in its July Budget this year.

Besides one-rank one-pension scheme, Swamy also brought to Parrikar's notice some strategic issues regarding China's defence capacity.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Change in date of birth/age of family pensioners for payment of additional pension: Deptt of Ex-Servicemen Welfare

No. 1(11)/2009-D (Pen/Pol)
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare
New Delhi – 110011
Dated : 23rd December 2014
The Chief of the Army Staff
The Chief of the Naval Staff
The Chief of the Air Staff

Subject: Change in date of birth/age of family pensioners for payment of additional pension.

In accordance with the instructions issued vide GOI, MOD letter no. 17(4)/2008(1)-D (Pen/Policy) dated 11.11.2008 and GOI, MOD letter No. 1(11)/2009-D (Pen/Policy) dated 18th Aug 2009, additional pension/ family pension is allowed on the basis of the date of birth/age recorded in the Pension Payment Order/Discharge Certificate or other office records. Only in cases where the details regarding date of birth/age are not available in the PPO/Discharge Certificate or Office records, additional pension/family pension to old pensioners/family pensioners has been allowed on the basis of following documents:-

a) PAN Card
b) Matriculation Certificate (containing information regarding date of birth)
c) Passport
d) ECHS Card
e) Driving License (if it contains date of birth)
f) Election ID Card

2. Some representations have been received in the MOD regarding the hardship being caused to old family pensioners in getting the additional pension on account of incorrect recording of the date of birth/age in the PPO. They have been requesting for allowing the change of date of birth in the PPO on the basis of the documents prescribed in Para 1 above. The matter has been examined in the Ministry and (after issue of Deptt. Of P & PW OM No. 1/23/2012 – P&PW (E) dated 13.09.2012) following decisions have been taken :-

(i) Since the date of birth/age of the armed forces personnel is recorded in the PPO on the basis of service records and the date of discharge/retirement/superannuation etc is determined on the basis of this date of birth/age there would be no question of allowing change in the date of birth/age of the retired/deceased pensioner in the PPO. The matter has been examined further. Considering the difficulty in producing any of the above mentioned documents as proof of age by the old pensioners. It has now been decided that the Aadhaar Card issued by UIDAI may also be accepted as proof of date of birth/age for payment of additional pension/family pension on completion of 80 years of age or above.

(ii) The request for change of date of birth/age of the family pensioner (Parents and Spouse) in the PPO may be submitted by the armed forces pensioner/family pensioner, to the concerned Record Office in case of JCO/Ors and, service HQrs in case of Commissioned Officers along with at least one of the documents mentioned in Para I above/Aadhaar Card and declaration on a non-judicial stamp paper regarding the correct date of birth of the family pensioner. If the Head of the Department/Record Office is satisfied then the change in the date of birth of the family pensioner may be allowed provided a bona-fide mistake has been made in recording the date of birth in the PPO. As the entry in the PPO needs to be rectified, it would be carried out by PSA by issuing the Corr PPO on the advice of OIC Records/Head of Office.

(iii) No other document except as indicated in Para 1 above and Aadhaar Card issued by UIDAI will be accepted for change in date of birth/age of the family pensioner in the PPO.

3. In order to avoid any possibility of recording an incorrect date of birth in the PPO, in future the Armed Forces Personnel would be required to submit one of the documents indicated / in Para 1 above or Aadhaar Card issued by UIDAI as proof of date of birth of spouse or parents along with the details of family as indicated in service records of service officer / personnel. In the case of children, certificate of birth from the Municipal authorities or from the local Panchayat or from the head of a recognized school if he/she is studying in such a school or from a Board of Education may be accepted as proof of age.

4. This issues with the concurrence of Ministry of Defence (Finance) vide their ID No. 31(7)/09/FIN/PEN dated 21/11/2014.

Yours faithfully,
(Prem Prakash)
Under Secretary to the Government of India

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Friday, 26 December 2014


Web site :
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(We Were THIRTY YEARS YOUNG On 21 Nov 2011)

M 35 Palika Bhawan, 
 RK Puram, Sector 13,
New Delhi 110066.
Ph :011 26110710
Fax :011 241O6144

Dear Friends,

Upset by the statements of the leadership about our one single most important demand of ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP) our Association passed a Resolution in our Governing Council Meeting on 21 Aug 2014 and as per the directions of the members it was despatched to the Hon'ble PM with a copy to the Hon'ble RM. A Copy of the Resolution follows this mail.

"It basically wanted the OROP demand should be met by 31 Dec 2014 failing which we shall presume that our respected PM was not satisfied by the sacrifices we have already made for the Nation and he wants more from us. We shall then make more so that he can be won over." 

We have received a reply from the MOD which is attached for the information of the fraternity. In short it says -

"The principle of One Rank One Pension for the Armed Forces has been accepted by the Government. The modalities for implementation have been discussed with various stakeholders and are presently under consideration. The same will be implemented once the modalities are finalised."

A meeting has been called of Executive Committee on 31 Dec to take a final decision on the issue


Lt Col Inderjit Singh 
All India Ex services Welfare Association



Past History
1. We have been struggling for the last 33 years for the grant of ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP) for Veterans. Down the line five Prime Ministers starting with Indiraji had accepted to give it. All their benign gestures to grant the Veterans their rightful dues were however frustrated by the hostile bureaucracy.

Recent Commitments

2. Now the Sixth Prime Minister had announced its acceptance in the Parliament on 17 Feb 2014. The seventh Prime Minister Sh Narendra Modi had given his commitment even before he assumed the charge. After assuming charge he reiterated his commitment through Presidential address to the joint session of the Parliament.

Bureaucratic Opposition

3. The bureaucrats are out to frustrate the commitment of Sh Narendra Modi also. They first produced their own version of OROP, which was rejected with the contempt it deserved. When they were given the correct definition, they worked out Rs 9100.00 crore as expenditure to scare the leadership into reneging from their commitment. 

Parting Shot

4. A delegation of Veterans met the Hon'ble RM on 16 Jul 2014. After the meeting when they were leaving, as a parting shot, the Hon'ble RM told them that they should lower their expectations. In other words we should not hope to get true version of OROP. A time has come when unless the Hon'ble PM takes appropriate action he was also likely to fail as his illustrious predecessors.


5. We therefore unanimously resolve to appeal to Sh Narendra Modi our respected Prime Minister - 

a) to take matters in his own hands and fulfill his promises made at Rewari to grant OROP to the Veterans on coming to power, as the Bureaucrat who have short changed us for the last thirty three years are not going to let it happen so easily;

b) we further submit that we shall be waiting for its implementation until 31 Dec 2014. If it does not come through we shall know that the Hon'ble Prime Minister, our respected leader, is not satisfied with the sacrifices already made by the veterans for the Nation. We shall then make a few more with the hope that he would be won over into fulfilling his promises.


6. During recent Elections wherever the Hon'ble PM went, he asked the public whether the previous Govt fulfilled their promises to them? When the public answered NO, he told them to throw the Govt out, which they did with a vengeance unheard of before. We are sure that the dedicated and effective leader that he is, he would not allow the bureaucrats to land him in similar situation.

(Inderjit Singh)
Lt Col (Retd)

Parrikar Asks MoD Officials to Evolve A Policy for Reducing Court Cases on Pensions

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
25-December-2014 16:42 IST

The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar has directed MoD officials to evolve a policy for reducing court cases in service matters including pensions. In a message on the occasion of the Good Governance Day today, he said, minimization of litigation is a priority and that issues of cantonments pertaining to land management and civilian interface should also be resolved without delay.

Following is the full text of the message of the Defence Minister:

“The Government of India is celebrating 25th December as Good Governance Day. Ministry of Defence takes pride in joining this occasion for bringing in transparency and accountability in its working. Greater emphasis is being given to the use of technology in order to make the system prompt and efficient and to bridge the divide between the Government and the citizens

Ministry of Defence has adopted a number of Good Governance initiatives like promoting e-Governance, e-Procurement, Biometric Attendance, Jeevan Pramaan, Digitization of records, online disposal of Public Grievances and use of online monitoring of the status of Court/Tribunal/NHRC cases. An Intra-MoD Portal has been developed for supporting these applications in the Ministry.

Directorate General of Defence Estates have made good progress in digitization of Defence Land records. History division of the Ministry has also digitized War Records. Several other digitized records viz. Recruitment Rules, civil lists etc are likely to be placed on our website very soon.

This Ministry is committed to early implementation of One Rank One Pension for the Armed Forces and measures are being taken for the same.

Minimization of litigation is a priority and I have instructed the concerned officers to evolve a policy for reducing court cases in service matters including pensions as well as in issues of cantonments pertaining to land management and civilian interface.

The Public Grievances are being forwarded to the concerned officers using online methods. In this context, I have directed all concerned to accord utmost importance to time- bound disposal of Public Grievances in the Ministry as also regular monitoring of the pendency of Public Grievances by senior officers.

I welcome you all to join this celebration and invite your valuable suggestions and ideas to further the cause of Good Governance. You may post/send your ideas on our email”



From: balakrishnan hariharan <>
Date: 25 December 2014 at 07:05
To: Balakrishnan hariharan <>

Dear Sirs,

1. Naval Pension Office (NAVPEN) has been operationalised at Mankhurd, Mumbai to act as single window organisation to handle retirement activities of all Naval Personnel. NAVPEN had commenced activities related to sailor's pension wef 01 Feb 2014 and officers' pension wef 01 Apr 2014 to facilitate speedy settlement of pensionary claims.

2. It has therefore, been decided that in line with the mandate given to NAVPEN to act as single window for redressal of queries/ grievance of all retired personnel, the functioning of 'Samadhan Cell' will shift from IHQ MoD (Navy)/DPA to NAVPEN with immediate effect. The existing Help Desk at NAVPEN will henceforth be called as the "Samadhan Cell".

The contact details of NAVPEN (Samadhan Cell) are as follows:-

NAVPEN (Naval Pension Office)
INS Tanaji
Cheetah Camp, Mankhurd
Mumbai - 400088

Tele- 022-25075600 (LOIC), 022-25075602/25075455

Tollfree No. - 1800220560, Extn-46 (officers)

Fax- 022-25075653/25575605

Email -

Warm Regards,

Team DPA

Wednesday, 24 December 2014



(Please note that we have, for daily
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to the old one
Figure 81 denotes the year of our raising.
We were THIRTY YEARS YOUNG on 21 Nov 2011)


Wishing You and Your Family

A Merry Christmas and
A Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year
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And Unprecedented Prosperity In The Coming Years
And More Than Anything Else
Our Most Cherished Goal


PHONE 011 24675078, 26110710, MOB 0 9811007629.


23 Dec 2014 
Shri Manohar Parrikar
Hon’ble Raksha Mantri

104, South Block
New Delhi -110011


Dear Hon’ble Raksha Mantriji,

IESM is grateful to you for granting us time on 09 Dec 2014 to discuss One Rank One Pension (OROP) with one of the stake holders, in spite of your busy schedule when Parliament is in session.

You patiently heard our point of view on this issue which has been agitating Armed Forces Veterans since 1982. You showed your sincerity to view this issue from different angles which unfortunately landed in your lap. The definition of OROP has been succinctly brought out by the written answer given in hon’ble parliament by Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Raksha Rajya Mantri on 02 Dec 2014. We felt now that there is no doubt in definition of OROP even in Central Government. So we felt your meeting is only to chalk out a road map for implementation of OROP.

Since the definition is very simple to understand in that pre – 2014 pensioner of same rank with same length of service will get same pension as if he retired on 31 Mar 2014 and his pension is hiked on 01 Jul 2015, we were happy that Government letter for implementation may not take much time to be issued. We even offered services of knowledgeable Armed Forces veterans to help out CGDA in making tables for various ranks indicating pensions rank wise and length of service wise and arrive at arrears w.e.f. 01 Apr 2014. Your reply to query posed by Col Vinay Thapar in The Headlines Today conclave that 100% satisfaction is not possible in real life has caused much consternation in the minds of veterans. We are getting anxious calls from veterans not only from India but also from those settled abroad on meaning of 80 to 95% of OROP.

Sir, the Govt of India is already violating hon’ble Supreme Court judgment delivered in Maj Gen SPS Vains Vs Union of India where the apex court has made unambiguous judgment that senior ranked veteran cannot get pension less than a his junior. Today a Maj Gen retired in 2005 gets lesser pension than a Brigadier retired in Nov 2014.

The OROP stands sanctioned by the Govt. It has to be implemented 100 percent as per the approved definition and the executive orders issued by the Govt. Also there has been an assurance by the PM, RM on a number of occasions that actual OROP will be implemented. Any dilution to the approved definition will not be OROP.

May we, therefore request you to accept the DGL prepared by the Service HQs without any dilution and issue instructions for the implementation of OROP as assured by you within 30 days ie by 09 Jan 2015. Sir, there is extreme pressure from the Ex Servicemen to start a countrywide agitation to get Justice. They are getting restless since 10 months have passed when OROP was sanctioned on 17 Feb 2014, but its implementation has not been done till date. We had held in- abeyance our planned agitation from 03 to 16 Dec 2014 after getting positive feedback that the Govt is likely to implement OROP soon.

Sir, We have not understood why CGDA cannot consult Armed Forces Veterans on OROP like Ministry of Pensions, Personnel and Public Grievance does whenever any letter is issued affecting pensioners does. It appears, sir, you as Rakshma Mantri is very clear on OROP but it is the IDAS Officers in Min of Def who are found to be stumbling block trying to find out difficulties in arriving at Govt letter on implementation where there are no difficulties at all.

Your discussion with Dr Subrahmanyam Swamy of BJP on 21 Dec 2014 where in you are reported to have said implementation after taking concerns of Ex-Servicemen is likely to be effected by budget session in Feb 2015 has left us wondering as to where is the delay now? If funds are the problem as you expressed to IESL delegation which met you on 10 Dec 2014, IESM has suggested mode of payment of arrears to widows first, PBOR second and Officers last.

May we request you to expedite issue of Govt Notification for the implementation of OROP as per the approved definition and as per the DGL prepared by the Service HQs.

With regards

Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)
Chairman IESM
Mob: +919312404269, 0124-4110570
Email ID:

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


There are more than one crore pensioners in the country including pensioners from Central Govt and Defense personnel. This figure does not include pensioners drawing their pension from state and UT Govts, PSUs, Municipal Corporations, Councils and other local bodies. As informed earlier, in order to curtail the hardship caused to pensioners, the Government of India had launched “Jeevan Pramaan”, a digital life certificate based on Aadhaar Biometric Authentication, aimed at further simplifying the process of submission of life certificate and facilitating accuracy and timeliness in disbursal of pensions. A web portal was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on November 10, 2014.

Now RBI has given instructions to Banks vide RBI/2014-15/343 DGBA.GAD.H- 2529/45.01.001/2014-15 dated 9th Dec '14,on implementation of the same as follows.

"The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer
All agency banks

Dear Sir
Introduction of Digital Life Certificates for Pensioners

As per the present scheme for payment of government pension, pensioners are required to furnish a life certificate in November every year to the bank concerned for continued receipt of pension without interruption. Even though this requirement has been liberalised to enable pensioners to submit their life certificate at any branch of the pension disbursing bank, several pensioners find it difficult to submit the certificates in time for various reasons.

2. In order to alleviate the hardship caused to pensioners, the Government of India has since launched “Jeevan Pramaan”, a digital life certificate based on Aadhaar Biometric Authentication, aimed at further simplifying the process of submission of life certificate and facilitating accuracy and timeliness in disbursal of pensions. In order to facilitate implementation of Jeevan Pramaan, a web portal ( was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on November 10, 2014. Copy of a brochure on Jeevan Pramaan brought out by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Government of India, explaining the details of the scheme and its benefits, is enclosed for your information.

3. To facilitate introduction of Jeevan Pramaan, the Central Pension Accounting Office, Ministry of Finance, Government of India (CPAO) has amended the Scheme of Payment of Pensions to Central Government Civil Pensioners. A copy of the relative Office Memorandum dated November 14, 2014, issued by the CPAO, enclosing Correction Slip no. 22 dated November 10, 2014, and the process for getting digital life certificates by the pensioners, is attached. Copies of the memorandum has already been sent by CPAO to all banks and to the governments of all States and Union Territories. Similar amendments to their respective pension regulations have also been made by different Central Government Ministries (e.g., Ministry of Railways and Department of Posts). The Indian Banks Association has also issued a circular dated November 22, 2014, in this regard to their member banks.

4. Once fully implemented, agency bank branches will be able to obtain information about the digital life certificate of their pensioner customers by logging on to the website of Jeevan Pramaan and searching for the certificate or by downloading through their Core Banking Systems. Pensioners will also be able to forward to their bank branches the relative link to their digital life certificate by email/sms.

5. All agency banks disbursing government pension may take necessary action to implement and benefit from the scheme and issue necessary instructions to all their branches concerned and dealing staff. Banks may, in addition, work towards creating awareness about this facility among their pensioner customers through their branches, websites and other means. Banks may also suitably amend the FAQs on pension payments posted on their websites, and provide a link to the website of Jeevan Pramaan.

Yours faithfully
(G. Sreekumar)
Chief General Manager

Monday, 15 December 2014

Supreme Court Rejects Centre’s Appeal Denying Benefit to Disabled Soldiers

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Posted: December 12, 2014 9:52 am

“They are in the line of fire. They sacrifice their life for you and for us. This is the least you could do for them.” It was the message by the Supreme Court to the Centre, which was fighting against the ex-servicemen of Army over a modest increase in their disability pension.

Coming to the rescue of around 15,000 soldiers, the court rejected an appeal by the government against an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which had extended the benefits of an extra amount in their pensions on account of disability due to service conditions.

On Wednesday, a bench led by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu expressed its disgruntlement over the government’s insistence on denying the benefit to the soldiers on the ground that it would burden the exchequer with an additional Rs. 1500 crore.

“So what? The Government can have at least this much of budget for its soldiers who are dying for the people of this country everyday. What is the point of having these memorials and placards saluting our defence personnel if you litigate against the disabled soldiers till the Supreme Court. You should pay them,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and A K Sikri.

With the writing on the wall, the government’s law officer chose not to argue the appeal further and said they would comply with the order. The bench disposed of around 880 appeals against the AFT order on this issue.

Among those who will be benefited by this order is also Army’s former Vice-Chief Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, who lost his leg in a gun battle in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. Oberoi soldiered on without any financial benefit whilst in service but was categorised as 70 per cent disabled when he retired as the army’s vice chief in 2001.

When the 5th Pay Commission enhanced this to 75 per cent, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) refused to pay. On Oberoi’s petition, the Chandigarh bench of the AFT, in 2010 allowed “broad-banding” benefits to all disabled personnel irrespective of when they left service.

Under the “broad-banding” policy, three bands were to judge disability across the board. Up to 50 per cent disability, a person was to be given the benefits of a 50 percent disability holder; a person with 51-75 per cent disability was to be given 75 per cent disability benefits; while a person with 76-100 per cent disability was to be given 100 per cent disability benefits. The policy was introduced to avoid subjectivity and variance in calculating disability percentage.

This broad-banding was accepted and implemented by the MoD but the benefits were granted to only those who were removed from service by the government on medical grounds, and not to those who retired after their full service. The AFT removed this anomaly and held that all the soldiers shall get the benefit under the policy.

The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW), which comes under the MoD and looks into the grievances and other pension matters of retired defence personnel, filed an appeal against the AFT judgement in February 2012 despite an adverse opinion by the Army Headquarters.

PM Modi First Litmus Test With Babus

Times of India : 14 Dec 2014
Pension Promise in Peril?

Nalin Mehta Dec 14, 2014,
Military veterans claim babus are thwarting PM Modi's poll pledge of one-rank-one-pension by inflating its cost estimates

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 pension for-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 one rank-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-Servicemen 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."