One Rank One Pension correcting the ‘distortions’
“Please do not conveniently forget that after 1973 when OROP had its genesis, we have had the Vajpayee government too who prevaricated when it came to decide on OROP.”
By Air Marshal SY Savur
One Rank One Pension has been misinterpreted by many to give a distorted picture of what exactly the Ex-Servicemen (20 lakh of them) and the widows (6 lakh of them) of ESM are raising their voices and resorting to means that normally are not their methods of drawing attention to grievances and seeking redressal.
What is OROP? Simply defined by the Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Koshyiari is that an ex-serviceman of one rank (say Havildar) with similar years of service (say 20 years) should draw the same amount of Pension (say Rs 11000 per month) whether he retired from the Army in 1973 (3rd Pay Commission) or 1986 (4th Pay Commission) or 1996 ( 5th Pay Commission) as the one drawing pension (say Rs 13500) if he retired after 1.1.2006 ( 6th Pay Commission).
Now debunking some myths/distortions of truth
Distortion 1: OROP is not in the terms and conditions of service for defence forces when they opted to enrol.
Facts: Who decides the terms and conditions?
Obviously, the Government of India.
Was OROP decided by the Govt of India?
Obviously Yes again. The UPA Govt declared OROP in the Parliament and included in the interim budget 2014-15. The BJP led NDA Govt reiterated OROP in the Budget 2014-15. Therefore, there is Govt sanctity for OROP and the consequent change in terms and conditions.
Ex-Bureaucrats may wish to refresh their minds that Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU) was by Govt approval but not in their terms and conditions of service before 2009. Many bureaucrats are drawing NFU without qualms because it is now in their terms and conditions of service.
Distortion 2: OROP will balloon in subsequent years and the State cannot bear the cost.
Facts: Defence Pension budget includes the pensions of Defence civilians.
Secondly, if any one cared to look at the PCDA (Pensions) website and circulars 500 and 502, they would have seen tables of pension for each rank commencing at 15 years of service and attaining a plateau at 28 and above years of service. It will be the same in OROP.
The above example of the Havildar (or any other ESM of any other rank and years of service) would show that even with a 3% annual increment, he will attain the top of the table and thereafter financial effect will be ZERO.
Thirdly, Rs 8300 crore (of which Rs 6500 crore will be for Other Ranks) may be applicable only to those who have not yet reached the ceiling and in year 2015-16, the 3% increase may be over Rs 8590 crore not Rs 20, 000 crore or Rs 22, 000 crore.
Our learned FM is reported to have stated that OROP of Rs 8300 crore cannot be paid because of “resource crunch.” ESM are aghast that such economy with the truth hides some truths: – Revenue foregone i.e gifted away, is to the tune of Rs 5.89 lakh crore in 2014-15 crores (nearly seven thousand times the OROP), the Public Sector Banks have been “re-capitalised” (bailed out from their bad decisions to lend to those who will not return the loans) to the extent of Rs 20, 000 crore (250% the amount required for OROP). Where is the resource crunch?
Distortion 3: Arithmetic and Technicalities.
Facts: Arithmetic first. How did the tables in PCDA (P) Circulars 500 and 502 come about? Some formula was used and pensions were enhanced and improved in Jan 2013. So the same formula with a bit of tweaking would produce the OROP tables without any complex arithmetic.
Technicalities would be sorted out by a wise person by looking at payments by CGDA/Naval Pay office/AFCAO in 2013-2014 and a ready-made solution would be obvious if a similarly ranked ESM with similar years of service drawing as pension from 1.4.2014 is compared to those to whom Circulars 500 and 502 are applicable.
Finally, Distortion 4: For those who preach patience (“you waited so many years in the UPA”),
Facts: Please do not conveniently forget that after 1973 when the OROP had its genesis, we have had the Janata, the United Front, the Atal Vajpayee Governments too who prevaricated when it came to decide on OROP.
Secondly, it is unfair and unjust to equate their political leaning against the ESM requesting the “we have a majority Govt” to tell them a “will implement OROP by date” without asking themselves why they need annual increases for doing the same job.
So, whether it was desperate and failed election ploy of UPA-II or the unthinking bravado of the present Government, it is pay up time.
(Air Marshal SY Savur was commissioned in 1966 in the transport aircraft stream of the General Duties (Pilots) later Flying (Pilots) Branch of the Indian Air Force. He retired in 2006 as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command. He has been decorated by the President with Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) for distinguished service of an exceptional order and the Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) for distinguished service of the most exceptional order.)
Read at Economic Times
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