– Inderpreet Kaur / Blogger, Book Reviewer & Writer
As I write my thoughts on #OROP I feel disheartened that my words might only add to the already overflowing pile of papers that have written pretty much all there is to write about One Rank, One Pension. Will it be lost like a ripple at sea or will it urge whole of India to unite for supporting their soldiers – the first defence of our nation!
As an army daughter and army wife I feel ashamed to share, discuss and talk about OROP as the debate and questions are endless; and results lost in murky red tape! More so since army is all about dignity and when we lay our heart bare on this issue time and again only to be side lined by sensationalism and silly questions or silence and media blackout I feel humiliated. It is as if we are trying to snatch from other what is not right fully ours. If not for the ground reality that I have seen as an army wife when we felicitate “Veer Nari’s” (War widows) at various AWWA functions I would not utter a world but those old, ailing and totally dependent women who need a voice. I am glad they have joined the veterans at Jantar Mantar.
This issue has snowballed into an ‘Elephant In The Room’ that led to the media blackout of the Jantar Mantar Rally on 12/09/15. If you follow the media you will find none of the vocal leaders or politicians’, even celebrities and children of Army personnel are talking about OROP barring a select few.
“OROP implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.”
OROP is indeed a defined benefit pension and different from the National Pension System (NPS) which is a contributory pension scheme. A person who has a short working life in the Armed Services cannot contribute enough during that period to earn an honourable pension. Hence OROP.
OROP is not just for the army man, it is also for the army wife, army child, army mother and army widow. It is for those who stand by and watch when their loved one going off to defend the nation, or for a tube well rescue, J&K floods, Mumbai terrorism or Kargil insurgency, and all the while praying for a safe return, knowing the odds fully well.
India is still moving at an snail’s pace because the British left Indian Army with a fixed pension that was 70% of last pay drawn as the ORs and JCOs retire young at 35-37 years, so higher liabilities = higher pension. Similarly for Civil servants they fixed it at 30% of the last pay drawn since they retire at 58-60 years. Lesser liabilities = lesser pay.
After the 71 war the Congress government revised this and to bring both Army and civil servants on par changed the pension to 50% of last pay drawn after the 1976 pay commission. This was a reduction for the army while an increase for the civil servants but no change in the retirement age of the army men in order to keep the army young. Civil servants saw a hike from 30% to 50% and Army saw a loss from 70% to 50% without increase in the age of service. Upon objection by the army they were told that compensation would be offered through OROP but it was not implemented due to the untimely death of Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
In case you wish to read more, these links will help –
OROP is an honourable pension. It was a decision taken by the UPA government and reiterated by the NDA government. Everyone is very happily celebrating the 65 War functions – but don’t you get a feeling of guilt that those who fought and won the 65 War for India are sitting on roads and demanding justice??? What a shame!!!
Let us not debate anymore but support its full implementation, spread the word urge all Indians, both civilian and army to stand by the veterans. #SupportOROP
Will you wait for another war to realize the worth of #IndianArmy?
Would let your parents/ grandparents fast under a hot sun endlessly for their right?
Will you support us, the Army family for a dignified life?