For the average citizen, the question is: what really is the OROP agitation all about?
The above question is raised not only by our pensioners but also by our civilians after the suicide of Vn. Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal.
Firstly one should know that pension is not a bounty and it is known as deferred wages. The employer has to contribute for the employee every month for paying pension to the employee. Here the employer is GOI and the employee is the staff. Before third pay commission the Defence establishment was having a separate pay cell which had surplus funds, It was because those who were sent out of service either on their own request, after completion of engagement tenure of 9 years or in the name of reduction of service establishment were not paid any pension benefits because the pensionable service was 15 years. To keep the force young and fit the jawans were sent out of service at the age of 33 to 35 years and were paid above 70% of their last drawn as pension. But for civil services the pension rules were totally different. To earn the pension they were supposed to serve 33 years and the pension was fixed 1/3 of their last drawn.
India witnessed three wars within a period of 10 years and the GOI was in deep trouble after 1971 war. It was that time the GOI decided to dismantle this Defence Pay Cell and merge with Common Pay cell along with the civilians. Then came the Third pay commission headed by Hon.Shri.Ragubhir Dayal took three years (1970 to 1973) to submit the report. This was the first pay commission without any military person as member. This was the biggest and first blow for the soldier and the family pensioners. Some of the main points are given for reference.
It controversially recommended that military pension be de-linked from military service conditions to conform to civil pensions.
On the basis of the 3 CPC recommendations Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister in the Indian National Congress(INC) government, took an "ex-parte" decision and terminated One Rank, One Pension (OROP), the basis of military pensions till then.
In 1973, the Government, implemented the following changes in pension and service conditions of the Armed Forces:
- Increased the pension of civilians, who retired at 58, by 20 percent, from 30 to 50 percent.
- Reduced the pension of soldier, Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs), and Junior commissioned Officers (JCOs), by 20 percent, from 70 to 50 percent of basic pay, with the caveat that for full pension the minimum service was 33 years.
- An exception was made for the armed forces, the mandatory service for full pension was reduced to 25 year. But as soldiers in 1973 retired after 15 years service, at the age of 33-36, they got less than 30 percent of the pay as pension.
- Soldiers pension was thus decreased not by 20 percent but 40 percent from 70 to 30 percent.
The government in addition to down grading military pensions downgraded the status of soldier by "infantry soldier withless than three years’ service" with a "semi-skilled / unskilled labour". These decisions were based on the recommendation, and endorsement of K B Lall, Defence Secretary. The decision was announced two months after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the victor of the 1971 war, retired from service. The reason for depressing the armed Forces pensions given by the government was to ensure ‘equivalence’ of Armed Forces pensions with civilians. This was accepted by all the three chiefs of staffs.
The actual sufferers were only Jawans and not the defence officers. When it was pointed out about the retirement of age of soldier, they cleverly gave weightage as per the ranks and calculated the pension proportionately. The Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi has assured One Rank One Pension to compensate the loss to jawans. But nothing happened afterwards. First time this issue was started in 1976 by men but was not successful due to various reasons unknown.
The concept of OROP is mainly for the JCO/Ors only because of early retirement and to have an honorable life after retirement. Even though the officers were not affected financially, their own status which was higher than the Civil Services was affected. Even then how 3rd CPC was accepted and who was the beneficiary is unknown.
4th CPC constituted in 1983 was in favor of Civil Service officers comparing to Armed Forces. This was the second blow for the high ranking officers, they raised the issue of ONE RANK ONE PENSION for the jawans in 1984 and started protesting against the beurocrats and GOI after 11 years (1973-1984) but the actual motive was something else which was known to them only because those associations never came out in support of OROP when jawans were affected.
Back in 1985, when this demand first surfaced, there were more than twelve categories of pensioners depending upon their dates of retirement and certain options exercised by them. It was then the high powered committee headed by Mr. K.P. Singh Deo coined the term OROP.
Over the next 13 years, these categories were rationalized in different phases, and the Fifth Pay Commission was finally able to reduce all pensioners to just two categories, the pre-1996 retirees and the post-Fifth Pay Commission pensioners. It was widely expected that the Sixth Pay Commission would either narrow the gap further or eliminate the difference altogether.
The 6th Pay Commission rejected OROP as impracticable. After long protests and agitations, the GOI appointed a committee headed by Shri. Bhagat Singh Koshyari a BJP member to examine the OROP issue. The committee has declared the definition for OROP.
OROP termed as “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”.
On 27 February 2014, the MOD, in a meeting to discuss implementation of OROP attended by AK Antony, Defence Minister, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, RK Mathur, Defence Secretary, Sangita Gairola, Secretary Department of Ex-Servicemen's Welfare, Arunava Dutt, Secretary Defence Finance, Vice Chiefs of the three Service, and Adjutant General of the Army, endorsed the Koshiyari Committee's definition of OROP .
DID WE GET ACTUAL OROP AS PER THE DEFINITION GIVEN BY THE COMMITTEE?
The answer to this is very simple. Its big ‘NO’. The jawans (JCO/ORs) did not get OROP at all. The GOI have once again done bridging the gap between past and present pensioners.
Why we should not support OROP agitation at present situation?
Since beginning the motive behind the OROP agitation is purely selfish and the JCO/ORs were used for the benefits of Officers only. To substantiate JCO/ORs have some proofs such as:
Nowhere in the anomaly have they taken up the correct definition of OROP in favor of JCO/ORs. They call this as one rank five pension because of the 5 revision of pension. But as per the OROP definition it is very clear that no where the pension should be paid group wise. Why didn’t they raise this point so far?
Why the OROP chart which was originally prepared by Service Head quarters was not brought in to effect? CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL PROPOSED CHART
These two major anomalies were never discussed from the very beginning neither in the media nor during agitation.
We request all the JCOs/ORs organizations to create awareness among the veterans about this so that no one in the future does the same mistake of sacrificing his life. And we request you all to join with any veterans’ association which is managed by JCOs and ORs for Jawans betterment. JAI HIND..!
1. For Sepoy equivalent who completed 15 years of service
Basic as per Service HQs proposed for all group – Rs. 8365
What he is getting now – ‘X’ Gp – Rs 7145 & ‘Y’ Gp – Rs 6665
2. For Naik equivalent who completed 15 years of service
Basic as per Service HQs proposed for all group– Rs. 8760
What he is getting now – ‘X’ Gp – Rs 8375 & ‘Y’ Gp – Rs 7170
3. For Havildar equivalent who completed 20 years of service
Basic as per Service HQs proposed for all group– Rs. 9810
What he is getting now – ‘X’ Gp – Rs 9055 & ‘Y’ Gp – Rs 7795
4. For Naib Subedar equivalent who completed 20 years of service
Basic as per Service HQs proposed for all group– Rs. 11635
What he is getting now – ‘X’ Gp – Rs 10480 & ‘Y’ Gp – Rs 8755