Tuesday, 18 August 2015

One Rank, One Pension - A Need or An Issue

Good Morning Friends,
"One Rank One Pension (OROP)", this might ring a bell because this issue has been in news for a while and specially on the Independence Day when our Prime Minister included OROP in his speech from the Ramparts of Red Fort. The issue got elevated on the eve of independence day when several veteran Ex-servicemen were forced to end their peaceful demonstration against the Government at Jantar Mantar. You must be wondering why they are demonstrating. The ex-service men who have devoted their life to the country and spent their golden days of life in the extreme situations. After all this, one must question that what is the need of it and what is the OROP. Let us discuss below about the minute details of OROP.

What is One Rank, One Pension?

One of the logical definition of ‘one rank, one pension’ is that all the retired soldiers of the same rank and length of service will receive the same pension, regardless of which year they retire. As of now, the date of retirement determines the amount of pension. With each Pay Commission coming up with its recommendations every 10 years, the military veterans who retire early, receive less pension as compared to those who retired later with the same rank and length of service. Under OROP, a sepoy who retired in 1995, for an instance, would get the same amount of pension as the one who retired in 1996.

Ex-servicemen drawing pensions will benefit from the OROP scheme, especially those who retired before 2006. Why? Because at present, pensioners who retired before 2006 draw less pension than their counterparts and even their juniors. The scheme will benefit all three services - air force, navy and army.
The United Progressive Alliance government in their interim budget had announced an amount of Rs 500 crore for the scheme. However, NDA’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget announcement allotted Rs 1,000 crore for the scheme.
Officials within the ministry of defence have been against the implementation of OROP, citing financial, administrative and legal impediments.
In 2011, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare of the MoD pointed out to a parliamentary committee that OROP was not feasible to implement since documents of military personnel are weeded out after 25 years -- which is not true. In reality, the Pension Payment Orders of pensioners, which contain all relevant details such as the rank last held and the length of service, are retained during the lifetime of each pensioner and then during the lifetime of the family pensioner in case of his demise. Further, all these details are available in a document called 'Long Roll' which is maintained in perpetuity in terms of Regulation 592 of the Regulations for the Army. Another reason given by those opposing the scheme was that “other employees” would also start demanding OROP.

So when will it get implemented?
It seems that NDA Govt. is working on it and they might announce it in the later part of their service. Ex-Servicemen were one of the key factors in the Modi Govt win in Lok Sabha 2014 elections. So let us hope that those who deserve should get it soon.


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