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. In 1973, Indira Gandhi led congress terminated the OROP, the basis for deciding pension of Indian Armed Forces personnel which had been in vogue for 26 years since independence through an exparte administrative order.Despite a demand by protesting ex-servicemen to implement OROP with effect from April 1, 2014, the government has said that arrears would be paid with effect from July 1, 2014, and has pegged the arrears till December, 2015 at Rs 10,900 crore.
The Concept of this Scheme:
OROP Scheme means the same pension to the all army officers those who are working from same time and same rank and same length of service to the date of retirement. As an example, consider an officer ‘A’ who had been in service for 15 years from 1980 to 1995. Also, consider another officer ‘B’ of the same rank and been in service for 15 years from 1995 to 2010. As per the OROP concept, both officers–since having the same rank and same length of service, should get the same pension.The present system of determining pension depends on the last salary drawn. Fifty percent of the last salary drawn is typically the pension over and above which you get the other allowances. In the current system, the importance is given to the last salary drawn, and not the length of the service.
Koshiyari Commitee’s Report:
- Koshiyari committee is a 10 member parliamentary panel form under the chairmanship of Bhagat Singh Koshiyari. They submitted the report in December 2011.
- The committee accept the demands of the veterans and define OROP as: “It implies uniform pension will pay to forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically pass on to the past pensioners.“
- This was accepted by the government as well as the veterans and this definition of the OROP is the basis for the ex-servicemen’s demand for implementation of OROP.
- Despite the report, the UPA government was slow to reach out to the veterans and implement OROP.
- Finally, the UPA government issued the implementation order on 26th February 2014 and released Rs. 500 crores in the interim budget which was grossly inadequate to satisfy the veterans.
When did it first start?
In 1973, Indira Gandhi led congress terminate the OROP, the basis for deciding pension of Indian Forces personnel which was in vogue for 26 years since independence through an expart administrative order. In addition to this, 3rd pay commission increased the pension of civilians and reduced pension of soldiers.
What is the issue with the pension scheme?
- Due to the present model of pension, a lieutenant general who retire in 1995 will get a pension that is 10% lower than a colonel who retired after 2006.
- Similarly, a jawan who retired in 1995 will get a pension which is 80% less than his counterpart who retired on or after 1 January 2006.
- The basic demand underlying OROP is to do away with the anomaly of doing away the disparity.
The causes that inform the OROP protest movement are not pension alone, as armed forces veterans have often tried to make clear, and the parliamentary committee recorded. The issues, veterans emphasize, are of justice, equity, honor, and national security. The failure to address issue of pay-pension equity, and the underlying issue of honor. And is not only an important cause for the OROP protest movement, but its escalation. The causes and grievances that inform OROP protesters and their high ranking supporters. In addition to failure of the government to implement OROP.
That are a string of contentious decision taken by UPA Government, in 2008-9. In the wake of Sixth Central Pay Commission (6 CPC), that sharply degraded Armed Forces pay grades and ranks. Decisions, that have had a radical impact on the armed forces sense of self-esteem, honor, and their trust in the government and security bureaucracy, some of which come to dominate policy under the UPA government, and remain unaddressed by the BJP Government, are outline in the succeeding paragraphs.
What are the challenges in front of this scheme?
- Financial hurdle as the estimated time cost of implementation is 8000-10000 crore rupees. This will increase on every further revision of salary.
- Expenditure on arrears would be around 10000 crore rupees.
- Lead to demands from other army personnel like CRPF, CISF etc.
- It is also an administrative challenge due to lack of records going back to many decades.
What is Rank Pay?
- The Rank pay is a scheme implement by the Rajiv Gandhi led Indian National Congress (INC) in 1986, in the wake of 4th Central Pay Commission that reduced the basic pay of seven armed officers’ ranks of 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain, Majors, Lt. Colonel, Colonels, Brigadiers and their equivalent in the air force and Indian Navy by fixed amounts designated as rank pay.
- The reduction in grade pay apart from causing asymmetries in rank equivalence between officers from IPS and armed forces affected the basic pay, Allowances, promotion prospects, status and pension of thousand officers in the service in Jan 1986 and decades after that.
- The issue of OROP mentioned in the 4th and 5th pay commissions but nothing materialized. This made the veterans protest and return their medals. The government then appointed the Koshiyari committee.
The legacy of rank-pay, and 4CPC, found echo in the 6CPC, and the 7CPC. And continues to be a cause of distrust, false parities and anomalous pay scales. The implementation of BJP Government in 2016 of separate pay matrix for the police, and the armed forces, accentuated the anomalies in time scale pay grades between armed forces officers and the IPS, which had remain unresolved since 1986. When the congress government had reduced the basic pay of armed forces officers relative to police officers. By deducting ‘rank-pay’ from the basic-pay. The 7CPC decision on pay grades for the armed forces called blatantly ‘discriminatory’ by former Chief of Indian Army General Ved P Malik, who said the intent was to degrade armed forces ranks in comparison with police time scale ranks.
What is the next step of this Scheme?
- Supreme Court of India, after 6th Pay commission, suggested either the inclusion of representation of armed forces in the central pay commission, or to constitute separate armed forces pay commission. This must implement.
- The government should resolve the issue of civil-military disparity as well as the combat, non-combat officers’ disparity in time bound manner.
- This is necessary to honor the military and give them what is rightfully theirs.
Support to this scheme:
Four former chiefs of the Armed Forces of India, namely General S F Rodrigues, former COAS, and Admiral L. Ramdas, Arun Prakash and Sureesh Mehta, former Chiefs of Naval Staff, in an open letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on 13 August 2015, warned that the denigration and humiliation of veterans, and the Government handling of veterans and armed Forces issues, pose grave “implication for national security”.
What is One Rank, One pension?
Ans:- The ‘one rank, one pension’ means that retired soldiers of the same rank and length of service. They will receive the same pension, regardless of when 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. Because they have not the same rank and length of service. Under OROP, a sepoy who retired in 1995, for instance. They would get the same amount of pension as the one who retired in 1996.
Who will get benefit of this scheme?
Ans:- 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.
Why ministry is taking time to implement this scheme?
Ans:- 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 point out to a parliamentary committee. The 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 retain during the lifetime of each pensioner. Then during the lifetime of the family pensioner in case of his demise.
Further, all these details are available in a document call ‘Long Roll’. Which is maintain 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. To know more, please http://desw.gov.in/orop
When did OROP Scheme will become reality?
Ans:- After several protests and demands. The Manmohan Singh government towards its fag-end agreed in principle to clear the scheme in 2013. Realising the importance of correcting the wrong, the Narendra Modi government and the prime minister himself gave renewed hope to the veterans. By announcement of the implementation of the OROP scheme “as soon as possible”. On April 9, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “All hurdles, including a political clearance on its financial implications, have been removed. Now the actual calculation and administrative details are being work out. We are sure to get the scheme rolling in the next few weeks.”