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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

"1:2200000 ratio"- OROP is a cruel joke played on POTOs.

How will it be if a rich man is named as 'Beggar' and a wise man is named as  'Fool'? It will be akin to quoting the early retirement as a reason and naming the benefit as 'OROP'.
The nomenclature, one rank one pension popularly known as OROP is a misnomer vis-a-vis the reasons for which and the grounds on which the OROP was demanded by our leaders.
If we go back to the basics and study the reasons for which the OROP demand was made, we would understand that the term OROP is completely inappropriate.
What are the primary reasons for which the OROP was demanded? As I understand there are three main reasons for the same.
The first and the foremost reason is
" 80-85% of our jawans retire early at 33-37 years of age in order to keep the profile of forces young and fighting fit". Then the next natural question is who are these 80-85%, retire at an young age of 33-37? The answer is: 100% of them are NCOs & JCOs.
Then the next question is how does OROP help the above category of people? It does not help them much for the simple reason that OROP is more beneficial to senior ranks and seniors within the rank and for those who served longer and retired later. It may not be out of place to recall the comments of Group of Ministers (GOM) constituted to examine the demand of OROP that the bridging of gap between the past and present defence service pensioners especially of the lowest three ranks is absolutely necessary.
The traditional and conventional arguments like that no junior should get more Pension than his seniors and those who served longer should get higher pension etc. run contrary to this first reason for which the OROP was demanded. OROP is an abnormal solution to an abnormal situation arising out of early retirement of our soldiers in public interest. So, such arguments in reality curtail the due compensation payable to early retirees and at their cost, benefit those who retired later.
No doubt that the seniority for the purpose of computing service/retiring pension should be the length of service. But the seniority for OROP should be different and depend on the length of retirement. The one who retired early should be senior to those who retired later and only the acceptance of such a concept would genuinely and adequately compensate those who retired early for the national cause of "keeping the profile of forces young and fighting fit".
Now let us examine the second reason. " The pension of defence personnel was cut from 75% to 50% in 1973. The OROP will compensate that drastic reduction made in the pension".
Whose pension was cut from 75% to 50% in 1973? The answer is again- NCOs & JCOs' pension.
What happened to the pension of defence service officers and civilian officials?  The defence service officer's pension was not touched and it continues to be at the pre-1973 rate of 50% even today. The civilian officials pension was enhanced to 50% from the pre-1973 rate of 33%.
Therefore even on the basis of the second reason as above,  the concept of OROP, which is a misnomer,  is applicable only to NCOs & JCOs and not for others as their pension was never reduced. On the other hand it was enhanced for civilian officials.
Now let us come to the third reason on which the OROP demand was made. This is an important reason. The argument is that the civilian officials who superannuate at the age of 60 and serve for 33 or more years will enjoy the benefit  of 2 additional pay commissions. Their pay at the time of retirement would have increased by 18-20 increments if they are not promoted even once and as a result the amount of pension would increase by 9-10 increments. This itself will result in 30% more  pension for them than their uniformed counterparts.
The question here is: does not this logic apply for defence services officers, most of whom retire after 30 or more years of service? Of course some of them do opt to retire voluntarily after 20 years of service on personal or professional grounds. They are the exception rather than the rule.
This reason could also apply to the JCOs who have extended their service and served to the maximum possible period. Of course, this number is much much smaller when compared with those who have retired on completion of initial term of engagement.
It will be clear from the third reason also that only NCOs and JCOs are eligible for OROP although it is a misnomer.
Therefore, the term OROP is contradictory to all the reasons on which it's demand was made. It gives an altogether different meaning by which only  "the others" are benefitted. It is misinterpreted and misrepresented by the vested interests for their own gain and benefit. In short, the OROP is a cruel joke being played on those who actually deserve(d) it.
There could be an argument that those who retire early have an opportunity of re - employment and second career opportunities. No doubt. But is that a guaranteed opportunity at the time of retirement? NO. This is just a gamble and some of us do get employed in organised sectors like Government departments and PSUs not because of any policy of GOI but purely on the merit of the individuals. However large number of  XSM fall into the hands of unscrupulous security service / house keeping contractors and get exploited and under paid. This needs no statistics or evidence. It can be seen by everyone, everywhere in this country. Therefore this argument does not hold water and falls flat on face.
From the above we can conclude that what we need is fair and adequate compensation for the early truncation of our career for a national cause. It does not matter by whatever name it is called.
It should not be combined or compared with whatever pension being paid. It should be treated separately and applied uniformly among the early retirees, discharged in public interest.
In conclusion it may be noted that the as long as the OROP is based on only two elements viz. the rank held at the time of retirement and length of service there will be pulls and pushes & arguments and counter arguments within the forces. This could also prompt the para military personnel and civil pensioners to demand the OROP. The most important element that is missing now is the age of the time of retirement. If it is made that OROP would apply only to those pensioners who are retired/ discharged in public interest within the specified upper age limit of say 40 or 45 years of age, all axes will fall silent and the benefit will reach the truly deserving personnel.
Sgt MPKaran
Karnataka Chapter AFVAI.

1 comment:

  1. This circular 547&548 has become a real sore head to POTOS neither Banks nor DPDOs are able to extract meaning properly and are paying arrears as their will and DESW are looking and and enjoying the happenings and nobody is correcting. what is the state of affair in our largest democracy in the world towards ESM.