One Rank One Pension OROP Scheme For Ex-Servicemen

One Rank One Pension OROP Scheme For Ex-servicemen

Protecting the sovereignty and freedom of any nations is the top priority of the government. Serving in the army is no mean task. The soldiers lay their lives done on the front to save their motherland against any enemy attacks. They not only exterminate the militants, entering the country, but also play a significant role in protecting the commoners from the violence, originating inside the borders. The army persons are approached to lend a helping hand in providing relief to the countrymen at times of natural calamities as well.

When the rights of these heroes are violated and they are denied of the benefits that is rightfully theirs, the entire nation can fall prey to a sorry state of affairs. The same situation is prevalent in the Union of India as the retired soldiers and war veterans feel that they have been denied of the economic benefits, which the other civil servants enjoy.

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One Rank One Pension OROP Scheme 

OROP is the short form for the ‘One Rank One Pension’ program that was undertaken by the government. The retired soldiers and war veterans had raised the demand for payment of equal pension scheme for them as well. The scheme was motivated by the decision of Indian National Congress government, under Indira Gandhi in the year 1973. The step was taken after the win in the Bangladesh War of 1971. Later on, the decision of cutting the pension of the soldiers by 20% to 40% and increasing the pension of the civilians by 20% was agreed upon. This was done without any consultation with the army higher authorities.

In 1986, Indian National Congress under Rajiv Gandhi announced that the salary of the scheme of Rank Pay will be implemented. Under this program, the basic salary of all the high ranking officers in infantry, navy and air force were reduced dramatically. This was also not discussed with the army authority. Under the conditions, which prevailed, the gap between the army and the police pay was widened, with the formers losing out. The army officials and the veterans were infuriated and many petitions were submitted but all in vain. The army and the veterans started mistrusting the MOD and all for good reasons.

During the Sixth Central Pay Commission, under the Indian National Congress under Dr. Manmohan Singh, the policy of Rank Pay was discarded and its place was taken by Pay bands and Grade pay. Under the scheme, not mush was done to make the position of the retired soldiers and the veterans better. What happened was enough to drill the last nail in the coffin. Many posts were created in the police sector and rules were formed so that they can get the best pensions and other economic benefits.

All these acts of indifference towards the soldiers and the war veterans was snowballing and the later part of 2008 saw a huge movement led by the retired soldiers, veterans and soldiers who were currently serving the army. Though a committee was set up under the decree of the parliament, it only cleared the air by saying that the claims of the armed forces were not false. The latest bill, associated with the OROP structure was declared on 6th September, 2015, under the current Modi Government.

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OROP under Modi Government

The system, implemented after 40 years, assures equal allowance to military persons who have retired while serving in a particular rank and for a specific tenure of service. It will not be judged on the basis of the day they are retiring. According to the Modi Government, around R5, 500 crore rupees have been allocated towards this program.

Key features of the program

Before forming any conclusive idea about the scheme, you must know about the key features of the program. The following are some of the interesting features of the scheme:

  • Retired personnel expect to receive a year’s pending pay in as the pension amount. This pension must be provided according to the revised rates. This will help the persons in getting more economic benefits.
  • The retirement age of the employees in the service departments is ranging from 60 to 85 years. This is not the same in the case of people serving in the armed forces. Most of the soldiers have the average retirement age of 35 to 37 years. Apart from this, there is a certain percentage, estimated 12 to 13 percent who work till the age of 40 to 54 years.
  • Another claim is that the government does not have the power to dismiss any other government employee to leave the job on the ground of disability. But the law is different in case of the people serving in the armed forces.
  • As the pension amount and rate is calculated as per the guidelines of the pay commissions, the pension amount is also full of disparities. Due to this, the pension amount of a high ranking army officer who retired earlier is less than the amount that a lower ranking officer who retired later, is getting.
  • A lot of money is required to implement the new laws of the scheme. An estimated amount of Rs. 8,300 crore must be allotted to pay all the army people. One Rank One Pension plan will have to be made in such an order that it will be able to benefit all 25 lakh retired soldiers.
  • This schemer and resolving all the issues, associated with it was one of the agendas that were published in the election manifesto promised. Now it is the right time for the government to stay true to the promises they made.
  • One of the main reasons behind the fall of the UPA government was that the BJP government pointed out that the sum of 500 crores, allocated by UPA was not going to work and if they came to power, they will mend things for betterment.
  • According to the rule of the Supreme Count of the country, providing the pension to all persons is not a kindness that the government is meeting out to them. Getting the right pension is their right.
  • The payment of the amounts is to be given not only to the war veterans and to soldiers, but also to the wives of the deceased war heroes and also to the wives of those who died on the line of action.

Grievances of the Jawans

There are many issues, which have been bothering the retired soldiers. As their demands were not being met in the appropriate manner, they submitted petitions in the court. Even after many meetings between the top authorities of the army and the government departments, no conclusion could be drawn on the matter. This only angered the jawans and they marched on the capital streets and took on a fast till death protest.

The following are some of the common issues that the government needs to look into:

  • The war veterans required OROP to be implemented from April 1, 2014 and 2015 to be the operational year. But the government implemented it from 1st July, 2014. The base year has been considered to be 2013.
  • The veterans still think that the amount that has been allocated for the scheme will not be able to meet all the aspects. This will assist them in being benefited from the economic point of view.
  • Though the administration has proposed that reviews will be done after every five consecutive years, the war veterans demand that the review must be done after every financial year.
  • The war veterans also demanded that all the soldiers must be incorporated in the plan. They raised their cry of concern as the administrative heads decided that the scheme will only be applicable for those who have not opted for voluntary retirement.

To ensure the war heroes and the ex-armed force members that their benefits will be properly looked after, a committee has been formed, headed by a single member, for taking a close look at meeting all reasonable demands of the heroes who served the nation with their lives.

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