1. Editorial: Drop the OROP

Editorial: Drop the OROP

One Rank, One Pesnsion: It has large cost implications, and is unconscionable

By: | Updated: June 3, 2015 8:49 PM
Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his radio talk, Mann ki Baat, to tell ex-servicemen he needed time to deal with the BJP’s election promise of one-rank-one-pension (OROP) as the issue was a complex one. (PTI)

The government is learning the hard way that election promises are one thing, keeping them quite another. Why else would, a year after he won a thumping majority, prime minister Narendra Modi use his radio talk, Mann ki Baat, to tell ex-servicemen he needed time to deal with the BJP’s election promise of one-rank-one-pension (OROP) as the issue was a complex one? The government is in a mess over the UPA’s land acquisition Act that, in the run up to the elections, it supported since it didn’t want to be labelled anti-farmer, and it is running a battle with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on more powers to the chief minister though, in the run-up to the parliamentary elections last year, its then-candidate for Delhi’s chief ministership—Harsh Vardhan—had promised full statehood for Delhi.

The major reason for the delay is not as much due to the issue being complex as it is the huge cost implications.

Defence pensions already add up to a whopping Rs 54,500 crore—they have doubled in just the last 5 years—and OROP will add Rs 8,400 crore in a year. While that may look like a small amount to make for those who sacrifice their lives to defend the nation, it will rise dramatically when the next Pay Commission—its report has to be implemented from January 2016 —puts out its award. The 6th Pay Commission’s report was implemented in FY09, but was done retrospectively from FY06, and the money was given over a couple of years. As a result, from Rs 20,232 crore in FY06, India’s total pension bill (excluding railways and the postal department) rose to Rs 42,232 crore in FY10 and R53,262 crore in FY11—the arrears, undoubtedly, added to the bill. In the case of defence, pensions were R12,452 in FY06 and this rose to Rs 25,000 crore in FY11. Unlike the normal civilian population, the defence forces retire the bulk of their population early, so the pensioner-to-active-service ratio is a lot more adverse in terms of the impact on the pension bill. And once the OROP principle is accepted for the armed forces, it is just a matter of time before there will be demands, even court cases, on the need to implement this for bureaucrats in the state and the Centre, teachers, and paramilitary forces.

While India has—there is no justification for this—OROP even today for the Cabinet Secretary and for secretary-ranked officers, it is not as if others, including in the armed forces, are getting a raw deal, since pensions are adjusted every year to take into account inflation, and by the Pay Commission every decade. As a result, India’s pension system is possibly the most generous in the world and pensioners today get several times their pre-retirement salaries. Indeed, the 7th Pay Commission would do well to take into account the trajectory of pensions while calculating the cost-to-company of government employees. That’s something the prime minister should devote a Mann ki Baat to, and keep in mind when the next BJP manifesto is drawn up.

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  1. H
    HFOBLKalra
    Jun 2, 2015 at 12:06 pm
    By the way who was your teacher who taught you economic? You talk about "Cost to Company" You , do you count pennies who raise a force to defend your country from external aggresion, internal disturbances, Natural calamities etc.etc. A soldier never thinks twice before sacrifising his life but you count your pennies when it comes paying your debt to a soldier. We do n't need "Jai Chand" when we have people like you.
    Reply
    1. Kavetti Madhesan
      Jun 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm
      This editorial is not bringing out the real problems of exservicemnen in the lower rank getting meagre pension as compared to the retirees after 2006. It is one sided and not even regards the service rendered by exservicemen and the Governments duty to look after their welfare
      Reply
      1. Major
        Jun 17, 2015 at 6:21 pm
        It is your news paper which is measuring the sacrifices monetary scale. Thanks. But our sacrifices demand much more but we are asking only parity with our own rank at the service we rendered and not asking a pension on scaled up service at 60 years of age given to civilians. If the government fails to find money for the security of the country let them ban the Armed Forces or cut its strength. Or reduce the pay and perks of civilian babus by 50% so that security of the country can be firmly placed.
        Reply
        1. Major
          Jun 17, 2015 at 6:33 pm
          The writer must be sent to his business school to learn costing of sacrifices of a Jawan. He must have writing such obscured articles sitting in an AC room not knowing the hardships of a Jawan. He must have been paid for his insensible articles heftily by the number of word with no thought to the words but measured by the number of the words. He must be thinking that by writing an article.ike this the ruling party will reward him as a radical journalist. In simple words I tell him to go and hang himself for not knowing the worth of a soldier who is the first PATRIOT in this Nation.
          Reply
          1. M
            manohar sharma
            Jun 4, 2015 at 6:42 am
            Your article is so woefully short of reality and truth about the subject that it deserves to be flushed down the toilet. No wonder you have earned the sobriquet of pressutes
            Reply
            1. A
              Ashok Chhibbar
              Jun 2, 2015 at 6:16 pm
              A very misleading editorial. The author is gleefully projecting that India can ill afford the "huge" expense of OROP especially when Military personnel enjoy good pensions already. Has he peeped into the ry slips of bureaucrats? Is he aware that civilian government employees are paid the "Non Functional Financial Upgrade" (NFFU)? For those who are unaware, NFFU is a unique system of rewarding inefficiency to civilian government employees i.e. even if a person is not promoted, he/she will get the same pay as their batch mate who gets promoted after a gap of two years. Thus the bureaucrats have ensured that EVERY civilian officer will get a minimum of Joint Secretary's pension on retirement. It is pertinent to mention that a military person, on an average, retires at 35-37 years of age. Others retire as per rank if not promoted at different ages below 60 yrs. A minuscule number reach equivalent of joint Secretary and above. No NFFU for military personnel. In case of any medical problems a military person is boarded out of Service. Not so for the civilian. He/she continues in service till 60 years of age. They are protected under the Disability Act. As far as the financial burden of OROP is concerned it is a case of "crying wolf in sheep's clothing". Recently, the Finance Minister was magnanimous to write off Rs 36,000 Crores of NPAs held with banks, and equally generous in waiving off approx Rs.63,000 Crores of IT dues from the Corporate sector. In comparison, Rs.8300 Crores for OROP is peanuts. The Military is the quintessential hope of this country; do not destroy it by spreading canards about it's integrity and loyalty.
              Reply
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                Ashok Chhibbar
                Jun 2, 2015 at 3:32 pm
                The editorial is very misleading. It must be understood that Military Pensions are distinctly different than any other pension that the Govt pays. The military person retires at a much younger age, where a second career becomes difficult without first going back to college. ALL civilian govt servants serve till 60 years. A medically unfit Military person is invalidated out of service, whereas the civilian counterpart continues to serve under the relevant provisions of The Disability Act. Civilian officers get Non Functional Upgrade (NFU) which enles them to be paid the same pay as their batch mates who have been promoted, after a gap of 2 years. Thus EVERY Civilian officer will get minimum pension of a Joint Secretary. The Military retires personnel as per rank held. Only a minuscule reach the rank of Major General/Rear Admiral/Air Vice Marshal. The Bureaucrats and those from Para-Military Forces not only serve till 60 years they are enled to the NFU hence have no case for OROP. NFU for the civilian govt servant is another term to "appreciate" non performance since even if the officer is NOT found fit for promotion he/she will continue to get pay increase, as per the higher rank of their batch mate who has been promoted. As far as the amount of money required for OROP, let us not be naive. If the Finance Minister can write off Rs.36,000 Crores of NPAs of Banks and waive off Rs. 63,000 Crores of Income Tax due from Corporate houses, a mere sum of Rs.8300 Crores is peanuts in comparison.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Ashok Chhibbar
                  Jun 3, 2015 at 5:47 pm
                  I do not see my comment having been published!
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Ashok Chhibbar
                    Jun 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm
                    Please see my comments on this article at: t=group_comment_reply
                    Reply
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                      Amit
                      Jun 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm
                      The writer has gone bonkers. He is writing the article without any connection with the ground realities. Let him go to the local and get the first hand report -the life a jawan and officer faces. Badly scripted..
                      Reply
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                        Anand Kumar
                        Jun 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm
                        Fact no.1) Although loosely referred to as paramilitary forces, there is none existing in India by actual definition or by consutional raising. These are armed forces of the union raised for specific roles not to fight wars alongside defence forces ! That they do as additional responsibility that gets igned to them by the government as defence forces can't even manage that themselves! So Stop this bogey of surgeon , paramedic and all that. These are CAPFs which certainly have no charter to be second fidle to defence forces. Fact no.2) NFFU has not been granted to CAPFs. For this, writ peions have been filed in Delhi high court and matter is being vehemently contested by the government in the court to not to allow NFFU to CAPFs. Fact no. 3) Defence forces have not fought a war since 1971. 1971 and all preceding wars were fought shoulder to shoulder by CAPFs also. And there is a long list of MVCs VrCs etc with them too. Fact no. 4) Kargil was a beautifully home crafted masterpiece created due to what can be simply called dereliction of duty by Indian Army. The nation paid heavily for their bers. And yes, no intrusions took place in the terrirory that was held by BSF shoulder to shoulder to army in the same kargil during that time as they knew and performed their duties with devotion. Fact no. 5) Most of those for whom OROP is being asked by defence forces i.e. recruited after 1971 & retired haven't seen a hostilities any more than those handled by CAPFs. Rather it is much lesser! Fact no.6) Its good that armed forces are doing nothing much than training for eventuality that may hapPen. But what about CAPF's? They will also be emplo on any such eventuality for which they have no time to train due to over commitments. Even their so called reserves are deplo 24x7! Everybody likes getting freebees, but defence forces should not make it look so shameful by grabbing onto what actually belongs to CAPFs by unleashing a misplaced disinformation campaign & propaa war on its own government and people.
                        Reply
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                          Anand Kumar
                          Jun 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm
                          The much trumpeted "Short service span" of defense forces is more than adequately compensated by the government with full pension (even without completing minimum pensionable service of 20 years mandatory for all other govt employees including CAPFs), an elaborate rehabilitation plan preparatory to the exit with full time vocational courses at premiere insutes of the country (for durations that may extend up to 2-3 years while drawing full ry and emoluments) and the ESM quota everywhere. These sops too cost the government exchequer dearly. Moreover these terms of service are well spelt out from the beginning and recruits of all ranks join knowing it fully well and with adequate planning. So please stop projecting short service span of defence fores as if it occurs as some kind of sudden unannounced midway layoff from the government! Compensation package has to be seen in totality. Government fulfills all its obligations commensurate with the period and type of service rendered to it. Tomorrow they will start asking for OROP for short service commissioned officers by taking their same unfounded arguments to ridiculous levels! Where as, NONE of these sops are not available to the CAPFs who need minimum 20 years service for even VRS! Even they are having short service span of age up to 57 years and not 60. Only DIG and above get this extended tenure. This shortened service of CAPFs is not compensated anywhere in anyway. And they are treated as any other government servants despite doing the work of defense forces in addition to their own charter.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Sanjeev
                            Jun 3, 2015 at 12:57 pm
                            The writer has not worked out the cost of freedom of the countrymen, including himself or herself. What does it cost to keep Kashmir & NE states with India. It is maintained with the blood of the soldier. If we take the army out & politicians can keep these part integrated with India with their Glib talking & CRPF; just go ahead & do that. It probably will save billions of dollars. What stops the Govt. You can't have your cake & eat it too...
                            Reply
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                              Mahmud Ghazni
                              Jun 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm
                              ok, so what do you suggest, disband the army and you will go and protect our borders? You take their entire healthy lifespan, don't give a thought to the hardships they face after they retire, on account of their having lost their productive years making sure you continue to exist the way you are? will you accept a retirement benefit that is lower than your secretary/driver/employee, though he may be younger than you and there may be years of difference in age? Please understand that no other country in the world treats its soldiers the shabby way that we do. Look at the way the US military pension is here. h t t p : militarypay.defense.gov/retirement/calc/03_redux . Please stop trying to pull wool over people's eyes
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                Mahmud Ghazni
                                Jun 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm
                                ok, so what do you suggest, disband the army and you will go and protect our borders? You take their entire healthy lifespan, don't give a thought to the hardships they face after they retire, on account of their having lost their productive years making sure you continue to exist the way you are? will you accept a retirement benefit that is lower than your secretary/driver/employee, though he may be younger than you and there may be years of difference in age? Please understand that no other country in the world treats its soldiers the shabby way that we do. Look at the way the US military pension is here. : militarypay.defense.gov/retirement/calc/03_redux . Please stop trying to pull wool over people's eyes
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  amit
                                  Jun 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm
                                  What justifies OROP to bureaucrats if the logic which has been put forth in the article is sound.....if govt has been lethargic in implementation of OROP than that cannot be the reason for denial to Army veterans.....Don't know how uniformed people get to write such articles for the prestigious newspaper.
                                  Reply
                                  1. o
                                    ogee_foji
                                    Jun 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm
                                    Options:- 1.lets outsource the w business of defence to contractors. 2.lets make conscription compulsory so that everybody feels the pinch of what life in the armed forces is. Start with you Mr Editor and your beloved children. 3. lets retire everyone in the armed forces at 60. bureaucrats can work upto 63 even if they are half senile. so can higher arms of the government. geriatric battalions will be the new raisings. 4. call the chinese over for lunch and become a slave by dinner.
                                    Reply
                                    1. o
                                      ogee_foji
                                      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm
                                      send the bureaucrats to siachen for a month, leh for another, jaisalmer border posts for another accompanied by you mr editor. then we can rewrite this feditorial
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                                      1. B
                                        BOYINA KAMESWARARAO
                                        Jun 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm
                                        The glaring mistake in you editorial is that you are conveniently omitting the hardships of armed forces when compared to civilian employees. You did not raise the cost factor when NFU was implemented. The services of armed forces personnel are incomparable with those of civilians. You are writing the editorial so peacefully because of armed forces sacrifices. Why don't civilian employees go and safe guard the borders so that the defence budget can be brought down drastically - no ries and no pensions to armed forces.
                                        Reply
                                        1. Rajendra Babu
                                          Jun 12, 2015 at 2:19 pm
                                          What a stupid thought. The country, corporates, bureaucrats and in nuts all civilians can only be secure and safe and run their business ,if the armed forces of the country is strong to secure the borders and peace prevails all around. Look at Syria , Iraq etc .Do you wish to have such situation in our in our country? Armed Forces are no ready made commodity to pick up only during crises ,but are trained and motivated manpower in combat readiness. To be motivated with high morale, you need to treat them at least in par with bureaucrats if not better. For your information all civil service group A officer have something called NFU, which ensures that all reach the scale of pay of Joint secretary before retirement and draw pensions accordingly. In Army only 0.08 %of officers reach the level of joint secretary that too after 30 years of service. Where is the comparison.? For better appreciation imagine yourself and your family caught in the midst of ISIS in Iraq and facing the music. Unless the Armed Forces are not recognised with due respect in this country then the days are not far for such eventuality.
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                                            Appaji
                                            Jun 6, 2015 at 6:41 pm
                                            The editorial failed to high light the burden due to non functional upgradation for all India services. These services never worked effectively for the public in emergency . Best examples are uttara khand and Kashmir trajedies. Armed forces always have their best I'm most hostile environment . Author conveniently forgot the financial imlicaton of full civilian Pensions burden on tax payer. This editorial is planted by babu's.
                                            Reply
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