The OROP facts

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Published: July 20, 2015 12:12:00 AM

Having retired at the level of a Secretary to the government of India, I am already in the OROP bracket, as indeed are all retired and retiring secretaries and equivalents. So, I can be a bit more objective.

I start my reply to the FE column “Short step from OROP to Greece” (July 15, https://goo.gl/h1XsGx) with a disclaimer. Having retired at the level of a Secretary to the government of India, I am already in the OROP bracket, as indeed are all retired and retiring secretaries and equivalents. So, I can be a bit more objective.

First, promotions till and including Lt Col are time-scale, i.e. certain years of commissioned service, certain rank, if there are no adverse reports. The time frame is six years for Major, 13 years for Lt Col and by selection 22 years for Col or 26 years by time-scale. As a course passes out twice a year, all promotions of that course will be on the same day. For example, a course that was commissioned in July 1993 will be promoted to Lt Col in July 2006 and a course that was commissioned in December 1993 will be promoted to Lt Col in December 2006.

Please see Circular No 500 for retired officers and No 502 for retired/discharged JCOs and ORs on the PCDA (Pension) website. You will note that a Lt Col with six months of service in the rank will have 13.5 years of service and will not get the same pension as a Lt Col with two years in the rank that has 15 years of service.

Second, the OROP definition is same rank, same number of years of service, same amount of pension. In arithmetical terms—rank Lt Col, total years of service 13 in July 2006, pension R25,000; rank Lt Col, total years of service 13 in December 2005, pension R25,750 in July 2006, at the rate of 3% increment in July of the succeeding year as per Government Resolution approving the 6th CPC recommendations in 2008.

Third, the Civil Services already have awarded themselves OROP by another name from 2009—Non-Functional Upgradation (NFU). It goes something like this: Some officers of Batch X get promoted to Joint Secretary in year 2009. Their Pay and Grade Pay is increased as per the entitlements. But others of the same batch, even if they are not promoted to Joint Secretary for whatever reasons, will draw the higher scales from year 2011. This was not in the terms and conditions of service for the Central Government employees but you have not pointed it out.

Fourth, the outgo for OROP is R8,300 crore with an annual increment of 3%, i.e. the second year the outgo will be approximately R8,600 crore. This is one-eighth of R62,398.6 crore that is revenue foregone by way of tax exemptions and incentives to corporates by the government of India as stated in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha by the finance minister.

We will have a Greece-like situation in India but not because of paying OROP to armed forces but because the estimated revenue foregone in FY2015-16 is projected to be R5,89,285.2 crore or twice the defence budget of R2,47,000 crore.

As for that “emotional” bit you have thrown in, suffice it to state that the Supreme Court did order setting up of an Armed Forces Grievance Redressal Commission in a case where a widow of an ex-serviceman was drawing a pittance as pension (Pushpa Vanti vs Union of India) and where the Attorney General and Solicitor General had to assure the Court of action. This order was later rescinded because of the assurances of the top law officers.

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