Though the UPA government has rolled out the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen, and tried to bridge the gap between pre and post-January 2006 retirees, resentment is brewing among serving and retired armed forces personnel, who have termed it an ‘eyewash’ and a feeble attempt at “rectification” of a fault dating back to 2006.
Several ex-servicemen, as well as serving armed forces personnel, pointed out on Tuesday that after the Government’s Rs. 2300 crore package for pensioners, a sepoy would be entitled to a total increase of Rs. 622 per month in his pension, and the raise would be Rs. 761 for a havildar.
Among the officers, a Lieutenant Colonel, on an average, would get a raise of Rs. 565 per month.
They pointed out that several anomalies still remain, and none of the core issues, raised by the three Service Chiefs in August with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have been accepted.
Among other things, the three Service Chiefs had asked for the resolution of serving personnel issues, like fixation of common payscales for all JCOs and Other Ranks, grant of non-functional upgradation status to commissioned officers, and one rank one pension to the retired personnel. The Chiefs had also pointed out disparities between officers in uniform and their civilian counterparts.
Citing an example, some officers pointed out disparities in nine organisations of Group A services within the armed forces, where a superintendent engineer was at par with a colonel, but after non-functional upgradation (NFU), had become equivalent to a Major General, whereas the chief engineer, higher in status in that very organisation, was equivalent to a Brigadier.
While pledging to continue their struggle for their rights, ex-servicemen said the pension hike, announced on Monday, amounted to “wrong and deceitful” treatment of their long-pending OROP demand.
“It is deceiving. The Government has wrongly interpreted the term ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP). They haven’t given OROP; instead they have just merely made an enhancement in pension,” Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Raj Kadyan, said here.
IESM on Tuesday wrote to Dr. Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, and the three Service chiefs, explaining how the government decision doesn’t meet their long-pending demand to provide equitable pensions.