The bitter truth about OROP

The current debate about OROP (One Rank One Pension) has become infused with too much passion, emotion, recriminations, frustration and downright prevarication. This, though perhaps understandable, is not healthy because it tends to blur and take the focus away from the hard issues involved, and prevents a rational analysis of the problem. The plain fact is that OROP is just not implementable, and the sooner the Government comes out with an open admission on this, and stops leading the defence forces down the garden path, the better.

The government consists of scores of departments (of which the armed forces are also a part), thousands of categories of posts and hundreds of pay scales/ranks. Their remuneration, promotion avenues, pensions have been arrived at after decades of deliberation and many Pay Commissions. There are intricate linkages between them (called “equation” in government parlance): the whole structure is like a huge spider web in which all the strands are inter-connected, and disturbing just one cobweb destabilises the entire structure. The demand for OROP threatens to do exactly this, and this is why the government is unable to take a decision on this controversial issue.

Soldier OROP

The basic premise of OROP is inherently flawed. One’s pension is inextricably linked to one’s salary at the time of retirement and not to the salary of the same post twenty years later. That is why Pay Commissions, every ten years, do not link past pensions with current salaries but provide a percentage growth to those pensions. This is true of not just the armed forces (as some may think) but of the entire government structure, including ALL civilian posts – with one exception.

This exception is the “causus belli” or the root of the problem. Many years ago the IAS contrived a sleight of hand (at which we are past masters) to ensure that the highest echelons of the elite civil services, at least, get the benefit of OROP ! This is how it was managed: the highest pay scale in government (currently) is Rs. 80000/ fixed. (only the Chiefs of the three defence forces and the Cabinet Secretary are in the fixed scale of Rs. 90000/). It was decreed that all who retire in this scale (known loftily as the Apex Scale) would get OROP – that is, their pensions would always be linked to whatever revised Apex Scale the subsequent Pay Commissions decided. Since every single IAS (or IFS) officer retires in the Apex Scale this forever ensured OROP for themselves. To reduce any opposition to the stratagem, some Apex Scale posts were also made available to other All India services.

The top brass in the armed forces were also party to this decision, for they also got a share of the pie. Take the Army. The Apex Scale has also been provided to the VCOAS, Army Commanders, Lt. General (NFSG) and one third of the total strength of Lt. Generals in the force. The same applies to their counterparts in the other two forces. This may perhaps explain why we have not heard the top echelons of the forces coming out in public support of the demand for universal OROP.

Giving OROP to just the Apex Scale was a bad and inequitable decision, and all the elite civil services and the armed forces were party to it. So, don’t just blame the “babus” please.

The chickens have now come home to roost and they’re making quite a racket over it, as chickens will do. Extending OROP to just the defence forces is neither fair, nor possible. It is not fair because, emotive claims apart, they are not the only ones serving the nation – the primary school teacher in a Naxal village in Dantewada is also doing so, the coal miner spending twelve hours every day in the pitch darkness of a flooded mine in Jharia is also doing so, the fireman rushing into a burning building in a Mumbai slum is also doing so. Nor does it help the cause to quote statistics about the number of casualties – the para military forces and some state police forces have consistently had higher casualties than the army over the years. Demanding a special dispensation on the basis of an exclusive claim to patriotism is never a good idea – it has tinges of a hubris that does not go well with the concept of selfless service.

The acceptance of the OROP demand is also not practically or legally possible, because it cannot be limited to the armed forces only, and any extension to other services and departments will bankrupt the government for all times. The stirrings have already started – the Central Para Military Forces, the Railway unions, some Associations of central government Ministries – have already given ominous hints that if OROP is allowed to the armed forces it cannot be denied to them. So we’re no longer talking of just 22 lakh ex-servicemen and 6 lakh widows – we’re talking of tens of millions of central and state government employees. We’re no longer looking at a financial implication of Rs. 8000 crores but ten or twenty times that. Its a no brainer.

And yet there are some aspects of the demand of the armed forces that are legitimate, that are peculiar to them, and which any sensitive government has to consider sympathetically. The primary one for me is their early retirement (especially for the jawans and ORs) and subsequent unemployment with relatively low pension rates. The solution to this vexed imbroglio has to come out of the box and not from any manual of the finance department. Although it is certainly presumptuous of me I would make so bold as to suggest the following steps as an alternative to OROP:

* Eradicate the root and genesis of the problem — abolish the OROP benefit provided only to the holders of the Apex Scale and cover them under the same formula of pension as applicable to others. This may occasion some resistance from about twenty thousand or so of our plastic frame and a few defence brass but it would remove the heart burning of many millions of others and restore equity.
* Provide higher pay scales to members of the armed forces to compensate them for their shorter service tenures and lack of promotion avenues. In order to do this the bureaucracy should once and for all give up the specious notion of maintaining “equations”- there are no equations between apples and oranges.
* Increase the gratuity available to ORs and jawans.
* Provide 50% reservation for jawans and other ORs in all central para-military and state police forces at appropriate levels. Not only would this single measure provide gainful employment to them for another 25 years, it would also considerably enhance the image and effectiveness of these forces because of the sterling qualities of discipline and integrity which these ORs would bring with them. I calculate that there would be about 30,000 (300000) retirees from the army every year – the annual vacancies in the para-military and police forces would be many times this number, so adjusting the former should pose no problem. Ex-servicemen Directorates already exist at the Centre and in the states and they can maintain the data of retirees and forward the names against requisitions.

OROP is a mirage which will never materialise. If the lot of our ex-servicemen is to be improved and their obvious career disadvantages compensated, suggestions like the above have to be considered. Mr. Modi should learn a thing or two from the armed forces – instead of a head-on confrontation with them he should execute a flanking manoeuvre.

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    Experienced Civil servant Mr Avay Shukla has made a fair attempt to enumerate the reasons for the demand of OROP, from the defense pensioners. Kudos to him for having highlighted some of the key reasons.. Mainly early retirement and no lateral absorption in the civil services. In lateral absorption, I presume that he has not left out all other civil services deliberately (other than the uniformed ones), given his knowledge and experience and the status.. He would have known the Capability of the military functioning as effectively, if not better, in civil servants’ chairs… Could be an oversight. He has also missed out another very contributing factor. The promotional possibilities in the services is rather slow due to its very pyramidical structure. In civil setup,One becomes a Director equivalent in 7 to 10 years of service, while a military officer will have to serve for 18 to 20 years to reach the level. Please understand the disparity, lag herein. A Colonel cannot be made a Brigadier and asked to be the Commanding Officer of the unit. At this very stage, more than 50% of the military officers get left behind for want of vacancies. They have to serve, if they wish to, having been overlooked (for no fault of his) in the same rank for almost till his retirement,.. As the level (Rank ) increases, the percentile of people who progress is further reduced. Due to various crunches, no new vacancies can be raised.. This is very clearly spelt out as a Govt policy by the civil servants. This cascading effect continues till one reaches the core Apex appointments in the Military. Barely a single digit percentage of officers in a batch in the Services. Compare the same in the civil set up. The majority would make it to the top notch. NFU, NFSG appointments/promotions are applicable ONLY TO THE organized Group A services. The military services have been kept out of this ambit. Who should have been enlisted FIRST , Under ORGANISED SERVICES In India? The Military or the Civil ? Here again the services have been given a raw deal..

    How many of these uniformed civil services would accept a Military retiree and forego their promotion avenues? Not one, rest assured..

    So when a situation like this exists, where lateral switching is not welcomed by them, promotions cannot be hastened due to an in house problem, while the other civil servants have managed it effectively, there is down sliding status in respect of the service class, What else can be done? Increase the monetary allowances, pension, etc.., so that the satisfaction level can be increased amongst the services. To this end, OROP is one of the means to achieve this.

    The shortage of officers in the Military is huge number. The civil servants vacancies are fully subscribed on the other hand. Does this ring the bell somewhere? What will be its effect in times of its definite need? Will the civil servants come to fill in the vacant ones? We will hear the same Jargan then also- Apples are not Oranges. Who doesn’t know that Apples serve(grow) in the Hills while the Oranges in the Plains?

    What’s new about the point that OROP will have a recurring effect on the budget allocation of our Country? Are the civil servants pay revisions or cadre upgradations going to effect the budget of the neibouring Nations?

    I am reminded of a saying in Hindi ‘ Tel to til se hi nikhalna’ meaning ‘Oil has to come out of the seeds only’ . So the Govt has to understand the typical service conditions , peculiar promotion restrictions, early retirements, etc.., and has to factor this provisioning in the budget estimates, if need be with the feeling that these are essential evils. It’s another form of Offsets.

    Is it not fair that OROP is being demanded by the military pensioners? Is it not Just for Modiji to fulfill his promise? Let the just and learned people respond to this.

    He has rightly highlighted that apples are not oranges, which is a lesson in KG classes these days. But soon he has mentioned that if OROP is granted, the civil services retirees also will demand the same.. Here he doesn’t remember that Apples are Not Oranges, but tends to equate them, conveniently.. PM Modiji is not going to be startled by this equation when convenient only. Yes, this may give some leads to the Unions/ associations in the civil set up..

  2. says: JIJU

    If India want to go the Greece way then they should implement the OROP which will have exponential negative affect on the economy .Nobody is speaking whether this OROP will be applicable to those who had voluntary quit the service and joined public sector or the Corporate.Once OROP is implemented then there will be plethora of court cases and thus equal justice and ill treatment to BSF,ITBP,CRPF,SSB etc(Independent India this forces had sacrificed more than ARMY/AIRFORCE/ITBP put together) and thus a question on keeping the validity of constitution by giving pension to those who don’t work or perform but took away the pension(Here only disabled soldier or deceased one’s family deserves and such largesse irrespective of the organizations).When the talk of OROP was initiated then it was understood to be affecting the purse to the tune of Rs 3000 crore which had shoot up to 8000 crores and after 7th pay commission it will have exponential raise to 16000 crores and still growing(Civilians and other govt servants are footing their own pension bills as well as for those Armed forces who are not serving which is ill afford and journalist with less IQ can’t see and harping for OROP) .No developing country can afford this and here we should understand that end of the day Armed Forces is known as doing “Service” and not “extortion” where latter is threat to the legitimate stand of secular ,democratic India or be ready to follow the path of Pakistan where the Armed forces dictate terms in citizens life. India was saved from falling into the hands of mutiny and Army rule due to clever handling of this olive forces by Nehru and Krishna Menon .Here when 1971 war was won by India ,in 1973 ,then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi cut Army into sizes by having same pension rules for civilians and Armed Forces.It was a smart move by willy lady PM who had seen the aspiration in the eyes of then Army generals to rule the nation and follow the path of their counter part Pakistan. No nuclear country had ever gone for full fledged war and if OROP is implemented then there is no fun or reason for the Armed forces to serve the force after achieving minimum pension service.It is dangerous and all talent will make beeline to quit the service and already struggling forces(Here I strongly believe that the Armed forces’ OFFICESRS’ vacancies are purposefully kept vacant to show supply crisis and thus arm twist the government.It is high time that govt outsource the recruitment of officers’ thru SSB to an independent body with requsite qualification as done in SPG and make fair selection where vernacular school students don’t struggle and can compete .There are many Military/sainik schools who had failed in purpose to give regular feeder to NDA and CDS …

  3. says: Dr.Andithevar

    Until unless central civil services and central military service is merged and made central government service,these types of issues remain till mankind remained. Jidabad India. We learned nothing of our own, but only taught by British for a period of 200 yrs..Dr. Andithevar

  4. says: Umesh Chandra Prasad

    I think Mr Sukla is taking like a child.
    If three chief were given OROP and agreed to wrong decision. Who says calculation can not be done in the age of computers.
    Why the most mighty only in all services where given OROP who all retire at the age of around 60years ? They gain only.
    Who stopped giving lateral entry of retiring army men and officer in all govt. service at appropriate post…

    Mr Sukla Babu and only Babus have complicated all matter in India and made it a corrupt country . So accept this fact rather than taking about every one accept Babus. How many have been killed in any were?

  5. says: CD Aniyankunju

    I fully endorse the view expressed by the retd IAS officer.
    The ESM community, who are out on street demonstration and the so-called relay hunger strike, are resorting to armtwisting and blackmailing the govt out of their sheer avarice and greed. Coming as it does from a well disciplined force it does not augur well for the country. Pakis must be laughing all the way and of course, must be cocking a snook at us! Afterall, a person ought to draw his pension based on his length of service and last pay drawn and not based on what these ESM are resorting to. Let me hasten to add that, the politicians, in the run up to the election, support the (any) cause just for the sake of vote banks without realising the implication, mess up the whole issue and gives enough ammunition for the agitators. Unfortunately, daughter of ex COAS and the central minister has also jumped into the bandwagon to score some brownie points!
    Let the agitating ESM please read the writing on the wall and stop their dharna and behave like a disciplined ex soldiers and do not allow the general public to spit at them. Let the govt see the issue in its right perspective and do whatever is feasible.

    1. says: sv

      mr cd aniyankunju-how can u say this type adverse remarks on esms.u try to spit on esm.see the tamasha. r u dare to do so. strike (in india) can be done by griveved persons. is it wrong ! before saying this type remarks ,join in army n came to know realties on the ground/field.can u expalin the reasons of war defeat in 1962. go and study history. of indian wars since independence. only ungrateful persons like this type remarks.

  6. says: Lt Col (Retd) D K Mukerji

    I appreciate Mr Shulas effort in analysing the issue OROP. and speak out openly in favor of Ex-servicemen, guts to recommend to cut the orop for Apex scale benificiary.I partially agree with his views . My observation are as follows;(1) Appex scale,Rs 80000/- pm. Bureaucratis have covered themselves with orop,and same is extended to chief of services and other senior officers to avoid objection mentioned by yourself , but were the chiefs consulted at decision making time? A typical maneuvering .Further your observation that senior officers are not supporting agitation is not correct. Chief of Army,Navy Air Force seniors are all supporting the cause(2) School teacher, Miners, Fire personnel , they are all working for the nation, up the age of 60 years and earn full pension., where as serviceman works for 18 years and retire at the age of 40.Out of this period 70% time he is away from fly, When his family is expecting he away, During his daughter wedding he is on exercise. Are these miner, school teacher etc are subjected to this?Further in High altitude area they are subjected mental depression, respiratory problems as oxygen contents is 60%.(3).Rly Union/Central Ministries demand orop.Pl give them . When there is flood and you have to make path on swinging rope to evacuate victims call ministries personnel , not army /air force/ navy. When a child has fallen in well , to rescue call railway union, bureaucrats association not, defence people. Pl do not equate them. Suggestions (1) Pl sanction OROP to defence as it was promissed by UPA and NDA (2) The reserved post of IAS/IPS etc in ministries,PSU,MNC,/Org CBI/Commissions to be equally shared by defence, service personnel (3) Creat promotinal avenues in defence and make it at par with civil. For Comd and Contl in defence keep pyramidical structure and post addl officers to newly created slot. (4)Make NCC compulsary in school/ colleges, and compulsary 5 years defence servise for every citizen before he can apply of Govt/Private/Public sector jobs(5) Pl respect the defence personnel and exservicemen.

  7. says: MG Kapoor

    I was watching Shukla speak yesterday on CNBC TV18. He was shown as Col Ajai Shukla (Retd). I was fflabbergasted to hear what he said. How could a retired Army Colonel be so Iignorant of how the Armed Forces are different from the rest of the Govt employees. Either he was intentionally shown as Retired Colonel to mischievously mislead these who watched the show or it was a slip. Mr Shukla let me tell a few basic differences between the Armed Forces and the ccivil services.

    i) It is only the Armed Forces that have given away their Fundamental Rights guaranteed to all others under Part III of the Constitution. Parliament can make laws take away Fundamental Rights of the persons subject to the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act. The Apex Court has further Iinterpreted that the Fundamental Rights can also be denied even by necessary Iimplication.

    ii) The Armed Forces do not enjoy the protection under Article 311 (2) of the Constitution.

    iii) The High Courts under Article 226 don’t have the power to sit in judgment over the judgments and orders of the Courts and Tribunals created by any law for or under the Armed Forces and also don’t have power of superintendence over such Tribunals.

    iv) Armed Forces personnel cannot approach the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution.

    The factual matrix is that the Constitution makers have right from the inception considered Armed Forces as a separate class by itself.

    Now another factual matrix.

    Even the retirement age of all officers is NOT 60 and for those in whose case it is 60 they already enjoy OROP.

    Earlier Lt Col of fighting arms was retiring at 48 and those of serviced at 52. This age was subsequently raised to 50 and then 52. So many of the Lt Col veterans retired at 48, 50 and 52. Cols similarly had 2 years more. Brig 4 years more and Maj Gen six years more. Many Maj Gen veterans are those who retired at 54, 56 and presently after 1998 at 58. These officers are NOT governed by OROP.

    Whenever anyone gave an argument that his case was covered by the Apex Court judgment, the Courts shot him down by saying the case pertained to the civilian and was not applicable to the Armed Forces ppersonnel.

    Thus Armed Forces have always been denied benefits available to the civil servants saying they constituted a different class. Now in the case of OROP Shukla says similar demand would come from others Iis wholly tenable as the Armed Forces constitute a different class altogether. Are the Civil Servants prepared to forgo their Fundamental Rights? Are they prepared to forgo the protection granted to them under Article? Are they prepared to forgo the right to firm Associations? Are they prepared to be governed by the draconian Armed Forces Laws? Are they prepared to retire at young age to give a young look to the civil service? Are they prepared to be denied the jurisdiction of the High Courts under Article 226 over the orders and judgments of the Central or States Administrative Tribunals and the of power of superintendence under Article 227? Are they prepared to be denied approach to the Apex Court under Article 136? If yes, by all means grant them OROP. If not them let them not cry foul. Apples and oranges ccannot be compared Mr Shukla.



  8. says: seema

    Ajay Shukla you need to read this article for you to understand OROP fraud committed by babus for several generations


    Lt Gen PG Kamath (Veteran)

    It was post 1971 and the nation was euphoric. Our countrymen were lauding the Indian Armed Forces for a spectacular victory that had changed the geography of the sub-continent. The nation was savouring the victory and more than 97,368 prisoners were in our Prisoners of War Camps. It was the second largest surrender in the Military History; second only to the surrender of Gen Von Paulus, German, 6th Army at Stalingrad in the Second World War. The Armed Forces were feted everywhere for its courage and the people were convinced that it was one instrument that would never let the country down.

    Amidst this euphoria there were 4000 families, who had lost their fathers/sons/husbands in the war. Another 10,000 were wounded and maimed for life. They were picking up the lost threads of life to continue their journey in the forbidding world. However their sorrow was lost amidst the mirth, laughter and jubilation of victory.

    Unknown to the services a band of bureaucrats were conspiring as to how to cut the Armed Forces to size. Defence Secretary was Mr K B Lal, who was literally there for the entire duration of the Third Pay Commission. He was the one, who provided the inputs to the Third Pay Commission. The Commission was constituted a year before the war and concluded two years after the war. It’s final recommendation marginalising the Armed Forces was made public two months after Fd Marshal Manekshaw relinquished the post of Chief. Indeed it was a clever move as the most popular person in the country was not able to take cudgels against the government. This Pay Commission cut the Armed Forces to size for winning the war for the country. Even Fd Mshl Manekshaw was not spared; more of it later. ‘Ingratitude unkinder than the winters wind’ to adopt Shakespearean phrase to an ungrateful government. How did the Government go about the act?

    Firstly they abolished a separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces and formulated an equivalence between the Armed Forces and Civilians. It was here that the Pay Commission struck its vilest blow when they considered that ‘a trained infantry soldier with three years of service is below a skilled labour. Little do they know that it is the infantry soldier who does the actual fighting and charges the enemy with naked bayonet literally on the very front edge of the battle and makes eye and steel contact with the enemy. He is the one who bears the brunt of more than 90% of casualty in all wars and yet he was considered the lowest strata to base their comparison. It also means that the infantry soldier with less than three years’ service was considered an semi-skilled/unskilled labour? Just mark the irony of the sinister and ignorant move? Rest of the soldiers were equated based on this preposterous formulae?

    Next step was to reduce the percentage of pension for the Armed Forces. The OROP that was effective till 1972, was annulled after the third pay commission. A soldier then served only for 15 years and went on pension at the ages ranging from 33 years to 36 years of age. In view of this, his pension was 70% of his basic pay and an officers pension was 50% of his basic pay as the bulk of them retired at 50 years of age. The civilian counterparts were getting only 30% of their basic pay as pension. Please note they served till they were 58 years of age (now 60 years) and the soldiers retired a quarter century earlier. The wretched Third Pay Commission did not consider the additional 25 years of service his civilian counterpart served and raised their pension to 50% and reduced a soldiers pension from 70% to 50% in order to achieve the so-called parity. Further the government put mandatory 33 years of service for full pension fully knowing that the soldier then retired after 15 years of service. They further as a largesse made a seemingly generous gesture to the Armed Forces by pegging the mandatory service for full pension (50%) to 25 years. Just look at the clever move; fully knowing that the soldier retired after 15 years of service. Thus the soldier in effect got only 30% of pay after 15 years of service, as extrapolated from full pension of 50% of pay with 25 years of service. Thus the Government ingeniously cut a soldiers pension from 70% to 30% of pay at the same time enhancing the civilian pension from 30% to 50%. Look at the perfidy; how can possibly a Government run down her own Armed Forces? It is indeed a remarkable feat from a nation that was a slave nation for over two centuries, yet disregards her Armed Forces who ensure her hard earned freedom?

    Our Defence Ministry were hand in glove with the proposals. There was not a whimper of protest to set right the injustice. The soldiers had to pay heavily for having won the war for the country. Their travails were not over; more was yet to come!

    One would wonder why the soldiers did not protest against the brash injustice perpetrated on them? It would be difficult to believe, as those were the times the officers in particular were told that politics and pay were not to be discussed. They were naïve and had full faith in the government that in the long run; no injustice would be done to them? The disarming naivety of our officers appear incomprehensible now; but it was true then. Hence the entire master stroke of cutting the armed forces to size by impoverishing them was done with so much of dexterity, it took us couple of decades to realise its negative impact.

    Mrs Gandhi was feted and was called ‘Durga’ and she basked in the limelight of victory and self-adulation. However, she proved to be the daughter of her illustrious father by sharing the same antipathy and disdain towards the Armed Forces. She was a smart women hence concealed it to a great extent with outer façade of support and derived maximum political mileage of the victory. The running down of the Armed Forces in the Third Pay Commission could not have been done without her active and positive consent?

    Their next target was the most popular figure in the country Fd Marshal Manekshaw. He was made a Field Marshall and the appointment is active for life, though ceremonial in nature. A Field Marshall does not retire and continues to wear his five star rank for life. He was entitled to Pay and Allowances for life. The bureaucrats who were literally jealous of his popularity ensured that he did not get his pay and allowances; low and behold! for the next 36 years, and finally a lump sum of ₹ 1.60 crore of arrears was released to him on intervention by then President Abdul Kalam. A non-descript bureaucrat gave him his pension dues on his deathbed in Jun 2007 a few days before he breathed his last. Isn’t it a national tragedy? Don’t you sometimes feel whether the country deserves selfless service from its soldiers? Can any country on this earth be more ungrateful towards her soldiers than ‘Mother India? What a great victory for the MOD for destroying the soldiers pride?

    Let us now analyse as to why a soldier fights? Why does he give his life for a cause? What makes him charge through a fusillade of bullets and splinters against sure death and injury overcoming the instinct of self-preservation? Why is he prepared to make his ultimate sacrifice and bid goodbye to the world? Why does he not think of his loving wife, his innocent children, his aged parents and the living world of mirth and bliss; knowing he has not even spent a quarter of his life? Why all his near and dear ones pale in to insignificance and he sees only his mission like Arjuna only seeing the eye of the bird? All these questions can be answered in two words; His Pride.

    It is his professional pride that make him a hero. He wants to be a hero before his comrades; before his superiors, in his unit and in his country. He is a hero of his village and hero in front of his parents. He is a hero to his wife and a super hero to his children. He also knows he is the last bastion of the nation and he is the last trump card in the hands of his nation. He knows that if he fails the nation fails. It is this emotion that drives him towards mission accomplishment. It is all the way Pride! Pride! And Pride. It is nothing else but ‘Pride’.

    Sad to say; it is exactly that the Governments of his own country wants to deprive him of? He has been badgered, humiliated, impoverished and made a laughing stock in all the successive pay commissions. His status has been lowered time and again by an insensitive government. How can noble thoughts like sacrifice, mission, cause, patriotism and pride be ever understood by self-serving, sly and scheming bureaucracy? A soldiers pride has taken a beating and believe me sir! It would be a long and painful time to build it again?

    Mr Prime Minister! Before you forget history; In Jun 1932 President Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of US ordered firing on the veterans of First World War for demanding the promised bonus. Two veterans were killed and several injured. Herbart Hoover lost the election with a devastating defeat and has gone down in history as a lack lustre President. The Great Depression may have contributed to his rout but the firing on veterans brought him great disrepute. Mr Prime Minister! You are certainly made of a better stuff than Herbert Hoover?
    Enough has been said of ‘OROP’ and nothing more needs to be said about it. Supreme court has granted it and parliamentary committee has approved it. Not a single political party has opposed it but it is still undone? For the past 70 days agitation is on and brute force of police has been unleashed on them. Dear Prime Minister! I hope you have seen the sad picture of a proud veteran trying to fight his tears and another veteran whose shirt with medals torn asunder withstands the criminal use of force against him with quiet dignity and equanimity. It is still not too late to make amends.

    Reminds me the words of Edmond Burke “ Invention is exhausted, Reason is fatigued, Experience has given its judgement but Obstinacy remains unconquered”. Mr Prime Minister ! I believe you have still the ability to overrule small minions around you, who do not have the nation in their heart and are bent upon the murdering the ‘ Pride in a Soldier’. Remember ‘Soldiers’ Pride is Nation’s Security’. You kill his pride; you endanger the nation’s security.

  9. says: MG Kapoor

    Dear All, in my previous comment there are soparanoypographic mistakes. The reason being I was typing from my mobile and it was difficult to go back and correct.

    One of the typographic error was in the last para. It should read “is wholly untenable” and not “lis wholly tenable” as typed. Other errors are not that material and may be takens as demanded by the context.

  10. says: MG Kapoor

    By the way who are you – Col Ajai Shukla (Retd) Columnist as described on the CNBC TV 18 footage, Ajai Shukla an ex- Babu, Avay Shukla as in Karan Thapar’s “To The Point” show? When you cannot even correctly identify your own self how can you identify ssoldier’s problem. Did you carry out arithmetic calculations to say the actual cost to the exchequer would be 75000 crores – being only 80000 crores less than the actual salary budget or just bluffed – as the Babus are uses to? If you do have the calculations email them to me to prove you wrong as mathematics is my pass time and my ffavourite subject, Mr Avay Shukla urf Mr Ajai Shukla urf Col Ajai Shukla (Retd).

  11. says: Joel

    All i can see is Pension is less , Pension should be increased . Words like Pension , expenses …. not enough are all into play . When i hear all this hullaboo I cannot help but relate to myself and lakhs if not crores of people like me who are working in private sectors . My story is
    I am working in a private sector . What i earn minus taxes minus what i spend is what i save . This what i save is to last me after retirement till i die … How ? i dont know ?? I have NO pension ,,,, Zero , Zilch and when I look at people who cry that they are getting only 50% or 30% or 10% of last pay . I can’t put what i feel in words . What about me and lakhs of guys like me !! You are getting something we have no scope . Now why we dont deserve any is because we are not at the border or employed by the central or state government so in fact have not contributed to the growth of the nation . Now another question that would come to anybody’s mind is that was i not aware of the situation before i joined the private sector ? I was .. and If i was aware then i should accept the situation and should have planned accordingly . Why i landed in the private sector and not in government service … General category , lots of reservation ,, etc etc is a different story … May be the private sector employees need to start a new revolution for pension after retirement . After all the govt takes so much money when we are working so we too deserve something when we retire. In the end all i can say is that Pensions indexed to inflation should be mandatory to private as well as public sectors . We too as HDFC life ad says “deserve to jiyo sir utha ke ” .

    1. says: Sahana Ramapati

      not seen a more confused as* h*ole than u.
      Pension is deferred payment of the services already rendered. Condition of the services were changed w/o any warning /discussion in 1973 and the enhancement of pay / perks and pension are continuous process of service conditions through pay commission.
      A CTC is what is contracted between u and the company which may include pension or full amount in cash and u r them to decide if u want to invest in pension or not.

  12. says: Dipeshwar

    Since the author has so ‘insightfully’ commented that the Armed Forces are like any other govt department, can the Armed Forces organize a one or two day strike (as is the right of govt departments) to peacefully protest? I’m sure the nation can manage without them for a couple of days. After all, what is the worst that can really happen when a govt department strikes? If the answer to whether the Armed Forces can go on strike is Yes, then we can agree to it being treated like an ordinary department. If the answer is No, it is an extraordinary department and the arguments above should be withdrawn.

  13. says: Raj Sikka

    Mr. Avay Shukla has missed out a very important factor. The main reason for retiring the personnel of Armed Forces at an early date is to keep the forces young and fit. That was the reason that the armed forces used to get 70% of the last pay drawn as their pension. This practice is prevalent not in India but most of the armies of other countries. There was no justification to decrease the pension of Armed forces to 50% during 1973 AND INCREASING THE PENSION OF CIVILIANS FROM 30% to 50%. May be if this decision is reversed , there may not be any demand of OROP. But will the civilians ever let it happen. They will go on strike the next day and there will be problems everywhere.

  14. says: Rnga

    Greetings, Mr Ajay,
    I have read koshyari committee report and other documents. You seem to be very well versed with the full system and history.
    Could you kindly add impact of NPS or New pension system that’s introduced from 01 jan 2005 and if the Koshyari report in terms of Outlay for exchequer are correct?

  15. says: Avay Shukla

    Dear Ranga, the NPS does not apply to the armed forces but it does to all other posts/services under the central govt. This is a huge concession to the military which the ex-servicemen are conveniently ignoring in their pension demands. The Koshiyari committee estimates were way off the mark at about 3-4000 crores but then even today no one seems to be sure of the figure! ( especially post the 7th FC recommendations).

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