OROP: What We Know and What We Get
Plight of ex-military men
Someone has rightly said that loyalty comes at a price. Indian defence forces are considered as one of the rare centrally governed bodies which are still insulated from the stigmas of corruption. No matter what, where, when a problem arises, we find Indian defence forces at work from the word go. And if they are demanding their rights through open protests on the roads, then something is really wrong within our system.
What is OROP?
The acronym OROP stands for One Rank One Pension. Koshiyari Committee, established in 2011 in order to look into the matter, stated that “equal pension to be paid to the Armed Forces Personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners” and “bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners”.
The term came into existence in the 3rd Central Pay Commission OR CPC way back in 1973. Since then this issue has been considered in every CPC, but always ends up being one among the many unfulfilled promises made by political parties during elections. 25 lakh ex servicemen, widows and next of Kin receive 50% or lesser pension if they served the nation with distinction, lost limbs, minds and even lives if they retired just before the announcement of next CPC.
Current government’s stand
OROP was one of the key points in the election agenda of BJP led NDA alliance prior to 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, the issue took a back-seat after they formed the government at the centre, with the then Defence Minister Arun Jaitely stating that the definition of OROP given by Koshiayri Committee is debatable and needs some requisite rectifications. On 5th September, 2015, amidst protests by ex servicemen, the government finally decided to implement OROP after mind storming for over a year.
The current demand is estimated to be between 8500-14000 crores besides the usual 54000 crore annual pension fund. With every successive pay commission the demand for OROP pension scheme is expected to increase which will further burden our economy.
However, the central issue has always been regarding whether ex- army men, who seeked voluntary retirement, are eligible for to be paid equal pension as their counterparts or not.
Such arguments not only demean the credibility of our soldiers but also show the deep rooted ignorance and insensitivity present in our society which fails to acknowledge these brave men and women who risk their lives so that we could live peacefully in our ambit.
Right now we can cherish the fact that the current government has finally acted on the matter which was pending from last 42 years. One can hope that rest of the issues get sorted out soon and our national heroes get the justice they deserve.[Image Attribute- ww2gallery]