17, July 2012

Letter to Our Prime Minister- OROP

To,

The Hon’bl
Dr. Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister
Govt of India
7 Race Course Road
New Delhi

Subject: GRANT OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION

Respected Prime Minister Sir,
We have been pleading for grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) ever since 1982. This demand is supported by over seven hundred Members of Parliament through their Party Manifestos at one time or the other, besides it had been agreed to by five Prime Ministers in the past. We have however lost count of the number of times it has been strongly recommended by Parliamentary Committees.

2. The latest one was the Koshyari Committee of the Parliament appointed to consider the longstanding demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP). This Committee submitted their report in Dec 2011 to the Parliament recommending in the strongest possible terms the immediate grant of OROP. This report was rejected by the Hon'ble Raksha Mantri on 20 Apr 2012. Thereafter during the briefing by the MOD on 17 May to us, about rejection of OROP by the RM, the matter was revived by the Hon'ble RRM when he directed the Secretary of the ESM Deptt to prepare the case for OROP with all its implications for
discussion in July.

3. We had been waiting for July to finalize the matter and suddenly we hear that a Committee under the Cabinet Secretary has been appointed to consider OROP and other matters. We have yet to come out of the havoc created by the earlier Cabinet Secretary Committee and here we are saddled with another one. The earlier Committee which was appointed to correct the shortcomings of the Sixth CPC, instead destroyed every system of working of dues of Armed Forces. What should we be expecting from these Gentlemen when in their earlier AVTAR they went out with a vengeance to destroy all that was good for us?

4. We therefore submit that this noble initiative on your part will turn out to be an exercise in futility, unless we are represented on it. Such committees dealing with our problems without our say in these, are got approved by the bureaucrats not only to mislead the leadership but to also obtain a REJECTION CERTIFICATE OF OUR SUBMISSIONS, which they can quote to the next Govt also. The more powerful the Chairman of such committees the more powerful the REJECTION CERTIFICATE. They already got one from the Cabinet Secretary the most powerful one, which they were throwing at our faces, now they want another from him so that the OROP is buried for ever.

5. The last Committee in which we were represented was the HIGH LEVEL EMPOWERED COMMITTEE in 1990, of which you as the Finance Minister and I as representative of Ex servicemen were Members. In the proceedings the bureaucracy tried to mislead the leadership but could not get away due to our presence and presentation of the truth. As a result the entire leadership was ready to give OROP, but could not do it due to serious resource crunch, when to run the affairs of the Nation you sent our gold reserves to UK. Finding our presence too hot they probably took an oath not to have our representative in any such Committee in future and started the fashion of inter ministerial committees, the GOMs Committees and Cabinet Secretaries committees for achieving their aims of keeping us out. So much so that two Defense Ministers, heading two GOMs, who promised to invite me for presentation of our case before taking any decision, were not allowed to do so. One of them happened to be one of the most powerful ministers of the Cabinet.

6. On 17 May briefing in the MOD, after some discussions the RRM was very kind to give very clear cut orders to the Secretary to prepare a case for OROP for discussions in July. The Secretary had no way to avoid doing what was right by the Veterans. Do we believe that the present Committee has been appointed to wriggle out of the corner in which the secretary had landed himself in during 17 May briefing?

7. Respected Prime Minister Sir, it is time to get the problems of the Armed Forces sorted out in their entirety rather than do window dressing and again leave some kinks in the armory for the Bureaucrats to manipulate things and bring us back to square one.

8. The first step in solving our problems is to grant OROP by a Cabinet approval and direct the Paying Authorities to implement. There is no need for further examination of this problem as it has already been flogged several times in the last thirty years of us taking it up with various Govts and acceptance by five Prime Ministers including Indiraji on 25 Jun 1983 and Rajivji on 13 Mar 1987. The Paying authorities also do not need any guidance or support from the bureaucrats as they have all the wherewithal, knowledge and the necessary work force to do it.

9. The answer to our other problems does not rest in the Cabinet Secretary Committee from which we are kept miles away for them to play havoc with us. Please therefore cancel their appointment. For this you need to take definite worthwhile steps without which we will be landed in further trouble. This means appointment of an Interim Pay Commission to undo the damage done by the earlier Cabinet Secretary Committee and also address other problems which have come up later. Your Govt had accepted our demand for appointing separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces in 2006/2007. There should therefore be no problem in appointing an Interim Pay Commission now.

10. With your kind initiative we may get some of our problems solved for now. This however is not going to end our agony unless your own Philosophy of THINKING OUT OF THE BOX is put into practice for bringing about a radical change in the entire set up of the Defense Forces. What is required is the creation of instruments through which we can ensure that such a situation does not arise. The following minimal actions need to be taken:-

a) Institutionalized inter action with the leadership on regular basis. A separate Standing Committee of Voluntary Associations (SCOVA) for Defense Ministry on the same lines as in Ministry of Pensions would meet the bill.

b) Ex servicemen Department of the MOD to be staffed by retired and serving officers and men.

c) Representation of the Armed Forces at all levels of decision making in the MOD. Armed Forces are the only uniformed Services which have been denied this privilege, resulting in all round trust deficit, which is sad for us all and dangerous for the Integrity of the Nation.

d) Ex servicemen Commission be set up with full powers, on the same lines as of other Commissions like Minorities Commission.

11. We look forward to an early response and announcement of acceptance of all that has been submitted above and definitely before you come on the ramparts of the Historic RED FORT on 15 August...


 

Yours faithfully,
Lt Col Inderjit Singh (Retd) Chairman