OROP: Battling for OROP, ex-servicemen train their guns on bureaucracy

‘People say we are fighting for money... but it’s about our rights... the bureaucracy has become the biggest obstacle to OROP’

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune | Published:July 19, 2015 2:39 am
OROP, One rank one pension, Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister Parrikar, Defence Ministry, OROP protest, OROP implementation, india news, latest news, pune news, pune newsline, indian express Colonel Lalit Rai (retired).

As the Kargil Vijay Diwas, celebrated on July 26 to commemorate the victory in Kargil war, is approaching, the ex-servicemen who are “deeply hurt” by the delay in the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) policy in spite of the election promises made by BJP which is in power now are asking if the government really cares about its war heroes, veterans and widows of the warriors.

Pune being one of the important centres of defence-related activities because of presence of several institutions, it has also been battle ground for the OROP from the beginning. Two war veterans, Wing Commander S D Karnik (retired) and Wing Commander K V Bopardikar (retired), stepped up the agitation for OROP against the government by refusing to be felicitated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a function in Pune in the last week of May this year.

The incident sparked the nationwide debate about the OROP.

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Wing Commander Karnik (80), a war hero of 1971 war and a Vir Chakra recipient, says, “Immediately after I declared my refusal to accept the felicitation, I got call a from the Central government, asking me to rethink about my stand and saying that refusing the honour would be an insult. This shows that the government is concerned about its image but not about the soldiers who fought for the country, protected the citizens and ensured safety during the natural calamities.”

As per the definition accepted by Parliament from the report of Koshiyari Committee, OROP implies that uniform pension 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.

Commander Ravindra Pathak (retired) of the Pension Cell of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement says, “People say we are fighting for money. But this battle is for asserting our rights. In the civil-military balance, which is essential to India’s defence philosophy, political control of the defence forces has actually turned into the bureaucratic control. It is the bureaucracy which has become the biggest obstacle to OROP. Several other countries including some of our enemies have implemented the policy of OROP for their defence forces.”

Commander Pathak added, “The current defence pension budget is around Rs 54,500 crore and as per figure given by the current defence minister, the OROP would cause an additional expenditure of over Rs 8,200 crore. Do we need to tell our citizens where this figure stands as compared to tax rebates and subsidies to big businesses ? Also, there is no actual data available about the exact number of pensioners and closest kin receiving the pensions and their current status.”

As per a primary estimate, there are at least 28 lakh ex-servicemen and widows drawing pensions.

The arguments on side of the government, and especially the Finance Ministry, is that as defence personnel retire at an early age, they draw the pensions for much longer periods and thus OROP may result into swelling of the defence budget.

The ratio of pensioners to serving personnel in the military is 1.7:1 as against 0.56:1 among the civilians. But the veterans say it’s the price the nation needs to pay for maintaining a standing Army.

Group Caption S S Phatak (retired) says, “Peaceful agitation will be intensified till the OROP is granted. The anger against the government is visible and already rasta roko and burning of effigies are taking place at some places. The government needs to act fact.”

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  1. C
    Capt Gurdas
    Jul 19, 2015 at 9:03 am
    The article is an excellent that is why I have given 4 rating. But I have no fear to state the present government deserve below poor rating.
    Reply
    1. S
      Satendra kumar
      Jul 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm
      DROP-scheme the pension for all ex-servicemen and current security forces personnel a good and viable system for all.
      Reply
      1. K
        kannan arivarasan
        Jul 19, 2015 at 12:24 pm
        can any one babu will tell the nation that his son/daughter is serving in armed forces. or any mp,mla, minister or any ex pm can tell us the truth. there is none. but not in uk where the princes are to serve the nation in armed forces first and then there are other civil jobs.babus in india are real masters in politics but the present pm has only words he is not even obeying the sc orders because the babus are misguiding bjp, congress ministries. all the politicians are only signing where the babus tell them to sign probably without reading what they are signing for so much faith they have got on babus. they do not know what is life in services .whenever pm,dm,fm hm travel they go by flights but the service personnel travel only in trucks/or buses.god save india only mother india knows actually who are protecting her during war, or floods eathquakes etc.
        Reply
        1. K
          kannan arivarasan
          Jul 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm
          let us hope on 15 aug when the pm talks about the soldiers sacrifice to the nation , he remembers about the esm and announce the govt order released by him on orop before he goes to the red fort to give a talk and obeys the sc order and comes clean with a bold pm gesture before the babus and fm. god bless the esm and bjp
          Reply
          1. l
            leo-7 watching
            Jul 20, 2015 at 10:22 am
            THE DEVIOUS BABUS HAVE DISROBED THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PRIDE , ELAN , MORALE AND FIGHTING SPIRIT . THE OLD INJURED AND POOR EXSERVICEMEN SITTING ON HUNGER STRIKE AT JANTAR MANTAR HAVE DISROBED INDIA OF HER IZZAT . THE BABUS HAVE FOOLED THE LALA JAITELY , DEFENCE MINISTER AND HAVE THE MODI GOVT BY THEIR BALLS . THE BJP GOVT IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THE CONGRESS . WITH SKELETONS FALLING OUT OF THE CUPBOARDS THIS BJP GOVT WILL NOT LAST LONG CERTIANLY NOT THE NEXT ELECTION
            Reply
            1. P
              pkd
              Jul 19, 2015 at 7:14 pm
              Dear all veterans this time join hands together till orop is sanction by govt if req we will die will up our fire arms again against all bureaucrats and lair politicians they are taking all yes we are for money as we need that against our life our age our hardship so do not stop till death orop is our right
              Reply
              1. M
                Mahmud Ghazni
                Jul 19, 2015 at 7:58 am
                There are some missing points in the argument for the GOI. First, the soldiers who retire early don't get anywhere as much as the civilians who retire at 60 after earning so much more with the 3-4 CPCs under their belt. Also, you compare civilian employees who sit in one place, in AC chambers, with no danger to life and limb with those who volunteer to protect you, your postman, the cycle repair guy down the road, and the like with their life, and are ready to give up any part of their body in the service of the people mentioned above. what a sad state of mind to make such a comparison. The nation calls upon these selfless souls to support them in any and all disasters, and they perform 100%, every time. Would you consider giving any of your body parts for any of those spoken above? The Armed forces commit to do all that and more for their entire active duty period. It is the country's duty to look after them without any complaint during their sunset years, just as it was their duty to look after the country's security during their term of active duty.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bidyadhar
                  Jul 19, 2015 at 6:58 pm
                  OROP KAHAT MOHE LAAZ LAAGE SUNNAT MOHE GAARI. (FEEL SHAME TO SPEAK & FEEL ABUSE TO HEAR) JAI OROP
                  Reply
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