10:25 am - Friday March 22, 2019

Be Careful , The Bitter Truth About OROP : Nation may pay heavily for greed of a Few IAS officers

Dear Friends,

Subject: The Bitter Truth About OROPorop

We have again ventured to tread on this tricky path. We had in the past tried to convey that the OROP was an “Idyllic Concept” (Our mail of June 5, 2015, titled, “One Rank One Pension”-An Idyllic Concept. How To Implement In Practice?” We had then been roundly condemned and upbraided by many. Some one senior to me even “cursed” me and found me guilty of treason against the nation. Ours was an attempt to let the learned civilians know of the serious threat perception involved.

Be that as it may, today, all press have it on the front page or otherwise that 10 ex-Chiefs have written an open letter to the Prime Minister on Monday, warning of dire consequences. Two retired soldiers have started fast unto death on this issue.

Many senior civilian friends have also been blaming the Modi sarkar for breach of faith, etc.

Friends, all these are happening because of lack of adequate knowledge or being unaware of the facts, as a retired IAS officer has revealed. This is with due regard to the current or the former army Chiefs who are in news today. Before you crucify me for making such an outrageous statement, please carefully study the attached mail from a friend. We may question the IAS officer on what he has recorded but it seems he spoke the truth. It will be difficult to “manufacture” such “lies“, if it were so.

It is difficult to highlight some parts of the mail. The blunt truth is: it was a sleight of hand by some senior (rather super senior) IAS officers in collusion with the then army Chiefs. The first open and clear assertion of the author is:

 

·       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.

 

Then, the author analyses the problem:

 

·       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.

 

He then proceeds to expose how the IAS lobby had created the problem out of sheer greed and how they brought the senior army brass to this sordid drama:

 

·       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.

 

Then he points out the complexities involved:

 

·       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.

 

The genuine part of the grievance/problem has been explained as below:

·       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.

 

Shri Avay Shukla   then offers some very specific and concrete suggestions like:

 

·       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 20,000 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.

 

We may also like to add a suggestion here: Can our “patriotic” Members of Parliament “sacrifice” some amount from their MPLADS grant to make things easier for the government in this hour of crisis?

 

Shri Shukla’s suggestion to the Prime Minister: “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.”

 

Friends, we would also suggest that in view of the serious financial implication of the OROP issue, let this be a one-time move and kept limited upto only the JCO level, including the widows of those killed in action. A senior army officer said that their crop are patriotic enough to accept that. But, do compensate them for their early age of retirement, as highlighted in this mail. Most of them get decent pension and mostly get themselves fruitfully occupied after retirement.

 

Within the ambit of what have all been stated in this mail, it should now be possible to consider OROP. But, things have got to a level when it has to be done/implemented early. That may also dissuade the two former soldiers from giving up their fast unto death.

‘May be the Defence Minister would like to consider to suitably brief the former and present army Chiefs.

 

                                                       Vandemataram,

                                                             Your sevak,

                                                                  D.C. Nath

Filed in: Articles, Politics

2 Responses to “Be Careful , The Bitter Truth About OROP : Nation may pay heavily for greed of a Few IAS officers”

  1. R.Venkatanarayanan
    August 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    How can an officer who retired 20 years back or even 60years back claim a pension equal to that of an officer who retired yesterday? Army or no army if the govt. does grant this so-called OROP to Defence forces the Supreme Court is very likely to strike it down as non-equal treatment under the Constitution. I have no hesitation in saying that apex-scalers also, IAS or non-IAS, also should not be eligible for OROP. It is very easy ( just a G.O.) to stop it. This privilege is totally inequitous and unjustifiable besides being unconstitutional Because it is arbitrary.
    It is ridiculous for the Govt. to keep chanting, “practical difficulties”. Things must be made very clear to the Defence people who are demonstrating. The job must be given to the Defence Chiefs.
    Quite apart, some other way should and can be found to recognize the very difficult field conditions of work in the Defence forces. But here the problem is the top levels including those in arm chairs in the Defence forces will not easily cooperate. They will be more ready to create posts of Lt Generals than those of Captains and Colonels. I saw this while I ws dealing with this matter while in Govt.
    RVN

  2. N S CHAKRAVARTHY
    August 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    WHY DOES the Patriots forum not mobilze a PIL in the Supreme court and bring these facts to the notice of the SC
    N S CHAKRAVARTHY

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