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Monday, December 19, 2011

The much awaited Parliamentary Committee Report on Military Pensions submitted today

The Parliamentary (Rajya Sabha) Committee on Petitions submitted its report today.

For those who want to peruse the full report may click here to download the entire copy.

As a keen observer of developments in the field, my observations are as under :

A.   The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) of the MoD, with Ms Neelam Nath at the (then) ceremonial helm, and with two Under Secretaries actually and practically running the entire show, has been less than truthful with the committee with its inputs. The first proof of the same being the figure of Rs 3000 crore per year for OROP projected by the said department which tacitly has been contradicted by the Department of Expenditure which in turn has pegged the annual expenditure for the first year at Rs 1300 crore.

B.   The DESW had put forth the reasons of financial, administrative and legal impediments in implementing OROP. While projecting administrative difficulties, it was pointed out that the information regarding pensioners was not available since military documents are weeded out after 25 years. This, my friends, is a bundle of lies. Firstly, the 25 years limit applies to non-pensioners and not to pensioners. Secondly, naturally OROP is to apply to pensioners only and if a person is a pensioner, he or she would obviously be in receipt of pension based on a PPO which would contain all requisite information such as the length of service and rank which is all that is required.

C.   Even the legal difficulties expressed by DESW have no legs to stand upon. The DESW commented that the Supreme Court had upheld the implementation of cut-off dates in pensionary matters in various cases. However, what DESW did not mention is the fact that there are many more decisions in which cut-off dates have been deprecated, including very recent ones.

D.   The representatives of the Army, Navy and Air Force supported the cause of OROP. A mere reading of the report also seemingly indicates that while the representatives of the Services were very much present in the initial meetings and very fairly assisted the Committee, they were probably not present during the final meeting of deliberation when the Secretaries were again heard on 14 Nov 2011. Perhaps chary of the proper and fair assistance provided to the Committee by the Services, the military reps were not brought in by the DESW on the penultimate date. This is the impression that I get, perhaps the Services HQ would be able to elaborate if my guess is correct.

E.   The findings of the Committee were appreciable and pro-veteran. The Committee has observed that the demands of veterans were included in Election Manifestoes of various parties but not given effect. The Committee has also observed that OROP was existing in a way till 1973 when it was withdrawn in an ex-parte manner by the 3rd CPC which linked the pensionary system of the armed forces with that of civilian employees. The committee also observed that there was no comparison with civilian employees and defence services faced much harsher conditions coupled with an early retirement age. The committee also observed that given the economy of the country, Rs 1300 crore per year was not a heavy figure.

F.   However, most importantly, the following observations of the committee summed up the essence of the entire exercise :-

“…They (defence services) serve the nation with utmost devotion and selflessness but their demands are consistently being ignored, not by the heads of the Armed Forces, but by bureaucrats. It’s a typical example of bureaucratic apathy. To continue this apathy, the Ministries apprised the Committee that if OROP were to be implemented, similar demands may be raised from civilian employees. This argument the committee finds is a baseless apprehension...The defence personnel in the PBOR category retire when they are around 35-40 years of age. Even the officers retire when they are around 55 years of age. That is the time when they have family and social responsibilities to discharge for which they need sound financial support. This is certainly not the case with civilian work force where the age of retirement is 60 uniformly…The committee is not convinced with the hurdles projected by the DESW in implementing OROP for defence personnel…”


Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep, Heartiest congrats on launching of the Gazette!
The Committees recommendation prove whose 'welfare' the DESW looks after. isn't it time that this dept be run purely by Ex Servicemen, and not the IAS?
i am facing a problem, solution for which no agency has been able to give. My father in law, a pensioner, expired lately. the papers were processed with the PDA, but since her date of birth is not available, the PDA has not been able to give her the family pension. she was born in what is now pakistan around 1936. what is the way out? thanks

Pokar Ram said...

Dear Major (in rank and thought process, Sir

The services that you render to this segment of most neglected in peace time but most sought-after during national crisis is invaluable. I fail to understand as to from where do you get so much of stamina to read through and put forth very valuable unbiased interpretations.

May GOD bless you, sir.

Anonymous said...

Veterans may raise their hope with this report , if at all implemented.
May God bless the almighties occupying position of authorities with wisdom to take care of the soldiers & ESM

Anonymous said...

Well finally, parliament starts to act as check and balance against the arbitrary exercise of power by the executive.

Harry said...


DESW actually stands for DUSHMANS OF ESM WELFARE . So expect NO WELFARE from these jokers. They are our tormentors and not our well wishers. ESM orgs need to intensify their struggle to get these worthless boos booted out from the Dept.

How about picketing them and shaming them publicly?

Velayudhan said...

Dear Maj Navadeep,

Please accept our heartiest congrats. your analysis of the report is absolutely correct. If I am not wrong before the third pay commission the pension to AF pers were 70% of the last pay drawn on superannation and for civ it was 30%. The same has been brought down to 50% for AF pers and from 30% to civ it has been brought up to 50%with out going into details of the terms of ref of the employment.Why it was not objected by any one at that time and it needs to be highlighted at this time to counter the bureaucratic apathy towards the AF pers. Can you please throw some light on this unless you feel that it will open a pandora's box.

With reagrds

Anonymous said...

well it appears that there is some hope of light in this tunnel of despair.

and well done Major Sahib. God Bless You for your voluntary and heartfelt contribution to this cause.

an admirer.

Col NR Kurup said...

When this is the style of functioning of our Parliamentary Committe, kindly see what PM Mr David Cameron said about his soldiers: He said that "Our Armed Forces do so much to keep us safe. This committee will be my way of ensuring our troops and veterans get the support they need. One of its first priorities will be to address the challenges facing hundreds of troops returning from the frontline in Afghanistan. In the coming year, I will make sure we deliver." The PM's action group — full name the Armed Forces and Veterans' Committee — will be made up of ministers across all Government departments that help the forces and former personnel.

I prefer not to make any further comment on this.

JUSTIN said...

once again a favourable report for all xsm. now we will have to see weteher it will see the day light in favour of defence veterans.

Anonymous said...

I understand many times earlier also Parliment committee on defence has recommended OROP and now Petition committee from rajyasabha is once again recommending the same.Will it make any difference to ESM community in the near future?

anil paranjpye said...

The Recommendations stand buried in the last sentence of the Findings....seems the Committee did not wish to highlight its own recommendations ! The Babus would be well-advised to follow our Manual of Staff Duties when writing a Report...!

G N Rao said...

Let us hope some good sense would prevail upon the babus and netas and implement the recommendations in total

Raghubir said...

Nothing is likely to shake up status quo on the OROP- this report or any AFT verdicts.Only way out is for our services to pitch for the welfare of the ESM by having direct linkage with the political set up in the country. Demography of the MoD & DESW needs to changed with at least 50%- if not more manning by service people.Our Chiefs will do well to fight for bigger cause of ops preparedness,improving the environment & well-being of the services & retired soldiers than to correct the correct year -in the New Year.

corona8 said...

I had read some place that in the case of the IV CPC Rank Pay case, a representation had been made in the court that the outgo would be Rs.2000 or Rs.3000 crore, similar to the kind of bogey that was raised, and now debunked, in respect of OROP. I wonder if there is some concrete calculation kept ready to rationally challenge these outlandish figures.

PBOR said...

how PBOR would be benefited. n e comparision / table available??