I just thought of updating readers on a few issues.
The current Raksha Mantri has admirably made a statement of ‘not pursuing’ approximately four to five thousand appeals filed by the Ministry of Defence against disabled soldiers. Though the Ministry had no other choice in wake of the decision of the Supreme Court dismissing more than 800 such appeals on 10 December 2014, the move is still welcome and reflects a change for the better in the way political leadership perceives such issues. It remains to be seen however as to how the ensconced mandarins in the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) of the Ministry and the Personnel Services Directorate (PS Directorate) of the Army HQ would be tamed. With a sensitive political leadership and a proactive Adjutant General currently in chair, things appear positive.
Mr Derek O’Brien and Ms Smriti Z Irani were two MPs who had shown concern in the Parliament about disabled soldiers and the litigation unleashed on them by the Ministry of Defence and also about the injustice to them even by military medical boards. Mr O’Brien has penned a short opinion on the subject in which he has graciously mentioned Ms Irani too- readers may like to peruse it by clicking here.
Lot of noise has been made with many veterans writing letters to the current Raksha Mantri condemning his move and thought-process of basing OROP on the number of years spent in the retiring rank. This assumption and perception is incorrect and imaginary. As far as I know, there is NO MOVE of calculating OROP based on the length of service in the last rank. What the Minister, and later Col Rathore, were trying to convey was that personnel retiring with similar service in the same rank were today superannuating at varied stages of pay (and hence pension) and efforts were on to harmonize the situation and arrive at a figure of OROP for each rank. Yes, there are elements in the bureaucracy who would not like to see the actual definition of OROP through, but I am sure they are not having such a free run in the current dispensation. The proof of the pudding however, of course, is in the eating.