While I agree with most of the points raised by veteran organisations on One Rank One Pension (OROP) and I also agree that it has been unduly delayed because of exaggerated figures and overstated fears propelled by the Defence Accounts Department, I fail to understand why Col Rajyavardhan Rathore’s recent write-up has been perceived by some as a dampener.
It was not. And actually it was reassuring.
While writing the op-ed, perhaps what he wanted to convey was the predicament that the political set-up was facing at arriving at exact figures constituting OROP for each rank. When he said that people spending different lengths of time in each rank were not getting equal pensions because of varied salaries at the time of retirement, he was not attempting to dilute the concept of OROP but only stating a fact which we need to address. For example, today, two officers of the same rank commissioned and superannuating on the same date may not be retiring with the same last drawn pay and hence not receiving exactly the same pension, and then which of the two figures would constitute OROP for past retirees is perhaps the very real question that is engaging the political executive. But this poser was also qualified by the Colonel by stating that they were committed to harmonize this situation without ‘penalizing’ anyone. This itself should be comforting that a solution is being searched for this issue and not the perpetuation of the problem. Take it on a scale of positivity and not with a pinch of salt.
The answer perhaps would be to find an agreeable figure of pension for retirees of each rank by keeping 2014 as the base year of retirement- upgrade those who are below that figure and protect those who are above that figure and then pass the said benefit to all pre-2014 retirees with a yearly review with all past retirees retiring in similar rank receiving the pension of current retirees of the same rank with same length of service. However all of this has to be done within the four corners of definition mentioned in the Parliament, without dilution.
Whatever be the outcome, whatever be the ultimate solution, in a democracy we would be free to disagree or agree with what is proposed or implemented, but my idea of putting these few words above is that I did not see anything negative or objectionable in Col Rathore’s oped, in fact, I found it desirable in light of the undue delay. I also do not blame veteran organisations in being skeptical since their cynicism is not without reason. I just request that we should not get into a hairsplitting exercise or search for negativity even where it does not live.