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Anomalies in One Rank One Pension – Letter to Defence Minister

The definition of OROP was altered – Shri.Rajeev Chandrasekar, MP writes to Defence Minister on Anomalies in One Rank One Pension

Rajeev chandra sekar writes to Defence Minister on anomalies of one rank one pension

1.  PENSION EQUALISATION:

Equalisation of pensions every five (5) years will  bring  about  disparity in pensions and result in senior ranked officers drawing  lesser pension than junior ranked officers for five years. This violates  the definition  of One  Rank One  Pension. This will  also  result in permanent violation  of the definition  as fresh cases will come up every year.

One  Rank One  Pension should  be implemented  in perpetuity and should  not be linked with  Central   Pay  Commissions.   It  is  pertinent   to   mention   that  the   Central   Pay Commission  award  must integrate the OROP and should not adjudicate  on it.

2.   BASEYEAR FOR FIXATION OF PENSION 2013-14   VS 2014-15

Fixation of pension as per calendar  year 2013  would  result in past retirees getting  less pension of one increment than the soldier retiring today. This will not only result in past retirees drawing  lesser pensions than  present  retirees,  but also  result in  loss of  one increment across the board for past pensioners in perpetuity.

3.  PAYMENT OF ARREARS:Payment w.e.f 01 July, 2014  instead of 01 April  2014

OROP was approved  in the Central Budget 2014-15.   Applicability  of the same must be
1st April  of the same financial  year. In the case of OROP,  the Government  had issued specific orders on its applicability  w.e.f 01 April, 2014.  Hence, implementation  date for OROP from  01 July, 2014  will  be against the Parliament approval.  Changing  the date would result in a loss of three months’ emoluments for OROP across the board.

4.   DENIAL  OF  OROP   TO  PREMATURE  RETIREES HEREON:

It is not desirable   that  Pension  entitlements   under  the Pension  Regulations   as per Defence Services   Regulations    be  modified    through    OROP.   It will   create   a  class  within   a  class giving   rise to a situation   which   may  not withstand   legal  scrutiny.

Moreover,    the clause  on denial   of OROP  on  premature    retirement   also  goes  against  the recommendations       of   the   Ajai   Vikram    Singh   Committee,     which    had   recommended measures    to   reduce    the   age   profile    of   officers.    The   said   recommendations       were approved    by the  Cabinet   and  implemented    by the  Government    in December   2004.

5.   REVIEW OF  OROP  AFTER 7TH  CENTRAL PAY COMMISSION   (CPC) IMPLEMENTATION

In order to bring  pre-20l3    retirees at par with 2015  retirees, there is a need to review OROP soon after the 7th CPC implementation.  This will ensure parity in rank for rank and  service for  service.  It may well  be meaningful  to do  this rationalisation   from  01
January,  2016   and  then  use the  multiplication   factor  –  no  rationalisation   would  be
needed  till  the  next CPC,  unless there  is a  change  in formula   of  fixing  salaries  as recommended  by 7th CPe.

This   will   ensure   the   Government    does   not   face   legal   challenges    by Veterans seeking parity at par with similarly  placed officers who were in service on 01 January,
2006.   Such a review after the 71h  CPC implementation  will also settle the issue of Base
Year (Point No.2   above).

ADDITIONAL POINTS : ANOMALIES IN ONE RANK ONE PENSION (OROP) SCHEME

A. CHANGE IN DEFINITION OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION:

PI refer to:

1. MOD letter no 12(01/2014-D (Pen/Pol) dated 26 February, 2014
2. MOM of the meeting chaired by RM on 26 February, 2014 to discuss OROP
3. Response by MOS Defence, Shri Rao Inderjit Singh to my Parliamentary Question No. 962 dated 02 December, 2014 on ‘Implementation of One Rank, One Pension (OROP)’
4. GOI Press Release dated 05 September, 2015

5. GOI letter no 12(1)/2014 dated 07 November, 2015 and

6. GO1 letter no 12(01)/2014-D (pen/pol)- Part- 11 dated 14 December, 2015

a) One Rank One Pension (DROP) 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. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.

I. On 26 February, 2014, the Government vide letter No 1 2(01 /2014-D (Pen/Pol) accepted the principle of One Rank One Pension as defined above.

II. Minutes of the meeting chaired by the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri on 26 February also contained the above definition of OROP.

The reply given by Minister of State for Defence Shri Rao Inderjit Singh to a question raised by me in Parliament on 02 December, 2014 also gave the above definition of OROP.

However, in subsequent letters and press release issued by the Ministry of Defence, the definition of OROP was altered as follows:

b) One Rank One Pension (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. Future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners at periodic intervals.

I. In the Press Release dated 05 September, 2014, the definition of OROP was altered from the accepted definition mention in letter dated 26 February 2014. “…future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the post pensioners” to ‘.. this implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners at periodic intervals.”

II. The Government of India letter 12(1)/2014 dated 07 November, 2015 also defined OROP as “this implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners at periodic intervals.’

III. The Ministry of Defence Notification No. 12(01)/2014-D(pen/pol)-Part-11 announcing the appointment of the Judicial Committee to look into removal of anomalies that may arise of out implementation of OROP also repeated the definition as “OROP implies that uniform pension be paid to the Defence Forces Personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of their date of retirement, which implies that bridging the gap between the rate of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals’.

It is essential that the definition of (DROP be maintained in its true form in order to successfully implement the scheme. Failing to do so will deprive past pensioners and widows of equivalent pension as present retirees thereby violating the very principle of One Rank One Pension.

B. ANOMALIES EFFECTING PARTICULAR RANKS:

The pensions of ranks – Hon. Naib Subedar, Major and Lieutenant Colonel – require to be relooked at.

a) Pension of Havildars granted with rank of Hon. Naib Subedar in view of their exemplary service, are not granted pension of Naib Subedar, instead he continues to draw the pension of a Havildar. This makes the Hon. Ranks merely ceremonial. It is required that this anomaly be corrected and pension of Naib Subedar be granted. Similarly, this must be accepted as a principle and it should be applicable to all Hon. ranks in case of NCOs and JCOs.

b) PCDA (Pensions) Circular No. 555 Dated 04 February, 2016 with the subject ‘Implementation of One Rank One Pension to Defence Pensioners’, Para 11(a) states: “The officers retired on or after 1.1.1996 in the rank of Major and who have completed 21 years of service have been allowed the pay of Lt. Col. Accordingly, pension of these officers have been revised by issue of Corr. PPOs. It is therefore, requested to revise the pension of post- 96 Army Officer with rank Major and its equivalent in the Air Force and Navy who have completed 21 years.”

The above provisions have created two separate pensions for the rank of Major one pre-1996 retiree Majors and another for post-1996 retiree Majors with the same length of service.

II. The above provisions have been added in continuation to Government of India (MoD) letter No 1(13)/2009/D (Pen/Pol) dated 24 September 2012 and PCDA (P) Allahabad Circular No 14 dated 02 January 2013 wherein Majors, who retired on or after 01 January 1996 with 21 years or more were granted pension of Lt Col by issue of Corr. PPOs.

III. These Majors were granted pension of Lt. Col. as they were payed the pay of Lt.Col. under the provisions of SAI 2/S/1998 during the currency of 5′ Central Pay Commission.

It goes against the principle of One Rank One Pension that the rank of Major be on two different pension scales. This anomaly should be corrected and all past retiree Majors with 21 years or more of service must be treated at par and paid uniform pension.

Source: Blog of Rajeev Chandrasekar, MP

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