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
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