Monday, May 24, 2010

Raw deal for ex-servicemen,Centre must give one rank one pension by Lt Gen Raj Kadyan

The Tribune


23 May 10

Raw deal for ex-servicemen
Centre must give one rank one pension
by Lt-Gen Raj Kadyan (retd)
The ex-servicemen have been fighting for justice. In 2008, they took the unprecedented step of going public with their demands. Rallies were held at Gurgaon and 61 other cities throughout the country. The Sixth Pay Commission report had just come out and not unexpectedly the ex-servicemen got a raw deal.
By convention, a soldier is expected to maintain silence even after he sheds his uniform. He himself would prefer it that way. But his silence must be respected and reciprocated, instead of being exploited. His genuine aspirations must be met. Unfortunately, that is not being done.

Projecting one’s demand on a public platform was not an action taken easily or on impulse. Immediately on declassification of the Pay Commission report, the political leadership was contacted with all respect and deference that being the peoples’ representatives is their due. ‘One rank one pension’ or OROP, as it is popularly known, was the lead demand. It implies relating military pensions to length of service and rank on retirement, independent of the date of retirement.
Contact was established at the highest level in our political leadership. The only counter-argument was “if we give it to you, other government servants will also demand”. The ‘others’ are our own kith and kin, not adversaries. If they deserve it, certainly give it to them as well. However, if they are used as a pretext to deny the soldiers their rightful dues, then it is unfair.

It can then be argued that give OROP to only those retirees who like the soldiers stay away from their families for all/ most of their service life; to only those who perpetually follow a 24x7 work schedule; to those who face danger, and death on a daily basis; to those who are compulsorily retired when in mid-thirties on a pittance… and the list of differences goes on. Comparison is valid only between the similar.

The rally on April 27, 2008 was launched after due notice to the hierarchy. The government was apprised. There was concern. ‘Soldiers’ should not be doing it, we were reminded. When we claim soldiers are different and should not be clubbed with others, the notion is pooh-poohed. But in expectations we remain different. The dichotomy was pointed out. Silence. Placing our demand before the public was a compulsion forced by deaf ears; it was not a choice.

Seeing veterans on the road, even in a very disciplined manner could only jerk the authorities. It did. Within weeks of the first rally two of our demands were met; a separate pay commission for the defence forces and constitution of an Ex-Servicemen Commission. However, they failed to spread much cheer. The first would take effect only in 2016. Apart from failing to address immediate concern it was also looked at with suspicion.

Our bureaucracy-dominated government is known to find a difficulty for every solution, and there is enough time to do so. In the constitution of the Commission, the devil lay in details. The proposed list of members had only one retired military person. It even included a lady from political background, ostensibly to look after the interests of service widows, with whose condition she would be totally unfamiliar.

Interestingly, the commission is to be headed by a retired judge with no background in soldiering, the very basis for constituting a separate pay commission. The veterans rightly asked when the Women’s Commission is headed by a woman, the Minority Commission always by a person from the minorities, the Tribal Commission by someone from the tribal groupings, why the Ex-servicemen Commission should not be headed by an ex-serviceman? Silence.

The main demand of OROP remains unaddressed. The demand is neither huge nor extraordinary. It is not a demand for more money; it is rather a demand for equity and justice. Expecting equal remuneration for equal services cannot be called unreasonable. This makes the government reluctance to accept it even more intriguing. Defence forces are the last arrow in the country’s arsenal, also the most reliable. Picking at one’s healthiest tooth cannot be termed wise or rational.
The authorities have adopted many tricks to scuttle the OROP demand. They first ordered a committee (of bureaucrats, without a defence representative) to look into ‘OROP and related issues’. It only touched the so-called related issues. OROP was summarily rejected as being ‘administratively’ not feasible.

The government then claimed to be bound by the Committee’s recommendations. It is like the anecdote where a burglar pleaded innocence on the grounds that it was his hand that committed the crime and not he himself. In denying OROP the political class may not be complicit but they are apparently powerless.

There has surely been some enhancement announced for the pre-2006 pensioners. But there is still a wide gap between pre- and post-2006 categories. OROP has thus not been sanctioned, notwithstanding the government advertisements to the contrary.

There has been a spate of court decisions lately on pension related issues, all favouring the ESM. In one case the apex court used extremely harsh words against the government, which were reported in the media. The prevailing sentiments support the ESM demand.

The government needs to see the proverbial writing on the wall and sanction the long pending demand of OROP. Being a demand for justice the ESM will settle for nothing else. There is no wriggle room here. Yet, we will never cease to be what we always were while in uniform — disciplined, patriotic and responsible.

The write is a former Deputy Chief of Army Staff

Articles by ESM...

Dear All,

1. An article titled Raw deal for Ex-Servicemen “Centre must give one rank one pension” appeared in Tribune dated 23 May 10 written by Lt Gen Raj Kadyan Chairman IESM is circulated herewith.

2. May we request other ESM also to write articles on matters Military, about mistreatment, ill-treatment, down gradation of status, unacceptable cumulative anomalies of 4th, 5th and 6th Pay Commissions, war memorials, OROP, dignity of soldier etc, the topics can be many which are close to our hearts.

3. Friends, we will have to intensify our Movement to make the Govt see reasons and accept our demands. We call upon all ESM of India to join in the efforts to get our due justice.

4. We need media help to project the facts about the injustices being heaped on the Defence Forces. All are requested to Chip in where ever we have the contacts.

With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,

Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
Mobile : 9312404269, 0124-4110570
Email :

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



A Parliamentary committee has asked the Defence Ministry to soon implement 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) for armed forces veterans, noting that a demand for this has not been accepted by it.

"The committee concludes that 'OROP' has not been accepted by the government. However, the pensionary benefits of ex-servicemen including disabled ex-servicemen have considerably been improved by implementation of the seven recommendations of a committee (headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar)," the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence said in its report tabled in Lok Sabha today.

The panel, headed by Satpal Maharaj (Congress) had considered the government replies to its earlier report submitted to Parliament in December last year.

"The committee still recommend that the government should implement OROP in a holistic manner so that large number of ex-servicemen can be benefited. The government should also ensure that the various benefits provided to the ex-servicemen due to implementation of the recommendation of the Cabinet Secretary-headed committee, along with arrears if any, are paid expeditiously," it said.

OROP implied that uniform pension should be paid to armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension should be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.

After the veterans had organised events to return their service and gallantry medals to the President in protest, the government had, on the directions of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, set up the committee to consider the demand made in the wake of implementation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations in September 2008.

The committee recommended a plan under which the pensions would be as close to OROP, but this was (NOT) being accepted by the ex-servicemen. However, the government decided to implement it.

On the issue of lateral entry for ex-servicemen into central paramilitary forces, which the government was yet to implement, the Parliamentary panel said though it had highlighted the advantage of recruiting them in CPMF, it had not been implemented despite a CPC recommendation in this regard.

"The committee desires that the Ministry expedite the matter to resolve the lateral induction of ex-servicemen in CPMF, PSUs and state police," which was the highlight of the Group of Ministers' recommendation for 'Reforming National Security System' made in 2001, it said.




From: satbir singh
Sent: 08 May 2010 15:25

Dear Veterans

1. Our struggle seems to have taken a quantum jump towards our goal. Consequent to our presentation to the Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence Sh. Satpalji Maharaj, MP on 05 May 2010, the Committee was convinced of the genuineness of our demand for One Rank One Pension (OROP). The Committee while tabling its report in the Lok Sabha on 07 May 2010 has asked the Defence Ministry to soon implement One Rank One Pension (OROP) for Armed Forces veterans, noting that a demand for this has not been accepted by it. The Committee also stated that “It had considered the Government replies to its earlier report submitted to Parliament in December last year.

2. The Committee still recommended that the Government should implement OROP in a holistic manner so that large number of Ex Servicemen can be benefited.

3. The recommendation of the Committee are a vindication of the stand we the IESM had taken in this matter. We now have to watch the response from the Government.

4. Our struggle is not yet over and we have yet to cross a number of bridges before we are able to get our due Justice. So friends remain focussed and remain united. We could not have achieved this without the cooperation of all the members and well wishers of IESM.

5. A PTI report and outlook report dated 07 May 2010 are enclosed for information please.

With Kind Regards,

Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,

Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
Mobile: 9312404269, 0124-4110570
Email :

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ESM sitrep 05 May evening

From: raj kadyan
Sent: 05 May 2010 22:15

Subject: ESM sitrep 05 May evening

Dear Colleagues,
It is sad day for the ESM community to have lost a friend. Though I personally did not know Brigadier R Gopal, but his good reputation and fine human traits were well known through the net. May God grant peace to his soul. The IESM fully shares the grief of the family in this grim hour.

Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

Chairman IESM