Department of Ex Servicemen Welfare Should Rise From It’s Slumber
The Standing Committee of Parliament in its 7th and 9th report to 15th Lok Sabha reiterated their stand on giving ONE RANK ONE PENSION to the Defence Forces.
Next the Rajya Sabha Petition Committee in its 142nd report stated that Government of India should implement OROP for Defence Forces across the board.
Then Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister himself Stated “ I had made a resolution before you for OROP. You had to struggle a lot and launch movements during the tenure of previous government. The nation is witness to the same. Now the nation and you all are witness to the fact that OROP has been implemented. The Government accepted OROP by way of its mention in Presidential Address to both houses of Parliament on 09 Jun 2014. “
Still the mighty Red Tape System remained obstinate.
Finally help came in the form of Late Shri Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parikkar, the Raksha Mantri who cut the Gordian knot of bureaucratic obfuscation by those in Defence Finance and CGDA and took the historic decision to implement the OROP by issuing Govt Orders on 07 Nov 2015.
As per governments own interpretation, OROP implies that uniform PENSION be paid to the Defence Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with same length of service, regardless of date of retirement. Thus it implies the aim of OROP is to bridge the gap between current pensioners and past pensioners at periodic intervals.
Defence Forces personnel keep retiring every month. However change in Basic Pay takes place on yearly basis only. Hence the periodic interval to refix PENSION should rightly be on yearly basis too. Though presently as per Government orders on the subject, it is to be done every five years.
The first bridging of gap of past pensioners with PENSION of all those retiring till December 2013 was done through OROP and was made effective as on 01 Jul 2014. So the next fixation should have been effective from 01 Jul2019.
However low and behold, with no Parrikar to keep the Munims in check, they came out with a new GOGLIE. They claimed that next equalization was already done with effect 01Jan 2016 !!! This was patently wrong, because it merely brought up the PENSION level of 6th pay Commission pensioners to that of minimum PENSION as authorized by the Government based on 7th Pay Commission.
So the EX Servicemen protested and when seeing that it was futile striking their head against the obstinate system, have gone to the Courts.There also they are getting just TARIKH PE TARIKH. Though the speed at which Women have been permitted to enter the NATIONAL DEFENCE ACADEMY and the Rashtriya Indian Military College has been AMAZING.
Notwithstanding the above, now the Honourable Court has to decide to fix the OROP equalization on yearly basis or 5 yearly basis starting 01Jul 2014 or 01 Jan 2016. No one knows how much time is going to be taken.
Here comes the role of Department of Ex-serviceme Welfare. The Department is headed by a Secretary and deals with all resettlement, welfare and pensionary matters of Ex-Servicemen. The principal task of the Department is to frame policy directions on the above matters and after approval by the Cabinet /Minister communicate them for implementation to the Services Headquarters, inter Services organizations, CGDA, PENSION Disbursing agencies and all others concerned. It is required to ensure effective implementation of the Government’s policy directions and the execution of approved Pensions and welfare grants.
So the Secretary ESW should have gone after the CGDA to start equalizing the PENSION at least from 01 Jul 2021, as per their own interpretation. Today is 14 Oct 2021. It means that Government of India’s orders have no Sanctity whatsoever. CGDA is there to carry out the orders of the Government and the Secretary ESW must ensure this or just resign and go home.
The Department of Defence has been reorganized to some extent and a new Department of Military Affairs has been created.
The Department of Defence Production too has been reorganized. Now the time has come for a thorough reorganization of both the Department of ESW and the Defence Finance. Along with the reorganization, full accountability needs to be fixed at all levels. Military members too need to be posted and integrated at appropriate levels. Also all dead woods needs to be identified and weeded out through compulsory retirement.