Indian armed force being the most prestigious authority of the nation should be treated with equivalence when it comes to pension and other amenities which they deserve. A Pay Commission is active every 10 years and gives recommendations for enhancing the pay and allowances of the serving personnel based on the various factors like inflation, price hikes, and increase in living expenditures to match up to increasing lifestyle & the stature of a defense officer, etc. Pension of the retiring officers is based on the last salary drawn by them at the time of retirement.
Hence, with each consecutive Pay Commission, the military veterans who retired earlier received lesser pension as compared to those who retired later with the same rank and length of service. At present all pre-2006 (the year the 6th pay panel report became effective) pensioners receive lesser pension than not only their counterparts but also their juniors. Digging deep into the most controversial moments of ‘OROP’ scheme back in 1973, we see that how Indira Gandhi led Congress government discontinued “One Rank One Pension” which have been in vogue since independence without actually taking into consideration the consent of various officials. Additionally, the Government, on the basis of the report of third Pay commission, from which Armed Forces representation was excluded, and which was dominated by bureaucrats, increased the pension of civilians, who retired at 58, from 30 to 50%, a net increase of 20% and reduced the pension of soldier, Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Junior commissioned Officers (JCOs), by 20% from 70 to 50% of basic pay, with the caveat that for full pension the minimum service was 33 years. But as soldiers in 1973 retired after 15 years of service, at the age of 33-36, they got less than 30% of the pay as pension, thereby decreasing soldiers’ pension not just by 20% but by 40% from 70 to 30%. Over and above this, the government down-graded the status of soldier by equating “infantry soldier with less than three years’ service” with a “semi-skilled/unskilled labor”. Since then this scheme has been in prominence & this situation got even more aggravated with the implementation of 6th pay commission in recent times, resulting in creation of huge difference in amount received by persons sharing same rank but retired before 2006 and person who retired after 2006.
Bringing OROP to practice can benefit over 600,000 widows, a large number of decorated soldiers, the earlier retirees who truly deserve to be treated with utmost dignity and who also perhaps need it more than their younger counterparts.
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