Wednesday, 4 March 2015

OROP : Some Considerations Relevant To Time Bound Promotions

The veteran community was more than just a little concerned when references to implementation of OROP failed to materialize in the budget speech on 28 February 2015.

If OROP does come through soon, the only conceivable doubts can be about what would be the cut off date selected for equating pensions of older retirees with current ones and what would be the procedure adopted, if any, for ensuring that pensions for the same service in the same rank stay at the same level.

When there is constant talk of "modalities" and "calculations", the lack of sincerity becomes a bit obvious. What modalities and which calculations? All that is required is to see what was the maximum pension on 01 April 2014 of a current retiree in a certain rank and with a specific number of years of service. Then, all that has to be done is to ensure all previous retirees in the same rank and with the same service get the same amount of pension from 01 April 2014. Where is the calculation involved? It is just a matter of reading records from a table composed of existing pay details.

On the Aerial View Blog, a copy of the services DGL, made available for all to read, makes it very clear how straight forward the issue is. Here is a link for reference

What is really pertinent is how sincere the implementation will be in providing solutions, in the case of veteran Officers, to issues that resulted from disparities in pensions applicable to time bound ranks. The term "Select" and "Time Scale" is, on purpose, not being used in view of the welcome, though much delayed, instructions from Army Headquarters to do away with this far from dignified method of qualifying a rank for no real official or administrative reason.

The services DGL is quite specific on this. The letter makes it clear that the pension of an old time Major veteran who had completed 20 to 25 years of service at retirement ought to get the OROP pension of a Lt Col (now a time bound rank) with an equal number of service years on the cut off date, similarly, a veteran who had retired as Major or Lt Col before cut off date after completing 26 years of service, should get  pension equivalent to that of an Officer with the present time bound rank of Col with equal service.

The services DGL also clarifies that in case the service required for time bound promotion reduces in future, then the pensions of older retirees would have to be re-fixed accordingly. As an example, if the time bound Col rank is given in future at service of 23 years instead of 26, if not earlier as it rightfully should be given, then all previous pensioners holding ranks of Maj and Lt Col with more than 26 23 years of service would become eligible to the pension of a retiree with time bound rank of Col.

What is strange is that reports of very recent meetings between some representatives of ESM and Hon'ble RM do not convey the impression that these aspects have been touched upon. There was just a mention of the pension of pre 96 Majors with 21 years of service needing to be made equal to that of Lt Col. Some details of that meeting are available here

Even now, when the whole OROP subject is stated to be nearing some sort of finalization, there is an urgent requirement that all affected veterans recognize these issues and that associations representing veterans' interests are fully abreast. 

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