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  • Saturday, 5 May 2012

    RAJYA SABHA COMITTEE REPORT ON OROP

    C.S.II. -142
    RAJYA SABHA
    COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS
    HUNDRED AND FORTY-SECOND REPORT
    ON
    PETITION PRAYING FOR GRANT OF ONE RANK ONE PENSION TO THE
    ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL
    (Presented on 19 December, 2011)
    RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT
    NEW DELHI
    December, 2011
    CONTENTS
    PAGES
    1. COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE
    i
    2. INTRODUCTION
    ii-iii
    3. REPORT
    4. *APPENDICES
    I.
    Petition signed by Shri Sanjay Prabhu r/o Bangalore and others
    praying for grant of one rank one pension to the armed forces
    personnel.
    II
    Comments on the petition received from D/o Ex-servicemen
    Welfare (M/o Defence)
    III Comments on the petition received from D/o Expenditure (M/o
    Finance)
    IV Comments on the petition received from D/o Pensions &
    Pensioner’s Welfare (M/o Personnel, Public Grievances and
    Pensions)
    V Minutes of the meetings of the Committee
    5.
    *ANNEXURES
    I. List of organizations/individuals appeared before the
    Committee
    II Background Note on the petition received from Indian Army
    *to be appended at printing stage.
    Composition of the Committee
    (2010-11)
    1. Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari - Chairman
    2. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan
    3. Shri Nandi Yellaiah
    **4. Shri Rajeev Shukla
    5. Shri Avinash Pande
    6. Shri Balavant alias Bal Apte
    *7. Shri P. Rajeeve
    8. Shri Veer Pal Singh Yadav
    9. Shri Paul Manoj Pandian
    10. Shri Rajaram
    Secretariat
    Shri Deepak Goyal, Joint Secretary
    Shri Rakesh Naithani, Joint Director
    Shri Ashok K. Sahoo, Deputy Director
    Shri Goutam Kumar, Assistant Director
    ______________________________
    * Nominated w.e.f. 6th December, 2010 in lieu of Shri Moinul Hassan
    ** Ceased to be Member w.e.f. 12th July, 2011 on being inducted into Council of Ministers
    i
    INTRODUCTION
    I, the Chairman of the Committee on Petitions, having been authorized by the
    Committee to submit the Report on its behalf, do hereby present this one Hundred
    Forty-second Report of the Committee on the petition signed by Shri K. Sanjay Prabhu,
    r/o Bengaluru and others praying for grant of one rank one pension to the armed forces
    personnel (Appendix-I). The petition was countersigned by Shri Rajeev
    Chandrasekhar, Member, Rajya Sabha,
    2. The petition was admitted by Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha on 15th March,
    2011 under the provisions of Chapter X of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of
    Business in the Council of States. In accordance with Rule 145 of the said Rules, the
    petition was presented to the Council on 18th March, 2011 by the Member who had
    countersigned it, after which it stood referred to the Committee on Petitions for
    examination and report in terms of Rule 150 ibid.
    3. The Committee issued a Press communiqué inviting suggestions from interested
    individuals/organizations on the subject matter of the petition. In response thereto,
    more than 200 hundred memoranda were received by the Secretariat. The Secretariat
    scrutinised those memoranda and a gist thereof has been suitably incorporated in the
    Report.
    4. The Committee heard the petitioner and others on the petition in its sitting held
    on 4th May, 2011. The Committee also heard certain organizations/ individuals, who
    had submitted their memoranda on the issues raised in the petition in its sitting held on
    16th May, 2011. The Committee heard the Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen
    Welfare (M/o Defence) on 27th May, 2011 and Secretaries, Department of Expenditure
    (M/o Finance) and Department of Pensions and Pensioner's Welfare (M/o Personnel,
    Public Grievances and Pensions) on 15th July, 2011 on the issues connected with the
    petition.
    4.1 Based on the inputs received, the Committee once again heard Secretaries,
    Department of Expenditure (M/o Finance) and Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare
    (M/o Defence) on 1st August and 14th November, 2011, respectively. It considered the
    draft Report in its sitting held on 16th December, 2011 and adopted the same.
    5. The Committee while formulating its observations/recommendations, has relied
    on the written comments of the concerned Ministries, oral evidence of witnessesofficial
    as well as non-official, feedback received in response to the Press Release,
    observations of the Members of the Committee and interaction with others.
    ii
    6. For facility of reference and convenience, the observations and
    recommendations of the Committee have been printed in bold letters in the Report.
    NEW DELHI BHAGAT SINGH KOSHYARI
    December 16th, 2011 Chairman
    Agrahayana 25, 1933 (Saka) Committee on Petitions
    iii
    REPORT
    A petition signed by Shri K. Sanjay Prabhu, a resident of Bengaluru and others
    countersigned by Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, M.P. (Rajya Sabha) praying for grant of
    one rank one pension to the armed forces personnel was submitted to the Council of
    States on 29th October, 2010 (Appendix-I).
    2. The petitioners have contended that various associations/movement and other
    organizations of Ex-servicemen of Country's Armed Forces have time and again
    pleaded to the Government of India demanding for one rank one pension in order to
    address the sense of hurt, injustice and dishonour in the armed forces and bring parity
    in the pensionary benefits for the retired personnel of Armed Forces. They have
    submitted that prior to the Third Central Pay Commission, the pension of Armed Forces
    personnel was regulated by Pension Regulation exclusively keeping in view the
    peculiarity and gravity of the service conditions to which the soldier is subjected to in
    peace, and the danger to which he is exposed in war, the inevitable need to retire a
    soldier much earlier than the normal age of superannuation enjoyed by the other
    central Government employees, the difficulty in getting a soldier to rehabilitate in
    civilian work of life after retirement, and last but not the least, the sacrifice that the
    family, and more so, the children of the soldier are called upon to offer to the country.
    It was decided by the then Government to grant pay and perks that a soldier deserves by
    virtue of his contributions to the motherland and to keep his status and living standards
    quite high without comparison with civilian employees. At that time, the pension was
    based on the rank of retirement provided that he has put in the minimum required years
    of service. Every armed forces personnel are entitled for one rank one pension which
    took care of his needs and it was based on principles of reward for his sacrifices.
    2.1 But unfortunately, after the Third Central Pay Commission, the pension formula
    as applicable in that civilian pension rules was extended to the armed forces pensioners
    also through a Government administrative order. This ex-parte decision has denied one
    rank one pension to the ex-armed forces personnel which is the cause of all troubles
    and resentment amongst them. Accordingly, the petitioners have prayed that the
    Government should accept the long pending demand of Ex-servicemen for one rank
    one pension on priority basis to honour those who defended our motherland and the
    commitments made by the Government from time to time on this issue be honoured
    without any stipulations or conditions.
    Concept of One Rank One Pension
    3. 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 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. In armed forces, equality in service has two components, namely, rank
    and length of service. The importance of rank is inherent in armed forces as it has been
    granted by the President of India and signifies command, control and responsibility in
    consonance with ethos of service. These ranks are even allowed to be retained by the
    individual concerned after his/her retirement. Hence, two armed personnel in the same
    rank and equal length of service should get same pension irrespective of date of
    retirement and any future enhancement in rates of pension be automatically passed on
    to the past pensioners.
    4. The Ministry of Defence (Department Ex-servicemen Welfare) which is the
    nodal Ministry for the petition in their initial comments has mentioned that this
    grievance of armed forces personnel has been got examined by various
    Committees/Commissions1 in the past but it was not found acceptable by the
    Government due to various reasons. The Ministry has further stated that the
    improvement in pension of armed forces personnel is an ongoing process and
    substantial improvement in the pension of ex-servicemen has been brought about as a
    result of implementation of the Cabinet Secretary Committee’s recommendations.
    4.1 That said Committee of Cabinet Secretary did not agree to the demand of one
    rank one pension, but it made seven recommendations aimed at narrowing the gap
    between earlier and current pensioners. All the recommendations made by the
    Committee were accepted by the Government and orders implementing the same were
    also issued. With the implementation of that Committee's recommendations, the
    following improvements have been brought about by the Government:-
    (i) Pre 10.10.1997 Post Below Officers Rank (PBOR) pensioners have been
    brought at par with post 10.10.1997 pensioners.
    (ii) The enhanced rate of classification allowance will be reckoned w.e.f.
    01.01.2006 on notional basis for the purpose of calculation of pension.
    (iii) Pension of all pre 01.01.2006 PBOR pensioners will be reckoned with
    reference to notional maximum in the post 01.01.2006 revised pay structure
    corresponding to the maximum of pre Sixth Pay Commission pay scales as per
    fitment table of each rank with enhanced weightage awarded by Group of
    Ministers.
    (iv) Linkage of full pension with 33 years of qualifying service has been removed
    w.e.f. 1.1.2006 instead of 1.9.2008 in the case of Commissioned Officers.
    (v) Separate pay scale of 67000-79000 has been created to addressed the issue of
    disparity in pension of pre and post 1.1.2006 pensioners at the level of Lt.
    General and equivalents in other two Services, so as to enable them to get
    pension at 36,500/-.
    (vi) Benefit of broad banding of percentage of disability/war injury pension has
    been provided for pre 1.1.1996 disability/war injury pensioners.
    (vii) Cap on war injury element of pension in the case of disabled pensioners
    belonging to category E stands removed.
    1Third Central Pay Commission, 1973, Fourth Central Pay Commission, 1986, High Level Empowered Committee,
    1991, Fifth Central Pay Commission, 1996, Inter-Ministerial Committee, 2003, Group of Minister, 2005, Sixth
    Central Pay Commission, 2006, Cabinet Secretary Committee and Standing Committee on Defence.
    Petitioners’ oral submission (4th May, 2011)
    5. The petitioners have submitted that ex-servicemen have been getting lower
    pension than their younger counterparts in the same rank, particularly after
    implementation of Third Central Pay Commission Report. The petitioners made a
    power-point presentation inter alia covering various Supreme Court judgments on the
    issue, comparison of pay and pension scheme for armed forces in countries like the
    USA, UK and Singapore, justification for the prayer for one rank and one pension, etc.
    The petitioners also submitted that the prayer for grant of one rank one pension has
    been opposed by the Government mainly on financial, legal and administrative grounds
    which could be resolved with the intervention of the Committee. The petitioners prayed
    to the Council of States for one rank one pension for ex-servicemen irrespective of their
    date of retirement.
    Deposition of Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (M/o Defence) (27th May,
    2011)
    6. The Secretary (ESW), Ministry of Defence in her deposition stated that the
    concept of one rank one pension signifies that for the same length of service for the
    same rank, the incumbent must get the same benefit, same emoluments and same
    pension. Any enhancement in any of these at any point of time by the Government
    must be passed on to all the past employees. She also informed that Government over
    the years has found it difficult to accept this concept of OROP in toto due to three
    reasons which are financial, administrative and legal.
    6.1 Under financial constraint, she informed that if OROP is to be implemented in
    toto, the financial burden incurred as calculated by Central Government Defence
    Accounts is 3,000cr per year. Under administrative constraint, it was contended by
    her that to implement the OROP and to pass on all the benefits to all those exservicemen
    living today is administratively, a gigantic task. There is retention schedule
    of records of the defence pensioners and after a period of 25 years, the records are no
    longer available. There is administrative difficulty in introducing of concept for which
    there is no cut-off date, as records of early 80s are manually maintained. Coming to the
    legal constraint, she informed that the Law Ministry in its opinion and Supreme Court
    in its judgement have said that a cut-off date for any emolument given by the
    Government to its employee is valid under the Constitution and the Government is
    entitled to have a cut-off date for any emolument. Further, she added that if today's
    pension and emoluments are passed on automatically to somebody who retired 30 years
    ago there will be inherent discrimination against the terms and conditions of service or
    the qualifications of service that one is entitled to fulfill, which would also lead to
    discrimination under the Constitution. She added that the Ministry of Law, based on
    these two basic tenets and the judgements of the Supreme Court gave an opinion
    against full OROP.
    6.2 The representatives of the Indian Army submitted that the OROP was in
    existence before the Third Pay Commission. With the conversion of running pay band
    under Sixth Central Pay Commission, a large number of ranks were grouped and one
    running pay band was made and the pensioners were given the benefits of the lowest of
    a pay band, which means the pension of a retired Lieutenant Colonel and the pension of
    a retired Major General was fixed at 37400 in PB-4. He further added that if the
    previous regime was continuing, then pensions would have been fixed at the lowest of
    the pay scales on which they were retiring. Thus, the disparity has aggravated after the
    implementation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission.
    6.3 He further added that the Assured Career Progression (ACP) scheme introduced
    in Sixth Central Pay Commission was not passed on to the past pensioners, although,
    precedent regarding implementation of such schemes to the past pensioners exists in
    armed forces. For example the rank pay which was not in existence before 1986 has
    been extended to even pre-1986 pensioners. Therefore, ACP which has been introduced
    from 1st September 2008 should also be extended to the previous pensioners.
    6.4 He further submitted that there is administrative difficulty on the part of the
    Ministry that pensioners cannot be given increment every year. So, perpetually they
    will never be at par with current retirees. As a way out, he suggested fixing a period of
    five years or every Pay Commission to Pay Commission, for bringing all pensioners at
    par. He suggested a similar exercise for the family pensioners also.
    6.5 The representative of the Air Force submitted that to bridge this gap the
    suggestion regarding fixation of pay in five-year period or Pay Commission to Pay
    Commission was a good one and informed the Committee that the long pending issue
    may be sorted out this way.
    6.6 The representative of the Indian Navy apprised the Committee about the unique
    life and difficulties which were experienced by a man in uniform. He stated that the
    family as well as the men in uniform was living in such a difficult conditions and they
    had to sacrifice so much in their life that special recognition should be given to boost
    the morale of the Armed Forces. He also added that even after retirement, a man in
    uniform cannot pursue any other business and they have a very limited job opportunity
    after retirement.
    Deposition of Department of Expenditure (M/o Finance) (15th July & 1st August,
    2011)
    7. The Secretary (Expenditure) submitted that the figure relating to defence
    personnel’s pension was being maintained in the Office of Controller General of Defence
    Accounts, which was under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence. He
    submitted that the figure, as available in the Office of Controller General of Defence
    Accounts, had been procured by the Ministry of Finance in accordance of which 1,300
    crore approximately would be an immediate additional burden on Union Government in
    case ‘one rank one pension’ is given to ex-servicemen only prior to 01-01-2006.
    Mentioning break-up of 1,300 crores, he said that 1,065 crores would be given to the
    retirees belonging to the Posts Below Officer Rank (PBOR) and 235 Crores would be
    given to the retired Commissioned Officers. The said total figure would be increasing
    taking into account minimum 10% annual increase which would go to 1,430 crores in
    2012-13, 1573 crores in 2013-14, 1,730 crores in 2014-15, 1,903 crores in 2015-16
    and in 2016-17, that amount would be increased to 2,379 crores taking into account 25%
    increase due to impact of forthcoming Seventh Central Pay Commission recommendations.
    In total, in six years, the financial liability on account of Defence personnel’s pension
    would be 10,135 crores approximately. Besides that, there would be additional burden on
    the national exchequer on account of payment of enhanced pension to the civilian
    employees which would be 7,840 crores as on today; which would increase to 62,218
    crores in the year 2016-17 taking into account annual increase of 10% and 25% increase in
    view of impact of forthcoming Seventh Central Pay Commission recommendations. It was
    also pointed out by him that the State Governments might implement the enhanced pension
    scheme given to the civilian employees by the Union Government, to their employees
    which would cost 1,61,307 crores to the States’ exchequer.
    Deposition of Department of Pensions and Pensioners welfare (M/o Personnel,
    Public Grievances and Pensions) (15th July, 2011)
    8. The Secretary has submitted that the Reports of various Pay Commissions have
    not supported the concept of OROP but on the other hand, there are a lot of other
    measures which have been implemented and which have narrowed down the gap
    between past and the new pensioners of the Armed Forces considerably. With the grant
    of weightage for the purpose of calculation of pension on the basis of the
    recommendations of the Group of Ministers and a revision of pay of all pre-1.1.2006
    PBOR pensioners with reference to notional maximum in the post-1.1.2006 revised pay
    structure corresponding to the maximum of pre-Sixth Pay Commission pay scales with
    enhanced weightage, almost a complete parity between pre-2006 and post-2006
    pensioners has been brought. He further mentioned that the other notable decisions
    taken on the recommendations of the Committee under the Chairmanship of the
    Cabinet Secretary include bringing pre-10th October 1997 PBOR pensioners at par with
    post-10th October, 1997 pensioners; reckoning of enhanced rate of classification
    allowance with effect from 1.1.2006 on a notional basis for the purpose of calculation
    of pension; removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years of qualifying service with
    effect from 1.1.2006 instead of 1.9.2008 in the case of Commissioned Officers; and
    creation of a separate pay scale of Rs.67,000-79,000 to address the issue of disparity in
    the pension of pre-1.1.2006 and post-1.1.2006 pensioners at the level of Lt. General
    and equivalents in other two services. These measures have already narrowed down the
    differences.
    8.1 He raised apprehension that if OROP is accepted for the Armed Forces, then
    there will be similar demands from the civilian pensioners also, which will lead to a
    heavy financial implication for the State exchequer, and the Cabinet Secretary’s
    Committee has brought in a financial implication of around Rs.8,000-Rs.9,000 crores
    per annum tentatively if this principle is accepted.
    Suggestions/Viewpoints of Stakeholders and concerned Organisations/Individuals
    9. The Committee has received more than two hundred memoranda from various
    organizations/individuals expressing views on the subject matter of the petition. The
    petition was supported by all organizations/individuals. The Committee gave
    opportunity to some of the organizations/individuals who requested for an audience
    before it. A list of organizations/individuals those appeared before the Committee is at
    Annexure-I. The views expressed in the memoranda as well as during the oral
    evidence by witnesses have been summarised and given below:-
    (i) The Armed Forces of the Union are 'rank based structure' organisations. The
    ex-servicemen are associated with their rank even after their retirement and
    death. There is strong bondage between serving and ex-servicemen
    community as in most of the cases the siblings of ex-servicemen join defence
    services as a matter of honour and pride. Their mindset, attitude, commitment
    and dedication to the Nation do not change even after their retirement. Till
    1950, armed forces were enjoying an edge over their civilian counterparts in
    respect of pay and pension. The pension for armed forces was almost 90
    percent of their last pay drawn, which was gradually reduced to 50 percent of
    their last pay whereas the pension of civilian employees was enhanced from 33
    percent to 50 percent of their last pay drawn in due course;
    (ii) Pay and pension of Armed Forces personnel was governed by separate Pay
    Commission which was substituted with Common Pay Commission for both
    civilian and defence personnel w.e.f. Third Pay Commission;
    (iii) Armed forces have to retire early as a matter of policy of Government which
    causes loss of earnings to them because the benefits given by successive Pay
    Commissions which could have accrued to them if they were made to retire at
    the normal retirement age of sixty. They are made to retire at a point of time
    when they have maximum liability of their family on them, nearly eighty five
    percent of armed forces retire at the age of 38; ten percent retirements take
    place at the age of 46 and remaining 5 percent retirements happen at the age of
    56 to 58;
    (iv) The demand for one rank one pension has its basis in the past precedence as
    well as truncated service career of the armed forces which causes loss of
    earning to them. Furthermore, armed forces personnel are deployed in
    toughest terrain and roughest weather including Siachin Glacier during their
    service career;
    (v) The pension of Armed Forces of United States of America was quoted as
    precedent where they get 15 to 20 percent higher pension compared to their
    civilian employees which is known as hundred per cent neutralisation of pay
    and pension of the armed force;
    (vi) The ex-servicemen are a class by themselves; differential pension for exservicemen
    in the same rank led to a class within the class like pre and post
    2006 retirees, which goes against the principle of equality;
    (vii) Almost all political parties have favoured inclusion of one rank one pension
    demand of ex-servicemen in their election manifesto. Five Prime Ministers of
    the country were found to be sympathetic to the demand of one rank one
    pension and had constituted a number of committees to examine the demand
    but the same still remained unaddressed due to bureaucratic apathy;
    (viii) The stakeholders referred to the non-functional financial upgradation for the
    civil servants of class-I organised Central Services after Sixth Pay Commission
    given to the civilian employees which in substance means one rank one
    persons for the civil servants. Therefore, their demand also needs to the met
    with; and
    (ix) The retired officers from para-military forces, particularly the Border Security
    Force also spoke for one rank one pension. They submitted that like Army,
    they have made supreme sacrifice for the Nation and secured the border of the
    country in Pakistan and Bangladesh sectors with commitment and dedication.
    Findings of the Committee
    10. The demand of the ex-servicemen for one rank one pension has been included
    in Election Manifestos of leading political parties. Department-related-Standing
    Committee on Defence (2009-10) (Fifteenth Lok Sabha) in its Seventh Report on
    Action Taken by the Government of the recommendations/observations of the
    Committee contained in their First Report (Fifteenth Lok Sabha) on Demands for Grant
    (2009-10) has recommended that "the Committee still recommend that the Government
    should implement One Rank One Pension in a holistic manner so that large number of
    ex-servicemen can be benefitted. The Government should also ensure that the various
    benefits provided to the ex-servicemen due to implementation of the recommendation
    of the Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary along, with the arrears if any, are
    paid expeditiously".
    10.1 The Committee observed that these issues were being considered by the
    Government since 1973 in Third Central Pay Commission, Fourth Central Pay
    Commission considered it in 1986. In the year 1991, the Sharad Pawar Committee
    considered it. In 1996, it was considered by Fifth Central Pay Commission. In 2003,
    the Inter-Ministerial Committee considered it. In 2005, Group of Ministers considered
    it. The Sixth Central Pay Commission considered it and finally Cabinet Secretary
    Committee considered it. Measures taken by the Government on this demand by
    constituting various Committees indicate that there is merit in the demand for One
    Rank One Pension by Armed Forces Personnel, otherwise the matter would not have
    been considered time and again by various committees of the Government and Central
    Pay Commissions. It could have been rejected once and for all and principle of res
    judicata would have been applied to this demand. Hence, it definitely deserves
    attention of the Parliamentary Committee as well as the Government.
    10.2 The Committee observes that One Rank One Pension was in vogue till 1973
    when the Third Central Pay Commission took ex-parte decision against the One Rank
    One Pension formula. If this formula was working satisfactorily for more than 26 years
    after the country's Independence what was the harm in continuing this formula? The
    same procedure could very well be followed even though this demand is accepted by
    the Government. The Ministries in their submissions has attempted to draw a rosy
    picture about the pension being given to the Armed Forces Personnel according to
    length of service. If this is beneficial to them than why are the ex-servicemen are
    consistently demanding for One Rank One Pension Formula? Why they are agitated?
    They serve the nation with utmost devotion and selflessness but their demands are
    consistently being ignored, not by the heads of Armed Forces, but by the bureaucrats.
    It’s a typical example of bureaucratic apathy.
    10.3 To continue this apathy, the Ministries apprised the Committee that if OROP to
    be implemented to the armed forces personnel, similar demands may be raised from the
    civilian Government employees. To this argument, the Committee finds that it is a
    baseless apprehension of the Government as soldiering is a different profession and
    they retire by rank while civilian Government employee retired by age. The terms and
    conditions of armed forces are tougher and harsher than the civilian Government
    employee. There are restrictions of fundamental rights to the armed forces. Risk to life
    of a soldier is always higher as they work under severe strain and sense of insecurity
    with undefined and unlimited working hours. Transfers and dislocation alongwith
    bleak career prospects are other disadvantages attached with the armed forces. Their
    family life is also non-comparable with that of civilian Government employee. The
    Armed Forces are also subjected to Court Martial system for the shake of military
    discipline. In view of aforesaid uniqueness of Armed Forces it can not be equated with
    a civilian Government employee.
    10.4 The Committee is distressed to note that the defence personnel of our country
    have returned their service medals to the President of India in view of the Governments'
    apathetic attitude towards their demand of grant of OROP.
    Observations/recommendations of the Committee
    11. The Committee takes note of the fact that a sum of Rs.1300 crores is the
    total financial liability for the year 2011-12 in case OROP is implemented fully for
    all the defence personnel in the country across the board. The Committee is
    informed that out of this, 1065 crores would go to retirees belonging to Post
    Below Officer Ranks (PBOR) while the Commissioned Officers would be getting
    the remaining i.e. 235 crores. The Committee feels that 1300 crores is not a
    very big amount for a country of our size and economy for meeting the long
    pending demand of the armed forces of the country. The Committee understands
    that this 1300 crores is the expenditure for one year which might increase at the
    rate of 10 percent annually. Even if it is so, the Committee does not consider this
    amount to be high, keeping in view the objective for which it would be spent.
    Needless for the Committee to point out here that our defence personnel were
    getting their pension and family pension on an entirely different criteria before the
    Third Central Pay Commission came into force. Till the recommendations of the
    Third Central Pay Commission were implemented for the defence personnel of the
    country, they were satisfied and happy with dispensation meant for their pension/
    family pension.
    11.1 The Committee is satisfied to note the efforts made by Government over
    the period to meet the demand of OROP of defence personnel. It is heartening to
    note that Government has on the basis of the recommendations of Cabinet
    Committee, spent 2200 crores for the purpose of meeting the grievance of
    defence pensioners. The net result is that while the demand for OROP stands
    almost met in the case of PBOR, the officers’ category remains much behind the
    target. Keeping in view the fact that Officers constitute a small proportion of the
    entire defence force and only a small proportion of the funds needed, i.e., 235
    crores out of 1300 crores stand allocated to their share for implementing the
    demand in the officers’ category, the Committee strongly recommends that this
    may be implemented so as to keep up the morale of the service. The fact that
    there are large numbers of vacancies in the defence services at the officer’s level
    corroborates the requirement of suitable corrections in the officer’s category and
    make their service conditions more acceptable and attractive.
    11.2 The Committee is not convinced with the version of the Ministry of Finance
    that the grant of OROP to the defence personnel would eventually generate
    similar requests from the civilian work force of the country under the Central
    Government and the State Governments. The Committee feels so because of the
    quite different terms and conditions of service of the two different categories of
    employments. The terms and conditions of armed forces are tougher and harsher
    than the civilian Government employee. There are restrictions of fundamental
    rights to the armed forces. Risk to life of a soldier is always higher as they work
    under severe strain and sense of insecurity with undefined and unlimited working
    hours. Transfers and dislocation alongwith bleak career prospects are other
    disadvantages attached with the armed forces. Their family life is also noncomparable
    with that of civilian Government employee. The Armed Forces are
    also subjected to Court Martial system for the shake of military discipline. In view
    of aforesaid uniqueness of Armed Forces it can not be equated with a civilian
    Government employee. Further, the Committee would not like this argument or
    apprehension to stand in the way of the legitimate and fair demand of the defence
    personnel. On the issue of returning of service medals by the defence personnel of
    our country to the President of India in view of the Governments' apathetic
    attitude towards their demand of grant of OROP, the Committee is of the view
    that our defence personnel should not feel alienated to this extent again and they
    are not force to surrender their hard earned service medals in this manner to
    exhibit their discontent with the government policies.
    11.3 There is another dimension of the issue under consideration, i.e., the
    necessity and justification for bringing about the change through the Third
    Central Pay Commission. Nothing has been brought before the Committee which
    could explain or justify the circumstances in which the defence personnel were
    applied the same criteria as applicable to the country’s civilian work force under
    the Central Government for the purpose of determining their pay, allowances,
    pension, family pension, etc. It is quite obvious that the terms and conditions of
    service, more particularly their span of service, i.e., the age at which they enter
    service and the age at which they become due to retire, vary drastically from the
    civilian work force. There is no doubt that the span of service of the armed forces
    is much-much less as compared to the civilians. The defence personnel in the
    PBOR category retire when they are around 35-40 years of age. Even the officers
    retire when they are around 55 years of age. That is the time when they have lot
    of family and social responsibility to discharge for which they need a sound
    financial support. This is certainly not the case with the civilian work force where
    the age of retirement is 60 uniformly. Further, under the rules governing pension
    / family pension of the civilians, the longer a person serves, the more pay he gets
    and consequently he becomes entitled for higher pension / family pension. This
    being so, our defence personnel are bound to remain at a disadvantageous position
    since the period for which they serve is definitely much less. On top of this, the
    fact that they retire at a younger age aggravates their hardship.
    11.4 In the above situation, the Committee feels that the decision of the
    Government to bring our defence personnel on the pattern of the civilians with
    regard to their pay, pension, etc. (from Third Central Pay Commission onwards)
    is not a considered decision which has caused hardship to the defence personnel
    and has given birth to their demand for OROP. The Committee understands that
    before the Third Central Pay Commission, the defence personnel were getting
    their pay / pension on the basis of a separate criteria unconnected with the criteria
    devised for the civilian work force. That criteria acknowledged and covered the
    concept of OROP which has been given up after the Third Central Pay
    Commission.
    11.5 The Committee is not convinced with the hurdles projected by the Ministry
    of Defence (D/o Ex-Servicemen Welfare) in implementing of OROP for defence
    personnel. They have categorized the hurdles into administrative, legal and
    financial. The financial aspect has already been dealt with by the Committee. So
    far as the administrative angle is concerned, the Committee is given to understand
    that all the existing pensioners/ family pensioners are still drawing their pension /
    family pension based upon the lawfully determined pension / family pension. In
    that case, revision of their pension / family pension, prospectively, as a one time
    measure should not pose any administrative hurdle. So far as the legal aspect is
    concerned, the Committee is not convinced by the argument put forth against the
    implementation of OROP because the pension / family pension is based upon the
    service rendered by personnel while in service and comparison of services
    rendered during two sets of periods does not seem to be of much relevance. If seen
    from a strict angle, in each set of periods, the army officer performed the duties
    attached to his post and it may not be proper to infer that the officers who served
    at a later period performed more compared to the officers of earlier period. On
    the contrary, facts tilt towards treating past pensioners/family pensioners at par
    with the more recent ones.
    11.6 The Committee further takes note of the fact that the reduction of around
    26 pay scales into IV pay bands on the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay
    Commission has aggravated the grievances of defence personnel. For example,
    after the Sixth Central Pay Commission, officers from the level of Lt. Colonel and
    above fall in a single pay band i.e. pay band IV, carrying pay scale of 37,400 to
    67,000. It means that defence retirees of earlier years from different ranks
    would get pension with reference of the minimum of the pay band irrespective of
    the fact whether they held much higher rank of Major General or Lt. General
    when they retired. Thus, under the existing dispensation, pursuant to the Sixth
    Central Pay Commission, the past retirees, particularly those, who retired from
    senior level posts, remain at a disadvantaged position. Keeping in view all the
    above factors, the Committee strongly recommends that Government should
    implement OROP in the defence forces across the board at the earliest and
    further that for future, the pay, allowances, pension, family pension, etc. in respect
    of the defence personnel should be determined by a separate commission so that
    their peculiar terms and conditions of service, the nature of duties they are
    required to perform, etc., which are quite different from the civilian work force,
    are duly taken into account while taking decision on the same.
    *****

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