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  • Saturday, 28 February 2015


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    One Rank One Pension, Arun Jaitley, Finance Ministry, Armed Services, Defence Ministry, Union Budget 2015 

    One Rank, One Pension stuck between Services and Defence Ministry

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrives in Parliament to present the annual budget 2015-16 in New Delhi on Saturday. (Source: PTI)

    By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | February 28, 2015 5:01 pm

    Reinstating government’s commitment on implementing the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ policy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the issue is pending as the method of calculating pension is stuck between the Armed Services and the Defence Ministry.

    “I have already in the last Budget said that we are going to implement ‘One Rank, One Pension’. This need not be stated on every occasion. We are completely committed to it,” Jaitley told reporters here when asked about the delay in launching the scheme.
    Explaining the reasons behind the delay, the Minister said: “The methodology of calculating the One Rank, One Pension is an issue pending between the Services and the Defence Ministry.” As and when that idea is formulated, not only it should be implemented, it will be implemented, he added.
    “You may only notice that I have today, despite the squeeze, increased the allocation for Defence by almost Rs 25,000 crore,” Jaitley said.

    Last month, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that ‘One rank, One pension’ scheme will be rolled out soon.
    The scheme, which seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement, has been a long-standing demand of the over two million ex-servicemen in the country.

    Thursday, 26 February 2015

    PAT for Tarun Vijay MP

    Tarun Vijay meets Parrikar, demands 'one rank,       one pension' for forces

    Feb 26, 2015, 07.56PM IST TNN
    NEW DELHI: BJP MP Tarun Vijay, who is also member, parliamentary standing committee on defence and president, Uttarakahnd's Society to Help Armed Retired Personnel met defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday and gave him a memorandum demanding that the long standing issue of 'one rank, one pension' be resolved in favour of the soldiers.
    He said that if the government feels a crunch of funds, please take away the privileges given to the MPs and MLAs and give the funds to the forces so that their legitimate and logical demand to get 'one rank, one pension' is met.
    He said that soldiers give their best to the nation but they are forced to die early and run from pillar to post after retirement. Tarun Vijay told the minister that soldiers were disappointed by the UPA, they have great hopes from PM Modi and him, as a minister.

    Tarun Vijay told media persons that Parrikar was very sympathetic to his demands and fully agreed that the government must act sympathetically to the long standing demands of the forces. He said, "as the defence minister I stand with my soldiers". Their demands will certainly receive sympathetic consideration.

    Tarun Vijay also said that there are more than 3000 cases regarding disability pension pending in courts. Soldiers' basic pension was revised in line with 6 CPC recommendation from 24 Sep 2012 (instead of 1-1-2006) but disability pension has not yet been revised notwithstanding various letters written on the subject by various associations. CAT had given clear verdict but legitimate dues are being denied. Broad banding of disability pension has been denied in spite of AFT/ SC orders.

    Monday, 23 February 2015

    OROP struggle looks nearing end

    The Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Movement (IESM) spearheading the veterans’ one rank, one pension (OROP) demand has correctly applied three of the principles of war albeit in a peaceful struggle, namely maintenance of aim and momentum and concentration of force to set themselves on the road to what could be a victory. The timing of their rally in New Delhi pushed all the right buttons forcing the govt to act. It’s now up to politicians to show some decisive will.The rally itself was attended by 10,000 determined veterans and included war widows. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar invited a delegation of the IESM for discussions even as the rally was underway. 

    He assured them that the proposal to implement OROP would be despatched to the finance ministry by February 17 (it has been delayed till the 23rd). In the proposal, there would be no dilution of the OROP, which would be as per the definition approved by Parliament. This is welcome news considering all the confusion created by ministers’ ill-considered statements. General Satbir Singh, chairman and members of the IESM, can rightly claim this as a victory.
    In addition, the military pension would be treated as a special pension, different from others, because of the hardships innate in a career in the defence services. Another decision communicated to the veterans was that in cases of personnel of the same seniority being promoted at different times, the highest pension of that year of that rank would be granted. Also, OROP equalization will be done annually. Lastly, the OROP would be applicable with effect from April 1, 2014, irrespective of the date the government letter is issued. Now, we await budgetary provisions. This is not the end, however, and veterans need to keep their powder dry. 


    Sunday, 22 February 2015


    Dear Colleagues,
               Of late there has been a flurry of emails on OROP. Seeing that it affects all of us, the interest OROP has generated is fully understandable.
              OROP started its journey in the early Nineteen-Eighties. Since then many had been pursuing it. Notable among them is  senior Veteran Col Inderjit Singh, who has been   doggedly chipping away at the government resistance and pushing for OROP in his quiet dignified way. He would be remembered with great admiration by the future generations.
              From 2008 onwards, the IESM put fresh fuel in the fight for OROP. Ours was a mix of presentations and protests, of meetings, memoranda and medal deposits running simultaneously; pressure and persuasion.  Meetings also took place with various political leaders. This included Mr LK Advani, Mr Rajnath Singh when he was BJP President, Mr Nitin Gadkari, Ms Sushman Swaraj, Ms Supriya Sule and many others.
              The Rajya Sabha  Petitions Committee, which itself was the result of efforts by the MP, Mr Chandrashekhar,  came as a shot in the arm. Among others the IESM delegation too made a presentation to the Committee. Some of us also worked behind the scenes. A couple of meetings at the residence of Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who was heading the Committee, helped in inserting the crucial clause that future pension enhancements should be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. As would be seen, with this provision instead of being a one-time benefit, OROP becomes a permanent feature for pension equation. It is  a boon for future pensioners. We also had a few meetings with an influential Committee member Mr Ram Vila Paswan and succeeded in soliciting his support.
              The cumulative effect of all these efforts resulted in OROP being announced in the Parliament on 17 Feb 2014. Interaction with Mr AK Antony further ensured that this clause - of future enhancements being given automatically to past pensioners - was inserted in the Note he issued in the fourth week of February 2014. This definition was also later reiterated by the RRM in the Parliament in November 2014. Ever since February 2014, OROP has been only a question of 'when' and not of 'whether' it would come through.
              The bureaucratic hurdles were indeed there. First they wanted 'service in the rank' and not 'total service' as the criterion. This was adequately explained to the RRM and he confirmed that he would overrule the bureaucrats; he did. The second resistance was in the form of a perceived administrative difficulty in implementing the frequent enhancement in pensions. This was again explained to the RRM that pensions could be enhanced once a year and that since the Dearness Allowance was already being enhanced twice a year in the case of all pensioners without any difficulty any apprehension in case of pension is unfounded.  
              The proposal is being sent to the Finance Ministry. With the PM himself having committed grant of OROP repeatedly, it is unlikely that the Finance would even do any pruning of the proposal. After receipt back from the Finance Ministry, tables would be prepared jointly by the MoD and Service HQ. Some of the broad parameters of OROP are  as under:
    1.    The definition, as given by the Koshyari Committee stays unchanged.
    2.    The existing 'X' and 'Y' Groups would continue. The Service Headquarters had wanted merging of the Groups to 'X' level but   the recommendation was not accepted.
    3.    The equation will be with the maximum pensions of past pensioners as explained in my article attached with the Sitrep dated 20 Jan 2015. Extract is given below:
    "Keeping the above parameters in mind, a model is suggested here. Let us take the rank of Havildar. The base date of implementing OROP being 1 April 2014, take a sample of the total number of Havildars that retired in the preceding few months or an year. Take the highest pension earned by any Havildar during this period and use that as a benchmark for fixing pension of all Havildars. Since they all retire after a total service of 24 years, the application is simple. In the case of officers, since they retire by age, and the total service varies, take the maximum earned in the chosen sample for different lengths of total service and use these as benchmarks in a similar manner."
    4.    At the time of preparing tables, Majors' pension is proposed to be upgraded to Lt Col less the Grade Pay equivalent.
    5.    The total estimated annual cost of OROP is Rs 8,200 Crore.
              There are several anxious and even impatient calls being received  daily where ESM keep asking for the progress on OROP.  The Defence Minister in his TV interview had stated that OROP would be implemented by 31 March 2015. There is no change to that timeline. Some queries even pertain to the budget allocation, which should not be our worry/concern at all. A patient wait is required.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
    Chairman IESM
    262, Sector - 17A
    Gurgaon - 122 001

    Saturday, 21 February 2015

    Will 'One Rank, One Pension' Take A Physical Form In Budget

    BENGALURU: The government is likely to fulfill a long standing demand of adopting ‘One Rank One Pension’ norms made by ex-personnel in particular. It may categorize military pension as a different pension category.
    One rank one pension (OROP) is a demand by armed forces in order to ensure that the military pension cannot be equated with other pensions. This move is to bring a motivational and inspirational value to the armed forces.One Rank, One Pension
    The information collected from The Times of India reveals that an estimation of Rs. 8,000 crore seems to be allocated by the government to accomplish its commitment made to the ex- servicemen, who have been stridently demanding one rank one pension for many years.
    Predominantly, if an officer is retired in 1990 then he is not entitled to get this enhanced pension if the same is implemented during the later years.
    The basic idea of OROP demand is that, the pension for the officers with the same rank must remain same all the time since the cost of living is reaching to the sky. OROP basically implies payment of pension uniformly among the retiring army personnel with the same rank and length of service.
    The soldiers, airmen and the sailors retire much earlier than their other civilian counterparts like BSF or CRPF receive aborted pension. The government has taken it into account along with considering other hardship factors like risky and life threatening duties and long hours of efforts.
    Being a long standing demand by 2 million ex- servicemen in the country for OROP, the Modi’s budget seems to ensure to bring goods future for army men in the long run.
    SOURCE- http://www.siliconindia.com/finance/news/

    Wednesday, 18 February 2015

    SC asks Centre to fulfil one rank, one pension promise in 3 months

    The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to implement its six-year-old verdict to follow the one rank, one pension (OROP) principle for retired armed forces personnel, reminding the BJP government that it had promised to do so in the run-up to last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
    A bench of justices TS Thakur and AK Goel warned the government of contempt if it failed to abide by its order within three months.
    “We make it clear that no further time will be granted for the purpose of implementation of the judgment,” the bench told additional solicitor general Pinky Anand who assured the bench that modalities would be worked out till then.
    “This was part of your manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections. You must keep your word,” justice Thakur reminded Anand while hearing a contempt petition filed by retired Major General SPS Vains who dragged the defence ministry to court demanding the OROP scheme.
    Armed forces personnel holding the same rank will get the same pension, regardless of the last drawn pay, years of service and the years served in a particular rank, under the OROP scheme.
    Vains’s counsel, senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, said the government wasn’t doing charity since there was a court order in his clients’ favour. “We have a judgment. It has been six years and we are still waiting,” Gupta told the court.
    He later told HT, “Before this judgment came, there was disparity among retired armed forces personnel receiving pensionary benefits that were calculated as per their pay-scale. So a major general, who retired before 1996 when the fifth pay commission was introduced, drew pension lower than not just a similarly ranked officer who retired post-1996 but also a brigadier, colonel and a lieutenant colonel. The 2008 judgment brought everyone at par as the verdict said there should be no classification due to the date of retirement.”
    Successive governments in the past have opposed OROP on the grounds that it would not be financially feasible.
    However, the Modi government has promised to implement the policy that will benefit around 25 lakh ex-servicemen. OROP for the armed forces is likely to be part of the Union budget and could be implemented soon. 

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015


    Dear Members

    Further to the information given in the report of rally held on 1 Feb 15. On 1 Feb 15 a delegation of 30 ESM including four veernaris met RM at Kotah house. RM had promised to take action on OROP latest by 17 Feb 15. 

    IESM has a good news for you. Your dream of OROP has moved a step closer to its approval. 

    As promised by RM to IESM delegation that he will personally monitor the progress on OROP.  True to his promise he has chaired a meeting today of OROP action committee. The meeting was attended by CGDA,DESW, MOD and Army pay cell Maj Gen Aggarwal and Col Pruthi. Col Rathore also attended the meeting. It is confirmed that OROP file has finally reached MOD.
    Following decisions have been taken in the meeting today 17 Feb 15.  
    1. OROP will be as per approved definition.
    2. In most of cases ESM will get fixed at highest of their rank pay band. 
    3. OROP equalization will be done annually. 
    4. Some issues of Major's pension are under discussion and will be sorted out soon.  
     RM gave special instructions to Gen Aggarwal to inform Gen Satbir singh about this development. Gen Aggarwal informed IESM asap he came out of the meeting. File is under final scrutiny and preparation and file will be dispatched to MOF on 23 Feb as RM is going to attend Annual Aero Show at Bangaluru from 17 to 22 Feb.

    CGDA has already issued circular no 536 giving increase in pension of widows w.e.f. 24 Sep 12. This circular fixes the pension of widow at 60% of the pension of the ESM as given in circular 500. Widows will get this enhanced pension from 24 Sep 2012. They will further get arrears from 1 Jan 2006 as and when the MOD issues such instructions. 

    Dear Members hold your celebration till budget. We will finally come to know how much funds get allotted for OROP in this years budget and will raise a toast for OROP on that day.

    IESM salutes sincerity of RM Sh Manohar Parrikar. He is a man of his words. He had promised action on OROP by 17 Feb and he has executed it. 
    Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
    Gen Sec IESM
    Block N5, Flat no 801
    Narmada Block
    Pocket D6, Vasant Kunj
    New Delhi. 110070
    Mobile   09810541222

    Monday, 16 February 2015


    Achchey Din seems likely to dawn on the armed forces, or ex-personnel in particular. The government is giving final shape to their long standing demand of adopting One-Rank One-Pension (OROP).
    Bureaucrats are currently burning midnight oil to pore over the fine print of at least four options to implement the OROP scheme. A source in government, aware of the developments, says a decision is expected soon and a large provision in the Budget, or soon after.

    "We are very hopeful that the long overdue injustice to the armed forces will be reversed in this budget," says Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd) who leads the IESM or Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, which lobbied intensely for OROP since 2008. "Both UPA and NDA have agreed to our OROP so we see no reason that it will be held back now," he says.

    For 40 years the retirees, now numbering three million, have been bristling under what they perceive as "neglect and humiliation" by political parties and successive governments. Its extreme manifestation, from their perspective, was the denial of OROP. Lack of empirical data on the cost of this pension, plus political reluctance of the parties fuelled much of the denial and delay. The former military staff launched public agitations to make their case, often embarrassing the government.

    Regardless of which of the four options the government decides upon ultimately, the roughly Rs 8,000 crore likely to be set aside for OROP should go a long way to calm the angry (wo)men in uniform, besides providing them a lifestyle befitting the status, say, one that a retired colonel or brigadier enjoys.

    One choice before the government, says the same government source, is to do exactly as the ex-servicemen want: Give future and past retirees of the same rank from the Army, Navy and Air Force exactly the same pension. Essentially, this means that all Brigadiers or, say, Air Vice Marshals, would get the same pension regardless of when they retired, taking into account only their years in service and the number of years they held the rank. This formula, a literal interpretation of the phrase One-Rank One-Pension, has been accepted by government committees, including the Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence.

    For instance, a colonel with 30-32 years of service, whose basic pay was around Rs. 26,000 before 2004 would have earned around Rs. 37,000 in 2014. OROP is expected to bridge the pension gap that arises due to this pay discrepancy. "Our demand is very simple: Today's pension for all previous retirees," says Singh.

    But the government's estimates of cost of this pension have it pedalling back a little. Taking 2012 as the cut-off date, giving past retirees hikes that bring them on par with the highest pension paid to that rank in 2012, would cost a whopping Rs 16,000 crore, they argue. This has prompted a hunt for other options, meant to "balance" the exchequer with meeting armed force expectations.

    A second option involves fixing the pension for pre-2006 retirees according to the 6th Pay Commission. Then, the government may pull a trick out of its hat and select the lowest pension paid since 2006 as the norm for older retirees. A version of this formula is already under implementation for Junior Commissioned Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and other ranks. It's possible this formula, with some tweaks, will be accepted, and result in the roughly Rs 8,000 crore allocation.

    "It's obvious OROP is going to happen," says this government official. The discussions, this person says, is now in its final stage. There was a third choice, which involved bringing all ex-servicemen on par with the basic pay of the 6th Pay Commission, then calculate each retiree's pension individually, taking into account each one's years in service and length of time spent in the rank. This option is an "administrative nightmare" dogged, reportedly, by unavailable past data with the Controller of Defence Accounts, a wing of the ministry of defence. The lack of data is also a clear sign that the OROP debate has been based on weak databases and much groping in the dark.

    A fourth and final option is where pension is to be fixed on the basis of an average or median. Separate groups of retirees who superannuated in bands of years, say, between 1990 and 2000, would be made. Those earning a pension below the average would get an enhanced pension, while the rest would be protected. This option, apparently easy to implement, is technically not OROP at all as it implies a different pension for retirees in the same rank, if they retired at different points of time.

    The defence forces are mounting tremendous pressure on the government to ensure OROP isn't watered down. Earlier this month, they questioned defence minister Manohar Parrikar for saying that OROP would satisfy them "80 per cent." Their vociferous protest had the government assure full satisfaction. In 2009, angry retired armed personnel signed a petition in their own blood for then President Pratibha Patil. Reeling under such tough tactics, the UPA finally accepted OROP in 2012. But the Rs. 500 crore for it in last year's interim budget presented by finance minister P Chidambaram was seen as woefully inadequate. The veterans switched sides, now pinning their hopes on to the BJP's then prime minister-aspirant, Narendra Modi.

    Five lakh ex-servicemen had assembled last spring at Rewari, on the outskirts of Delhi, to hear Modi promise OROP, should his party form the government. Behind the scenes, the ex-servicemen had already got an assurance from the party to consider their demand and publicly announce it, as a precondition for pulling in the spectacular crowd in Rewari. "For years we had requested, protested and demanded OROP. In 2014 we realised what would make a difference to politicians—votes. With our strength and influence over the village population, we could swing elections in many places," Gen (retd) Singh says.

    OROP is an issue which could trip the BJP. It considers and projects itself as a fiercely nationalist party, a narrative meaningless without a robust national defence policy. It can scarcely afford to disappoint the defence forces. Nevertheless, the different versions of OROP indicate just how conflicted the issue is. The ex-servicemen never agreed that OROP will cost the Rs. 16000 predicted by the bureaucracy. They still hope for a Rs. 9000-12000 crore allocation for full OROP. The usually docile military retirees started getting heated up only after 2006. That year, the Sixth Pay Commission hiked central government pay significantly, to counter the private sector's fantastic offers to the similarly educated. As pension is always a proportion of salary, after this hike, the gap between pensions of ex-servicemen who retired before and after 2006 grew wider. Most jawans retire in their mid-thirties, and only an eighth of officers rise beyond the rank of colonel. The belief that the army would never catch up with the civil services' benefits also grew.


    Wednesday, 11 February 2015

    AAP Manifesto includes One Rank One Pension issue

    Just a day after defeating the might of Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Delhi Assembly elections, Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal today asked Delhi Chief Secretary D M Spolia to prepare a road map for implementation of Aam Aadmi Party‘s (AAP) 70-point manifesto which includes Ex-serviceman's issues at Sl. 64.  

    64. Respecting Our Ex-Servicemen: Delhi is home to a large number of ex-servicemen and women from the Armed Forces. AAP will stand by the nation’s ex-servicemen in their fight for “One Rank, One Pension”. We will ensure the existing quota in government jobs for ex-servicemen is filled up.

    Monday, 9 February 2015

    Time for PM to review Army pension
    The Armed Forces personnel pension scheme is obsolete and needs to be upgraded to become fair to the brave hearts of India.
    V. Mahalingam  New Delhi | 31st Jan 2015

    By being a mere spectator when 800 odd appeals filed by the Ministry of Defence against its own disabled soldiers came up for hearing in the Supreme Court, the government lost a great opportunity to demonstrate to the people that when it comes to good governance he means business and is determined to walk the talk.
    It was an opportunity to assert the supremacy of an elected government, which for the past 10 years seemed powerless and conquered by coalition politics. It was an opportunity to indicate to the people that frivolous court cases and delays resulting in injustices to the disabled, the old and infirm will not be allowed to go through and the government would be fair to the people. That would have provided credibility to promises made in various forums and public speeches. Sadly, that was not to be. The Supreme Court instead had to step in to set aside the appeals of the government during a hearing on 10 December 2014. A situation, which ought to have generated good will, and should have been exploited to consolidate his position, was lost.
    Agreed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not have been aware that such a case was coming up and it needed his intervention. But what were his team of bureaucrats doing? By now they ought to have read his mind and his intentions on matters of governance. Someone should have briefed him on the issue, got his directions and conveyed the same to the Ministry of Defence for instantaneous withdrawal of the cases. Files could have been pushed around subsequently. That is how we expect the Modi government to work.
    Today, yet another situation has matured sufficiently for PM Modi to act. The erstwhile UPA government, as a part of the interim budget presented in Parliament in February 2014, announced the grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP). The Modi government reaffirmed their commitment to the policy in their budget presented in July 2014 and subsequently confirmed the definition in an answer to a Parliament question. PM Modi had repeatedly assured the veteran community of his commitment to OROP during his election campaigns and his visits to various defence establishments.
    The definition of OROP is unambiguous. It is "uniform pension to 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." Does this not simply mean that a soldier with the same rank and service retiring today and the one who retired say 10 years before would receive the same pension?
    Despite the clarity in the policy, even after 11 months, the government machinery has not been able to work out the financial implication of the scheme — so say the government representatives. The Defence Minister says that though his own assessment of the cost to the exchequer is about six to eight thousand crores, the computation by various government agencies is anything between eight and fourteen thousand crores. In a computer age, are we to accept such discrepancies? The calculations of these agencies have not been provided to the Defence Services or made public. Does this fit into established concepts of efficiency and fair play in governance? We expect a clear difference between the earlier government and the present one headed by Narendra Modi‎
    New factors such as the length of service of an individual in a particular rank are being brought in and attempts are being made to insert in already thrashed out issues such as "civilians too would demand OROP" to spook the politicians. Where is the space for such incongruous issues within the scope of the definition spelt out in Parliament? Are such people not trying to delay, dilute and deny justice to the soldiering community at the sunset years of their lives after they have sacrificed so much for the country during their prime, without even caring for their families and children?
    A year is much more than good enough time to implement an explicit government policy. We expect PM Modi to step in to set things right. This opportunity must be made use of to send a clear message to the bureaucracy that its role is to implement government policies and the will of Parliament and not sit in judgement over them. Harsh measures will have to be accepted if the country is to progress and an elected government's eminence restored.
    Will justice finally be done to India's bravehearts in uniform? It is to PM Modi they look.
    Brigadier (Retired) V. Mahalingam is a defence analyst

    Wednesday, 4 February 2015


    Instruction No 2/ 2001
    F.No. 200/51/99-ITA.I

    Govt of India
    Ministry of Finance
    Deptt of Revenue
    Central Board of Direct Taxes
    New Delhi, the 2
    nd July, 2001
    To :
    All Chief Commissioners of Income-Tax
    All Directors General of Income-Tax 
    Subject : Exemption from Income Tax to disability pension, i.e., “disability element” and “service element” of a disabled officer of the Indian Armed Forces – Instructions regarding
    References have been received in the Board regarding exemption from Income Tax to disability pension, i.e., “disability element” and “service element” of a disabled officer of the Indian Armed Forces.
    2. It appears that field formations in certain cases are not uniformly allowing disability pension inspite of Board’s Instruction No 136 dated 14th January 1970 (F No 34/3/68-II(AI) ).
    3. The matter has been re-examined in the Board and it has been decided to reiterate that the entire disability pension, i.e, disability element and service element of a disabled officer of the Indian Armed Forces continues to be exempt from Income Tax.
    4. This may be brought to the notice of all officers working under you.

    Yours faithfully
    (B L Sahu) 
    OSD (ITA-I)  

    Monday, 2 February 2015

    REPORT OF EX-SERVICEMEN RALLY ON 1 FEB 2015 SUNDAY AT JANTAR MANTAR ORGANIZED BY IESM Dear Veterans The rally started at 1000h on 1 Feb 2015 Sunday at Jantar Mantar. By 1100h the venue was full. 
      The rally was attended by more than 8000 ex-servicemen from sepoys to Generals and more than 100 families. Veterans' of all three services recorded their presence and demanded early release of notification for OROP. The mood in the rally was upbeat and all veterans exuded confidence and thanked IESM for taking up the problems of ex-servicemen and bringing them to the center stage. Ex-servicemen were very appreciative of the help being given by the pension, ECHS and CSD div of IESM.

    The Veterans exhorted the IESM leadership to continue the fight on behalf of ex-servicemen and their families with the Government till their demands were accepted by the Government. They all appreciated the stand of IESM for calling this rally to remind and request the Government for early release of notification. ESM praised IESM for declaring that this rally is not to confront the Government but it has been organized to assist the Government to over-rule the objections by the bureaucracy for release of OROP.
    Speakers; more than 50 speakers including women speakers addressed the rally. They exhorted the Governing body of IESM to increase pressure on the Government and confirmed their resolve that ex-servicemen would not accept anything less than full OROP.

      List of Speeches; All the speakers were applauded by the crowd. All speakers encouraged the IESM to continue the fight for fulfillment of demands of ex-servicemen and fight for justice and equality. Speakers after speaker asked one question to the Government what is holding the Government in taking a decision on the OROP, which has been passed by two Parliaments and is personal commitment of PM of India?  All present shouted that we would not rest till OROP is granted for all ORs, JCOs and officers'. All speakers explained the meaning and origin of OROP.
       The Speakers also criticized the Government policies of neglecting the defense personnel after extracting juice from their life and thereafter forgetting them. Army personnel are forced to retire after service of 20 years and at the age of 37 to 40 years. This is the time in their life when they have maximum responsibilities and have old parents to look after but are without a job and on meager pension. It should be the responsibility of the Government to give them job till 60 years of age as is the case of all Government employees.
      Speakers warned all present and the ex-servicemen community at large to be very careful from few disgruntled veterans, who had been working against the interest of IESM. These veterans were spreading rumors and were collecting funds on the name of IESM. This activity by these veterans was a fraud on the ex-servicemen community. All ex-servicemen were requested to give membership fee and donations only by cheque in favour of IESM a/c no 06162000001330. Some of the ESM had been spreading rumours about cancellation of the Rally but despite their propaganda more than 8000 ESM gathered for the rally.
      Speakers also expected more improvement in ECHS and canteen facilities where in they wanted these services to be extended to all the ex-servicemen in villages, where bulk of the ex-servicemen settle after retirement. All the speakers were unanimous in demanding more pensions for widows. They expressed that the widows were the most neglected segment of ex-servicemen family. It was surprising that the Govt did not pay any attention to the widow of a soldier who had given his life for protecting the nation. 
      IESM Delegation Met the Raksha Mantri;
    IESM delegation consisting of 30 ESMs and widows was invited by Raksha Mantri to discuss their problems and their expectations of OROP. ESM from all states joined the delegation and went to Kotah House to meet the RM at 1100h. COAS Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag was also present in the meeting.

      Raksha Mantri welcomed all ESM and their families and explained that he was convinced that OROP is a genuine demand of Armed Forces/ex-servicemen and must be given. He further expressed that he has gone into all nuances and finer points of OROP and has understood the OROP and genesis of OROP. He stated that he has over-ruled the objections of MOD that if OROP is given to Armed Forces other services will also demand it. He confirmed that Armed Forces pension should be called Mil Pension and hence other services are not entitled for it. He appreciated that service conditions of Armed Forces are very difficult and they need more compassion from the nation and the Government. 
      He further explained that he is working on the financial effects of OROP and would soon send the file to Ministry of Finance. He made following commitments to the delegation.  * That OROP would be as per definition approved in the Parliament. * That there will be no dilution in OROP from the approved definition. * That he would approve the file soon and would send it to Ministry of Finance latest by 17 Feb 15.  * That he would personally discuss the OROP with Finance Minister and get it approved at the earliest and may be within a month.  * That OROP will be applicable w.e.f 1 Apr 14 irrespective of its date issuance of Government letter. * That he is targeting to release OROP letter as per approved definition before End March 15.  
      He further explained that he has been quoted out of context about 80% satisfaction. He explained that in any situation there will be some who would object and his comment on 80% satisfaction level was for them. He again emphasized that his effort was to ensure that there should be no anomalies in the letter issued for implementation of OROP. 
     The delegation explained to him that there will be no anomalies if the approved definition of OROP is followed without change of its text.  
      The delegation members brought to his notice the plight of veer naris. Gp Capt VK Gandhi explained that these widows were denied increase in pension in 2009 on flimsy grounds by MOD. This increase in pension was given to all ESMs.  This was a very insensitive decision on part of MOD to deny increase in pension for widows. RM queried from widows about their pension and their difficulties. He was told that a widow gets only Rs 3500/ pension and they are living a life of great hardship. RM sympathized with them and explained that he was not aware of their problems and would look into these problems. He instructed COAS to put the issue to MOD. RM explained to the delegation that he has instructed to cancel all legal cases filed by MOD in case of disabled soldiers.
      The issue of grant of arrears of increase of pension from 1 Jan 06 was also brought to his notice Gp Capt VK Gandhi and it was explained that while central Government employees had already been paid the MOD has not initiated any action on release of payment. MOD is probably taking shelter that only litigants will be paid. This is not a valid ground to refuse payment of arrears. This decision/attitude will force veterans/Armed Forces personnel to go to court for release of arrears from 1 Jan 06. This will be against the stated stand of honorable RM. He promised to look into this issue.  
      The delegation was happy about the commitments made by RM and came back with an upbeat mood.  The delegation has felt for the first time that there is someone in Government who is sensitive to their litany of woes and he is RM of India Mr Manohar Parrikar.  
      Discussion with COAS Gen Dilbag Singh Suhag; Delegation members discussed their problems with COAS after meeting with RM was over. The delegation explained to COAS that they were facing difficulties in ECHS and CSD even in areas with high density of veterans. COAS explained that he had included ECHS and CSD for veterans in his high priority list. He had issued instructions that ECHS administration needed to be more compassionate in attending to veterans. His instructions were that atleast two staff members should be there to welcome all patients coming to polyclinic for treatment. These staff members would guide or provide wheel chairs to senior veterans on coming to polyclinic.

     He was similarly looking into CSD facilities. He also confirmed that he had issued instructions to commanders that they should liaise with state CM and improve working of zila sainik boards in the cities and improve the condition of sainik aaram gahs where-ever available. He assured the delegation that he was doing his best to take care of veterans because soon he and other seniors would join veterans on retirement. 
      Maj Gen Satbir Singh SM, Chairman of IESM; Maj Gen Satbir Singh recounted the sacrifices made by the ex-servicemen and asked the Government that why should a sepoy who had fought in 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars and  in 1999 in Kargil war get less pension than the sepoy who was retiring today. He explained that Government had now realized that ex-servicemen need more compassion from the Government and the nation and had in principle approved OROP. He lamented that notification of OROP has not been released by government on some pretext or other even after nine months of its approval. He explained that today’s rally had been organized only to remind the Government to keep up their promise and release the Government notification for OROP at the earliest. He informed the gathering that a delegation of about 30 ESM and Veernaris had just met the RM at 1100h today. RM was very sympathetic to ex-servicemen and widows and he had given his commitment that he would ensure that OROP file would be sent to MOF latest by 17 Feb 15 and he would personally follow up with the Finance Minister for its approval. RM had committed that OROP will be as per definition approved by Parliament and it would not be diluted. In-fact RM went a step further and told that OROP is special to only Armed Forces and will not be applicable to other central government employees. OROP will be called Military Pension and is special to only Armed Forces. 
      He invited all ex-servicemen associations in India to come forward and join hands with IESM and fight for the right of ex-servicemen. He stated that unity of purpose is the call of the day and all ESM organizations must unite to fight for injustice being done to Veterans. All present roared and shouted that Gen Satbir tum lado hum tumhare saath hain. The Gathering shouted slogans OROP le ke rahenge le ke rahenge. Fouji ekta zindabad zindabad.  IESM zindabad. 
      Chairman thanked veterans for coming for the rally despite their other pressing works and extreme cold weather. Admin arrangements; Water, tea, biscuit and Mathhi arrangements were made for the gathering. It was appreciated by the veterans. All members of the Core group whole heartedly participated in making the rally comfortable for the veterans. Parallel Rallies All over India; ESM all over India spread over Varanasi, Kanpur, Mumbai, Secunderabad, Tricity Chandigarh, Chennai and Trivandrum also presented memorandums to Gov/CM/DC for onward transmission to Government. One copy of these memorandums was received by IESM office and was included in the memorandum presented to RM.  IESM appreciates the enthusiasm of state conveners in arranging the rallies in their area.  Press coverage; Press and media in India and abroad covered the event. Headline today, INDIA TV, and PTC channels were present in full form and had recorded the proceedings of the rally.  World media has also reported the event. Local media all over India also covered the parallel rallies arranged by conveners Membership; More than 300 members joined IESM during the rally.
      Donations; IESM is very thankful to  veterans who had wholeheartedly contributed funds for the rally. More than Rs 20000/ were received as donations during the rally.  IESM appreciates the contribution of all veterans and expressed that this money would be used for welfare of ex-servicemen and realizing the dreams of all veterans and widows. Vote of Thanks; IESM thanks veterans in making the rally successful. Gen Sec thanked ESM that they had come from 14 states of India to participate in rally. Gen Sec thanked veterans for participate in the rally in large numbers despite extreme cold weather. 
      IESM thanks Col Alexander for giving support to design and produce banners and back drop banner for stage free of cost.  IESM thanks all the veterans for donating generously for the cause of ex-servicemen. THE FIGHT FOR OROP WILL CONTINUE TILL NOTIFICATION FOR OROP IS ISSUED. IESM REQUESTS ALL THE VETERANS' AND SUPPORTERS TO DONATE GENEROUSLY FOR VETERANS' CAUSE. PLEASE MAKE THE CHEQUES IN FAVOUR OF 'INDIAN EX-SERVICEMEN MOVEMENT A/C NO 06162000001330. 
      IESM requests members to not to be misled by anti IESM propaganda by few politically motivated veterans. IESM has been established for welfare of veterans and will continue to represent veterans (whether IESM members of not) with the Government. IESM will dedicate itself in solving problems of veterans. The Rally was closed at 1500h.

    Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM

    Sunday, 1 February 2015


    Despite Boycott call by Sanjha Morcha,he rally was well attended byVeteransfromPunjab,Haryana,Delhi
    Himachal,Jummu,UP,Bihar  even from Tamil nadu.The gathering was more than expected & is about to seven to eight thousand. 
     After the inauguration of Rally at about 11 am a delegation of 25 ESM including 4 veer Naris of Jawans Commanded by Gen Satbir singh met defence minister. The COAS was also present at the meeting along with The DM .
    The DM had a cordial interaction with Gen Sabirsingh & other delegates. The DM also interacted with Veer Naris who explained that their family pension was less than the earnings of casual labor women. 
    The DM assured the delegation that the modalities of  OROP  including family & disability pension will be completed by MOD BY 16 Feb & the same will be sent to MOF for sanction& allocation of sufficient funds in the budget.
    He has also assured the delegation to obtain the approval of MOF by 28 feb & issue the implementation letter before 31 arch2015.Detailed letter from IESM will follow.