OROP One Rank One Pension – Fulfilling long standing demand of Defence Pensioners
GAPS IN THE EARLIER PENSION POLICY
Before implementation of OROP, the computation of pension was linked to the pay drawn by the personnel in a particular pay scale/ pay band at the time of his/her retirement. Pay scales are revised to the higher side generally on the recommendation of Pay Commissions. As such, the personnel retiring after the revision of the pay scales got more pension than those who had already retired. Hence, the gap remained in the pension of the past and present retirees.
A LONG PENDING ISSUE
Ex-Servicemen had been agitating for implementation of OROP for more than 40 years, but the same was not finalized prior to 2015. The issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ has been considered in the past by various committees and bodies and generally not found acceptable on account of the principles as well as significant financial implications not only for defence services but also for the civilian employees as a whole. The substance of recommendations of these committees and bodies is summarized as under:
3rd Central Pay Commission: It recommended weightages in qualifying service for pension from 3 to 9 years depending on the ranks
High Level Committee on problems of Ex-Servicemen – 1984 (K.P. Singh Dev Committee): The Committee recommended that the Government should consider the issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ particularly in the light of the principle, which has been already established with respect to the pension of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
The 4th Central Pay Commission: The Commission observed that it is difficult to accept the suggestion for equalization of pension. Moreover, this would involve a considerable administrative and accounting work without conferring any uniform benefits to various categories of pensioners.
High Level Empowered Committee –1991 (Sharad Pawar Committee): No specific recommendation on the issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ was given by the Committee
5th Central Pay Commission: The Commission did not recommend grant of ‘One Rank One Pension’ by stating that every Pay Commission gives certain benefits in pay which are over and above the impact of inflation, either due to up gradation of recruitment qualifications or change in job contents. The benefits accorded on this account need not necessarily be passed on to the pensioners.
RM’s Committee Report (June, 2003): The RM’s Committee left the issue to be considered by the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the Government on the issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’.
Inter-Ministerial Committee: An Inter-Ministerial Committee was set up on 27.02.2003 by the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare to consider the demand of ‘One Rank One Pension’. The Committee, in its report submitted on 24.09.2004 did not favour grant of ‘One Rank One Pension’, but recommended grant of modified parity based on the maximum of the revised scale of pay introduced with effect from 01.01.1996 for PBOR.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence: The Committee in its 20th and 21st report reiterated their earlier recommendations for providing ‘One Rank One Pension’ to the Armed Forces Personnel.
Views of Ministry of Law on ‘One Rank One Pension’: “The present system has stood the test of judicial scrutiny. The same cannot be said for ‘One Rank One Pension’ and the legal feasibility of the same stands open to be adjudicated. Besides, there are financial aspects too that need to be kept in view”.
Group of Ministers: A Group of Ministers (GOM) was set up in January 2005 by the Government to look into this demand. GOM did not recommend ‘One Rank One Pension’
6th Central Pay Commission: The 6th Pay Commission has also not recommended ‘One Rank One Pension’.
Cabinet Secretary Committee, 2009: The Committee went into this demand and other related issues, but did not recommended ‘One Rank One Pension’.However,it made seven recommendations aimed at narrowing the gap between past and current pensioners.
Standing Committee: The Standing Committee in its 7th and 9th (15th Lok Sabha) Report again reiterated their stand on ‘One Rank One Pension’.
Rajya Sabha Petition Committee: Rajya Sabha Petition Committee in its 142nd Report stated that the Government should implement ‘One Rank One Pension’ in the Defence Forces across the board.
Cabinet Secretary Committee (2012): The Committee did not recommend implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’, however, it recommended various other ways to enhance pension of past retirees.