Thursday, June 09, 2011

Beyond The OROP "Slogan"

"One Rank One Pension", or OROP in short, is not just a single issue. It is a concept and represents a whole spectrum of underlying concerns, ideas and principles related to fairness, equity and justice. The chief danger in the term OROP being tossed about in the media, as well as in sundry blogs and forums, is that the finer details and nuances of the concept are likely to become victims of hype and the low quality of discourse and discussion overseen by the not exactly keen intellects that are usually the first to get engaged in great numbers with hype of any nature.

Presently, a common understanding is evolving to a loosely held notion that OROP would mean that an armed forces retiree would get the same pension applicable to his rank regardless of when he or she retired. This brief idea now seems to represent to vast numbers amongst those affected the totality of "OROP" which has in a way been reduced to a slogan without any common understanding as to what OROP should precisely mean.

Now, let us not dispute the usefulness of slogans, per se. In order to convey a range of issues to those affected in an abbreviated form, slogans are particularly useful as devices for capturing the 'popular imagination'. A slogan can also be the platform for engaging in negotiations and discussions on the complete range of issues covered by the single slogan. The caution that needs to be exercised is the slogan be discussed and amplified to explain its full meaning so that people do not confuse the whole depth of the matter with the wording or text of the slogan.

In that sense, OROP meaning equal pension for all retirees in the same rank would fall well short of a state of equity for a veteran of the armed forces vis-a-vis a civilian counterpart. For even a reasonable, not perfect, mind you, resolution of the imbalances tilted against the veteran, OROP needs to take into account the following principle-based considerations:

*There is a need to redress the imbalance in earnings, to the veteran's detriment, on account of his truncated career vis-a-vis a civilian counterpart. The present day veteran retirees' pensions therefore must be fixed at a higher level than those of 'equivalent' civilian counterparts as the latter serve for longer periods drawing incrementally enhancing emoluments for longer periods and also, as a result, getting higher pensions at super-annuation.

*There is a need to ensure parity in pensions of veterans who retired in the past and those who super-annuate currently.

*Rank of an armed forces retiree, though an important yardstick for OROP, cannot by itself be the sole criterion for ensuring parity of pensions for veterans. For past retirees, parity of pensions with present day retirees needs to be established considering the service rendered in a particular rank and, most importantly, pegging the parity at the current pension for the rank the former would have been currently entitled to purely on the length of service they, the past retirees, had rendered at the time of retirement.

There is an urgent need for all affected retirees to comprehend all aspects of the matter and to begin to list out and consolidate the various relevant ideas that have a bearing on this issue. Some ideas on the same subject have been highlighted in this Blog in the past.


  1. I think the main problem lies in convincing our civilian brothers because it could open a flood gate of similar demands from the police services and other central govt retirees.The government probably cannot fulfill all demands of central govt employees with life expectancy going up. Instead service personnel who serve under very difficult circumstances could be exempted from Income Tax on pension drawn for their services rendered for the nation. One thing is sure whatever the services try to do the same in some form will be demanded by the paramilitary, police and other central govt employees.

    Wg Cdr K Kemkar

  2. @KUBER: I've gone through the contents of the previous blog posts, links to which were provided in this and the previous post.
    When the foundation of the call for OROP is the service retiree's truncated career vis-a-vis the civilian counterpart, where's the question of a similar demand from civilian employees?
    I think the issues raised by you have already been pre-empted .