Saturday, May 10, 2014

OROP : 01 January 2006 Or 01 April 2014

As the announced deadline for implementation of the much awaited and discussed OROP draws close, an exponential increase in buzz on the blogosphere, related to the subject, is inevitable.

Blogs that choose to contribute to participative opinion building of the responsible variety, have featured meaningful inputs and long discussions on the current status of the implementation process, reported stances of stake-holders in the decision making bodies and the likely modalities of implementation.

It would be exceedingly rash to resort to "table / chart making" at this stage. Besides there is a large, some would say 'too large', Government machinery meant only for preparing tables and churning them out in copious numbers with standards of alignment, orientation and legibility that we have now come to expect as the norm from our Government machinery. It may be imprudent to address a task or process which is under the ownership of clerical staff, supervisors and higher level officials of the Government.

At the present moment, clarity has just begun to emerge on a number of issues that can be listed as follows :

  • OROP is likely to be an "inter CPC" model with the only difference being, it could be implemented across a cut-off date of 01 April 2014 as against the date of 01 Jan 2006 which would've applied to a true "Inter CPC" basis as speculated on, amongst other possible ways of implementing OROP, in my previous blog post.

  • The basis of parity of pensions of pensioners who retired before the OROP cut-off date, 01 Jan 2006 or 01 Apr 2014, would be the pension applicable to a retiree, with the same years of service and in the same rank, retiring immediately after the cut off date i.e. the pension fixed for the month Jan 2006 or April 2014, as the case may be. The differences in pensions calculated using the two different dates would be significant. An example would be the pension of a Lt Col with 20 years of service who might have retired prior to the cut off date could be less by approximately Rs. 3000 to 4000 per month  if pegged to pensions of the earlier date. Some rough calculations were made in this regard in this discussion. {Edit: Unfortunately, owing to the deletion of previous comments on the Aerial View blog, those discussions are no longer viewable}.

  • In this context, it may be useful to mention that pensions of retirees who retired between 01 Jan 2006 and 01 March 2014 would not go up by as much as the pensions of pre 01 Jan 2006 retirees if the cut off date of 01 April 2014 is chosen. The pensions of post 01 Jan 2006 retirees would not change at all if the cut off date of 01 Jan 2006 is chosen, unless of course, some mechanism is implemented for periodically upgrading all past pensions for keeping them "uniform" with the pensions applicable for the same rank and service in the "current" month i.e. in any month in future. This, presently, does not appear to be part of the way OROP is likely to be implemented, but then, one never knows.

  • The present implementation may not take into account various other concerns voiced repeatedly about the anomalies that have crept in over time due to cadre reviews and changes in time-frames required to attain time-scale ranks which all have a direct bearing on pension parity. Though some representations have been made, notably by RDOA as recorded in this blog post, the current status of such efforts is not known. If these matters remain unresolved one can foresee more strife and litigation on several such issues.

Ultimately, it needs to be seen, and kept in mind, that even if pensions are not kept "uniform" after once equalising the pensions on 01 April 2014, the differences in past (pre 01 Apr 2014) and present (post 01 Apr 2014) pensions may not be significant as it is already May 2014. If the bench-marking date of 01 Apr 2014 is chosen for pension parity and if pensions of present day pensioners vary only on account of increments in their monthly pay, then there would be only one two more increments, the ones due on 01 Jan Jul 2014 and 01 Jul 2015, that could affect pension parities to some extent.

Recommendations of a new CPC would take effect from 01 Jan 2016. It would be the task of VII CPC to examine the requirement for periodically enhancing older pensions to keep pace with the current ones in tune with the principles underlying OROP.