Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dangers Of 140 Character Wisdom On OROP

    The famous micro blogging website, and it need not be named here, does great service in this day and age of a hyper connected world. However, every once in a while, the downside, of a tiny ripple of a mere idea getting turned into a cliff sized wave of flawed interpretations, becomes more than a little apparent.

    I've just had yet another experience of this recently. While engaged in a conversation about the justification, or the lack of it, for applying the concept of OROP to civilian organizations, I tried to bring out my logic with an illustration of a hypothetical situation in which OROP would be called "AFTCPB", an acronym for "Armed Forces Truncated Career Pensionary Benefit", so as to make it unambiguously clear to the meanest intelligence that:

  • It applied to armed forces personnel only.
  • It was based on the shorter career spans of people in uniform in armed forces.

   The aim was to put forward the logic that since service conditions of civilian organisations did not include those particular attributes present within the armed forces, perhaps, OROP need to apply only to personnel of the armed forces who retire at much younger ages as compared to personnel of other government organizations, including the Central Armed Police Forces. 

    The 140 character nature of the post did not exactly facilitate holding forth on explaining in several paragraphs that calling OROP by another name to illustrate its "armed forces" specific application was merely a "What If" approach. In other words, "What if OROP was called AFTCPB? Would other civilian organizations be also able to say they needed it too, as TC (Truncated Careers) did not apply in their case"?

    This did not register with another person who insisted the civilian organizations, he incorrectly referred to them as "para military", would ask for AFTCPB as well. This was attempted to be clarified by yet another person who joined the conversation, a familiar participant in blog comment threads. The hash tag #OROP appears to be a great signalling device and never fails to attract the attention of the thousands affected. Here's a link to the conversation.

    There the matter would have ended, when notifications on my micro-blogging account alerted me that my "handle" had been mentioned in others' posts. I found the same issue of calling OROP something other than OROP was being discussed and someone else had in fact put forward a serious proposal that it actually be renamed and that his post be re-circulated, perhaps like one of those numerous online petitions that seek the support of other like minded persons on the web.

    As things often happen, it led to an exchange between participants suggesting this was an idea derived from what I had mentioned, about calling OROP as AFTCBP, albeit only to illustrate its applicability solely to the armed forces, and that if anything required re-circulation, it was my original post. Part of this subsequent exchange clearly demonstrates how stake holders can argue at cross purposes, steering the ship of logic off course, into uncharted waters.

      That is the last thing that is required. It would be far from constructive to even attempt to rename OROP. It merely needs to be understood by everyone that the justification for OROP applies only to the armed forces. If the justification is fully explained in documents implementing OROP, as it is most likely to be explained when and if the implementation takes place, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind OROP applies only to personnel of armed forces.

     If there are shortfalls or deficiencies in pensionary benefits of CAPF or civilian government organizations then a case for rectifying those has to be taken up separately and not because of implementation, when and if it happens, of OROP for personnel of armed forces.

       So, in the remote possibility of anyone at all having the "re-circulation" urge, perhaps consideration could be applied to using the "share button with the bird t" at the bottom of this blog post as a more constructive alternative to any 140 character bit of wisdom, mine or anyone else's, on what OROP should or should not be called.

       As I had mentioned previously, the ship of considering alternatives to OROP had sailed a long time ago. That seems to apply equally to the option of calling it something else.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Need For Retirement Rank Normalisation For OROP

Whatever be the reason for the distinct sound of sand in the OROP gear box, there now appears to be no major conceptual hurdle to implementing it.

The only thing, one which I have stressed upon repeatedly in the past, and one which could use a bit of repetition here, albeit briefly, is if a Commissioned Officer, a JCO, a Havildar, Naik, Sepoy did x years of service before retiring in year y, that must have a direct bearing on the pension that he now earns, not just the rank he retired with in year "y".

This, needless to say, can only apply to time bound ranks. Unless it is firmly grasped that a failure to do so would only be introducing another basis of inequity and disparity, our efforts in obtaining some form of delayed justice through OROP would have fallen short.

If we apply a bit of mind to the concept of a rank, starting with ranks given with time bound promotions, the first thing that ought to strike anyone is that it is a complex entity. It is not just the sum total of the consonants and vowels that comprise the word that denotes a rank. There is a vital need to be able to differentiate between the "nomenclature" and "description" associated with a "Rank".

A rank obtained on the basis of time bound promotions can be seen to be dependent on several variables and hence is not a constant itself.

One simple depiction of a rank as follows ought to yield some very logical inferences, without the intervention of words:



Where R~ "nomenclature" of rank; ser@pr~No. of years of service at promotion; tc~type of commission; ret_yr~year of retirement

Then, clearly, a veteran would not just have a retirement rank of M-A-J-O-R. It would be one of the following :






Lt Col
Lt Col



To put it in plain language, each one of those  three Maj ranks are not "one rank". Similarly, the two Lt Col ranks are different, hence the "inequality" sign.

Therefore, by hind-sight, before getting on board the OROP bandwagon, there was a need to come to terms with what was meant by “One Rank”. But having come this far, and “complexities” now being cited as a basis for the need to be “patient”, a quick fix solution, to the variability of criteria for time bound promotions needs to be urgently incorporated into any envisaged resolution of the “complexities”.

This merely re-states, at what is perceived to be a crucial juncture, some ideas expressed in the past.