ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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One-Rank-One-Pension Logjam

Is There a Way Out?

The continuing stand off between the government and retired soldiers over One-Rank-One-Pension has engendered distrust between the civilian bureaucracy and the military. While the ex-servicemen have been rigid on all their demands, including ones that defy sound reasoning, the manner in which the bureaucracy continues to quibble on minor issues grates on the military's sense of honour and dignity.

The agitation by retired soldiers seeking One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP) status continues to simmer. Although the government issued an order for OROP on 7 November 2015, the ex-servicemen insist that this does not actually adhere to the spirit of the demand. The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) has pointed out that the current order departs significantly from the one drafted by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in February 2015 and has asked for specific changes to the order. Matters have been complicated by the delay on the part of the government in spelling out details of implementation, including the new pension tables.

Underlying these differences is a major trust deficit: the ex-servicemen are concerned that the bureaucracy is deliberately playing for time and is hoping to conflate the question of OROP with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission (which will obviously have a bearing on pensions), thus diluting their demand for OROP. At this writing, the IESM has agreed that Union Minister and former Army Chief, V K Singh, can act as a mediator between them and the government to resolve these differences. However, they have also stated that they will not grant the minister more than a few days to help settle the matter.

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