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

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Question of ‘Honour’

Revisiting ‘One Rank, One Pension’

Instead of penny-pinching over the “One Rank, One Pension” scheme, the government ought to save precious resources by withdrawing the army from “internal security duty” and pursuing diplomacy and a political resolution of the Kashmir dispute. But tragically, it has chosen to keep both its soldiers and the areas where they operate (within the country) “disturbed,” and then dishonour the soldiers by being miserly and close-fisted over the OROP scheme.

Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal (RKG), a Dalit, served in the 105 Battalion of the Territorial Army unit of the Rajputana Rifles for six years and in the Defence Security Corps for 24 years, completing a total of 30 years of service (Telegraph 2016). His pension at the time of retirement in 2004, when he drew a salary of ₹14,000 a month, was ₹6,500 a month. Because of the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission (SPC) award as well as intermediate hikes during the terms in office of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance I and II governments, his pension rose to ₹28,000. Had the SPC arrears been included, his pension would have reached ₹32,000 per month (Dubey 2016). Although several questions surround his suicide, there are some uncontested facts.

The State Bank of India’s Ghanta Ghar branch at Hisar in Haryana pointed out that the onus of calculating salaries and pensions lay with the government; the banks merely disbursed salaries and pensions. Pensions, it pointed out, are disbursed in accordance with Pension Payment Orders issued by the former employers of retired staff (Shaktawat 2016). RKG had taken a loan of ₹3.5 lakh against his pension from his bank branch (Murarka 2016). As a retired fauji, he is credited with having transformed the Bamla panchayat in the district of Bhiwani. From 2004 to 2009, he was that panchayat’s much-loved sarpanch. He received the Nirmal Bharat Puraskar in 2008 for his pioneering role in transforming that panchayat (Bharadwaj 2016). From water conservation to water storage and from girls’ education to homestead land for everyone, his achievements endeared him to everyone in Bamla.

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Updated On : 20th Jan, 2017
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