One Rank One Pension

It is argued that the cost of implementation of “one rank, one Pension”, or OROP would be huge. Do you think, if it is true, should it be implemented? Critically comment. (200 Words)

One Rank One Pension means equal pension to all defence personnel of equal rank serving equal duration in service. The cost of implementing OROP is likely to be 19000-20000 crore rupees. However the government has provided only 1000 crore in the Union Budget for this purpose.
OROP should be implemented without delay for the following reasons
  1. Service provided by defence forces- India’s defence forces have performed commendably in meeting all emergencies-war, terrorism or natural calamities. There should be no delay in implementing OROP
  2. Inadequate pension- The pension received by veterans is not adjusted to subsequent Pay Commission recommendations, leading to disparity in incomes of those retiring in different times. Inflation and vulnerability in old age requires they be given higher pension.
  3. Lateral transfer of personnel-Lateral transfer of Armed Forces personnel into suitable government jobs after the end of their military service will reduce the OROP bill in the future.
  4. Tax on super rich-2015 Budget included a 2% surcharge on the super-rich. This is expected to yield Rs 9000 crore which can be set aside to partly finance OROP.
Critically examine why there is a demand for the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) principle by the veterans of the defence services and the government’s response to this demand. (200 Words)
Presently, there is no parity among the defence personnel of the same rank in their pension allotments. That is, two defence personnel having retired on the same rank and same tenure may get different pensions depending upon the last drawn salary. Since the salaries are updated on the recommendations of pay commission, the personnel retiring later are getting more pension, even double, than the ones retired earlier.
Given that inflation hurts people equally, the defence personnel, who retire earlier than civilians and have to sustain on constant pension income for larger period are more hit. And those defence personnel who are getting even lesser pension, coupled with their old age, are the worst hit. It is in this context that veterans are asking pension on the basis of rank, which will bring parity.
There is no doubt that the demand is just and Government must bring One Rank One Pension as soon as possible. Despite efforts by various governments, the scheme could not come to its logical end due to following reasons:
  1. Financial costs of the tune of 8000 crore rupees are huge and given the fiscal deficit, it has been difficult to accommodate the pension bill.
  2. There are huge administrative costs associated in identifying the beneficiaries and disbursing the benefits to about 25 lakh ex-serviceman. However, Aadhar linked bank accounts will help.
  3. There are chances that other paramilitary forces will demand for the same benefit and government’s fiscal position is not ready for the same.
Government needs to allot money for the social security of one of the most important community which is on the verge of marginalisation due to political apathy. Any deficiency will result in overall degradation in the morale of military personnel which will not be a good news for India.
[Other sectors of govt. employees like fireman, police force and even civil servants will demand it too considering it as injustice against them. May be civil servants do not come under the criteria of risking their lives but Police forces and Fireman can claim the same. It will be a myriad for NDA to get out of it safe without losing confidence of valuable supporters.]