School level essay —OROP issue -why government can’t resolve it
OROP.. Why it is such a contentious topic?
One Rank, One Pension (OROP) is a demand that has been simmering within the armed forces retirees for years now, resulting in many protests, deliberations with and assurances from the government, but the problem has not been addressed to the satisfaction of the retired soldiers yet. The personnel of army, navy , and the air force are equally disenchanted with the government whom they accuse of bad faith and broken promises.
One Rank, one Pension means men and women retiring in the same rank with the same duration of service should get the same pension irrespective of their year of retirement.
On the face of it, it appears a very just demand, and the country, so grateful to its armed forces, should not be unfair to them in not conceding to such an innocuous demand. However, the problem that started in 1973 during Indira Gandhi’s time, has become quite intractable because
a. Agreeing to this demand will means sharp increase in the Pension expenditure of all the three wings of the armed forces. Already, the expenses on salary and welfare of soldiers as a percentage of the total budget, is quite high, leaving very little money for capital expenditure and buying of new modern equipments. Known as the Teeth to Tail ratio, the proportion of military budget being utilized for pension and other support activities has increased continuously in the last few years. This tail has become much longer than desired, thus reducing the offensive capabilities of the armed forces.
b. The issue was got entangled with the task of matching the scale of pay, rank, benefits etc. of military personnel with civilian officers and personnel of the police, para military forces, and the civil service. It has opened a Pandora’s Box causing a lot of heartburn among he military personnel.
Following up on his poll promises, Prime minister Modi on coming to power in 2014 did try to resolve the OROP issue to the best satisfaction of the armed forces retirees.
It was agreed that the gap between past retirees and the current ones will be reviewed every five years, and suitable adjustment will be made to reduce the same.
Arrears were to be paid in four equal installments.
The year 2013 was to taken as the base year for calculation of arrears.
The retired personnel are not fully satisfied yet, and continue to agitate from time to time.
It remains a thorny issue for Mr. Modi.