More than 40 ex-servicemen, including five war widows, in Dehradun joined a growing list of retired personnel surrendering their medals in protest against Centre’s no to some of their key demands on One Rank One Pension (OROP).
The United Front of Ex-Servicemen here is preparing to hand over these medals to President Pranab Mukherjee if the Centre doesn’t make amendments to its notification dated November 7, 2015.
The series of medal surrender began after the OROP notification and in response to defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s remarks that not all the demands of the ex-servicemen can be met.
The veterans said the notification defeats the purpose of their demands for OROP.
The notification offers a platform for ‘One Rank, Five Pension’, which means pensions would be revised every 5 years, said Col (retd) PL Prashar. “If the pension is re-fixed in every 5 years, then there will be five pensions every year in a similar rank,” he said.
Ex-servicemen explained that many serving men in uniform will retire in the five-year period and they will continue to get pension more than what their seniors, who retired in the same rank earlier, are drawing.
They also highlighted various other frictions in the notification.
The benefits of the revised pension would be effective from July 7, 2014. But, Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar had promised them they would get the pension from financial year 2013-2014.
Also, equalisation of pension was a matter of concern for the ex-servicemen.
According to the notification, re-fixed pension would be based on average maximum and minimum pension of personnel retired in 2013 in the same rank. But the ex-servicemen demand that the average mean be omitted and a maximum limit of pension be given to all.
Brig (retd) KG Behl said about 60,000 defence personnel retire every year and almost equal number expire every year.
“If equalisation is done after five years, one can imagine the plight of OROP,” he said. “The fixation by taking mean of the year 2013-14 will create problems, as pension will differ from person to person of the same rank and length of service.
The veteran personnel also questioned the notification over arrears, and demanded that the government should make payments in one instalment.
Col (retd) AK Khullar blamed bureaucrats for the problem, saying the government should to take a stand on this before it’s too late.
“We too were Class A officers, though (we are) not commissioned. But, bureaucrats removed us from that level as a result of which we aren’t entitled to the benefits and facilities that they are getting after retirement,” he said.
Brig (retd) Behl also said there was no need to form a committee of a retired judge to resolve problems when a large number of experts are available in the service.