One Rank, One Pension
Troops cheer, officers feel left out
Tribune News Service
The announcement of a new system in the Union Budget for parity in pensions for defence personnel is welcome news for the troops, but it has left the officer cadre fuming.
Based on the recommendation of a committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary on One Rank One Pension (OROP), the government has decided to “substantially improve” the pensions of other ranks and bridge the gap between pre-2006 and post-2006 retirees. This is expected to cost the exchequer Rs 2,100 crore.
The government’s announcement does not cover officers, and a large number of them have expressed disappointment at being left out. Following the announcement of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, they had protested over what they perceived was a raw deal handed out to them.
The recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission had faced sharp criticism for widening the wedge between personnel who retired before and after January 1, 2006 - the cut off date for the implementation of new scales. While earlier the pensions of PBOR were calculated on the basis of the top of the pay scales, the 6th Pay Commission postulated a calculation at the bottom of scales at par with civilians since one single scale was now brought into force for all ranks from Sepoy to Havildar.
While the actual system of calculation remains hazy, sources say that it will substantially bring down the gap between retirees of various vintages. Ministry of Defence sources point out that the pensions of officers have always been linked to the pension calculation system in vogue for civil employees, whereas, Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR) have traditionally had a separate system in view of their service profile resulting in retirement starting from the age of 33 onwards. Even till 1996, retired PBOR of different eras were drawing almost the same pension, which was however upset by the 6th central pay commission, an anomaly that now stands addressed.