From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : OROP Scheme
Mains level : Pension debate in India
The government told the Supreme Court that paying all dues to 1.6 million army pensioners under the OROP scheme in one go may not be in the nation’s larger interest as it could disrupt allocations for other public purposes.
What is OROP Policy?
- OROP means the same pension, for the same rank, for the same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.
- The concept was provoked by the then decision by Indira Gandhi-led government, in 1973, two years after the historic victory in the 1971 Bangladesh war.
Origin of the debate
- The Rank pay was a scheme implemented by the Rajiv Gandhi-led govt in 1986, in the wake of the 4th Central Pay Commission.
- It reduced the basic pay of seven armed officers’ ranks of 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain, Majors, Lt. Colonel, Colonels, Brigadiers, and their equivalent by fixed amounts designated as rank pay.
- In 2008, Manmohan Singh led Government in the wake of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (6CPC), which discarded the concept of rank-pay.
- Instead, it introduced Grade pay, and Pay bands, which instead of addressing the rank, pay, and pension asymmetries caused by ‘rank pay’ dispensation, reinforced existing asymmetries.
- The present government has accepted the OROP and disbursed some funds for its implementation.
Issues with this pension policy
- The issues, veterans emphasize, are of justice, equity, honor, and national security.
- The failure to address the issue of pay-pension equity, and the underlying issue of honor, is not only an important cause for the OROP protest movement but its escalation.
- The govt has already released Rs. 5500 crores to serve the purpose, but still, there are some grievances from the veterans’ side.
- It refined Pensions for all pensioners retiring in the same rank as the average of the minimum and maximum pensions in 2013.
- The veterans noted governments’ proposal as one rank many pensions since the review of 5 years would lead to differences in pension between senior and a junior.
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