11 June 2015
Gandhi, to Tharoor to Thapar to Parrikar to Jetly to Modi has had
his say on the simple but contentious subject of OROP so here is my
two bits worth.
What we cannot
understand is why the Govt. is dithering? Why do they not announce a
date for the award? Is it just a ploy to keep us hanging long enough
to hand over the whole thing to the 7th Pay Commission
thus ensuring a delay of another two years at least? If so it will
be a stab in the back.
Are they waiting to
announce it on 15 August or just before the Bihar elections to
garner ex-servicemen’s votes? There are a large number of ESM in
Bihar! Is it because of babudom’s fear/hatred of the armed forces?
Why should these stupid ESM get so much more? The fact that a well
established principle, which existed in the past was meddled with by
jealous babus, is not relevant.
Whatever it is, it
is time for the Govt. to spell out the real reasons for the delay or
to announce a date for implementation immediately. The ESM are at
the end of their patience and are about to explode.
A little reflection
will show that OROP is a military concept based on our very rigid
rank structure and peculiar to military conditions of early
retirement. It used to exist up to the 80s. It may not be equated
with any other service. It is a fine principle to retire personnel
early to keep the services ‘young’. However, the Govt. cannot wash
its hands of the early retirees.
A little reflection
suggests that if the Govt. had a policy of lateral induction of the
thousands of retiring jawans and officers, it would have a huge
impact on the Defence pension bill, and the ESM could then serve up
to the age of 60 years and OROP may not be necessary at all. But
here again babudom comes in the way. They are unwilling to tackle
the labour laws which may have to be altered. Then again, how can we
allow disciplined and hardworking ESM to enter babudom and upset the
Here it would be
relevant to dwell upon the role and actions of the Service Chiefs.
Surely it is their bounden duty to push the Govt. to announce a date
for the implementation of OROP using their collective clout. Or is
it that they have abdicated their responsibility in this case? They
should be concerned about the low morale of the ESM and its effect
on the morale of the serving personnel. A close your eyes, ears and
mouth policy is not helping at all. To say that it is up to the
Govt. to do it is a shirking of responsibility
Here is something I
received in my mailbox the other day which sums up the frustration
of the ESM:
“A LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER
You have not finalised the definition of OROP?
When you asked me to go to Siachen and fight the enemy there, I
never asked for the definition of enemy of the word fight.
When you asked me to fight the insurgents and terrorists in NE and
J&K, I never asked for definitions.
I never asked you for definitions when you called me to assist you
in natural calamities, be it tsunami, earthquake or floods.
You even called me out to rescue a child from a bore well because
others were incapable of doing even that.
You leaned on me to organize mundane things like games for the
country, because you could not rely on others.
You moved me to the borders when your parliament was under attack
and my son was appearing for his board exams.
I never complained.
Should I have waited for the exams to get over?
Now your minister says no time frame can be given for OROP.
If you could not decide on the definition of OROP for one year, what
can I expect in the next four years?
Mr Prime Minister, I feel let down.
What else can I say?”
So I would like to urge the Govt. to set a date for implementation
of OROP and announce it forthwith