An IDC Analysis

New Delhi, 11 June 2015


Everyone from 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 applecart?

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:


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


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