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Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Rank One pension is Like Elusive Holy Grail

The Holy Grail is a great myth in Christianity. it refer to a goblet that was used during the last supper before Jesus was crucified. There are many tales of searching for this grail, but nobody has ever found it.

Three decades back the demand of ex-servicemen took shape for One Rank One Pension. 3 decades is a long time, but the government was not ready to accede to the demand. The demand was legitimate, but the political masters thought that firstly it would upset the budget and secondly not palatable to the other services. In any case they were aware that the forces are headed by some spineless men were not expected to rock the boat.

I will further digress and say that in this entire scenario the role of the Air Force Chief and the Navy chief is minimal as it is only the army chief who heads the most organized  force in India. The political bosses simply gave short shrift to the men in uniform
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I will relate an example here. In the eighties the government sanctioned additional DA for central Government employees in the East part of India. Overnight the civilians began to draw the additional DA, but the man in uniform was not sanctioned. It was some 2/3 years later that the government relented and made the DA applicable to the soldier. I recollect that at that time the Air Chief was Air Chief Marshal Dilbagh Singh and he on a visit to Shillong, the headquarters of the Eastern Command expressed his helplessness in the matter. This example is just to show that the army top brass led by the COAS has virtually no say in any matter.

The present COAS in an address to almost 17000 ex-servicemen announced that OROP is sanctioned. This was just about a month back. But so many deadlines have passed and the BJP government is in saddle for over a year, but yet OROP letter is not issued. Frankly depite some lollipop news the actual letter signing may be some months away.

The ex-serviceman's association led by General Satbir  Singh has done a great job, but all credit must still go to Narendra Modi. Yet the fact is that despite the OK from Modi the OROP GOI letter is nowhere under issue. One  wonders what is the  hold up? it just shows the callous attitude of a civilian government ungrateful to the soldier and the force that holds India together. If there had been a realization they would have sanctioned OROP 2 decades back.