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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Silence on One Rank One Pension is Ominous

One Rank One Pension(OROP) has been on the agenda of the ex-service men for well nigh 3 decades. At long last there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but is it an illusion like the proverbial lights that float around an Indian graveyard ? One is aware that in an Indian or Hindu crematorium  when the wind blows strongly the phosphorus of the burnt bones flies in the wind and creates a sensation of lights. People who watch this sometimes feel its the work of spirits, while in fact it is a natural phenomena  and an illusion is created.

I am constrained to note that OROP is perhaps in a similar stage like the lights in the graveyard  and despite tremendous work by General Satbir Singh and his able colleagues the sanction letter which should have been issued by the Modi government has not seen the light of the day. This does appear inexcusable and one can have a lurking feeling that all this may finally just become a non -starter. After all the demand  has been there for decades and many Army COAS have come and gone and some have even joined the ruling party, but the proverbial letter never came to being issued.

The fact is the political leadership be it Congress or BJP have a different agenda. What is that agenda?   It is to just win the next election  and attend to those measures that can bring votes on a  vast scale. The poor serviceman, does not figure in the scheme of things. This is nothing new and is part of our history right from the day when Jawharlal Nehru was Prime Minister from 1947 onwards. That day onwards the forces became low in the priority of the government and Congress party.

The BJP is part of the scenario and one cannot forget that Atal Bihari Vajpayee a BJP leader was Prime Minister of India right from 1998-2004. Yet he did nothing and then followed 10 years of Congress party led rule, where again nothing was done. The entire political exercise was as I have said , is with a view to win the election. Make a promise and then conveniently forget it. This is called selective amnesia and both the BJP and Congress are guilty of it.

There are many reasons for this apathy towards the services and the least of it is not the attitude and tail wagging by the general staff. These men failed to exert themselves and allowed them to go along with the drift of government policy. I think India must be the only country in the world where the veterans  have to face odds weighted against them by a ministry that construes them as alien. One cannot count the countless times the Ministry of defense has gone to court against its own soldiers. It's a record that can make a sensible man hang his head in shame, but not the ministry mandarins and their political bosses.  All said and done it's the political bosses who formulate the policy and then ask the civil servants to follow up.

 This does sound pessimistic, but maybe something good will finally come. I cant be sure, but  now resentment is at its peak and any more delay by the government on OROP, may well lead to a dire state. The government should not forget, that it is the army that is keeping India united and not the IAS fraternity. Remove the army from Kashmir and the North East and then see what happens. Modi is a prudent man and one hopes he will bite the bullet. Frankly there is no choice.