The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 26 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soldiers let down by new pension plan
Veterans write to PM

New Delhi, Sept. 25: Serving and retired military officers were today working out the impact of the government’s claim that it has substantially hiked pensions but were left mostly feeling short-changed.

The impact on an individual officer’s pay and allowances was still being calculated because the government has said the cabinet sops announced on Monday will not be with retrospective effect.

The main demand of the armed forces has been “one rank one pension” (OROP) — meaning the same amount of pension for veterans who retired at the same rank irrespective of the time-span in which they have served.

Military personnel are peeved that a committee of secretaries, appointed by the Prime Minister before the cabinet announcement, did not include a representative of the armed forces despite pleas from service chiefs.

Major General (retired) Satbir Singh, the vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, the forum of veterans, wrote to the Prime Minister on “misleading announcement by the government” on OROP.

The government’s announcement was met with a lot of relief, said Singh. “However, this sense of relief was shortlived and the details of the decision unfolded and our fears have come true.” He said the government had not accepted the definition of OROP as stated by military personnel.

He wrote that personnel who retired below officer rank, such as a sepoy, a naik and havildar, had been given an increase of only Rs 400 per month. A sepoy who retired before 2006 would still draw a pension Rs 4,000 less than a soldier of the same rank who retires in December this year.

“This, we feel, is primarily due to non-inclusion of members from defence personnel in the committee headed by the cabinet secretary, a request which the three chiefs made to the defence minister but was not accepted,” Singh wrote.