What has started as a singleton movement (about three decades ago) with minimal voices has slowly transgressed into a fight for our ‘Real Heroes’ of life. A true son of a soil toils hard in the farmland to give us food and other one protects us from sleepless nights whilst he braves the odd and un-humanitarian conditions and thick and thin of weather.
The fight for One Rank One Pension is taking a toll on the moral of the serving soldiers and they can rightly comprehend the real treatment they would be subjected to as and when he is retired, overall the morale of our defence forces have thus been eroded, what they can look up to after serving the nation in hostile enemy conditions? Their needless fight for economic stability has made these ‘Heroes’ to again fight with the internal enemy of various Governmental protocols and procedures.
The veterans have been successfully able to put forward their point amongst the baritones of all political parties but have only been subjected to verbal confessions and nothing concrete has come out of the various levels of talks with the Government. The Modi Government vociferously announced the implementation of One Rank One Pension to our soldiers within a limited timeframe but the recent confusion amongst its own party men have lead to a more complex outcome of this issue.
The Defence Minister Mr Manohar Parriker have given confronting statements on the issue that has not gone well with our war veterans. Also, the dillydally has lead to more confusion and leads us to believe the hidden intentions of the incumbent government.
Our Prime Minister Independence day speech on 15th August too had also lead the monster of ‘not doing anything’ out of the box ( The just before 15 August treatment meted out to our service personal by Delhi Police by trying to forcefully evict the silent protesting veterans should be severely condemned). After one and half years of running the government, not able to resolve the concerns of our age old soldier has lead to a confrontationist stand. Mere visiting Siachen on festivals and other verbose won’t fructify the real stance which is the need of the day. The recent Rs 1.5 Lac crores developments ‘Election Gift’ to Bihar has also added fuel to fire. This is in stark contrast to the demand of Rs 8500 crores which would cost the exchequer to implement the decades old demands of the Armed forces personal. The announcement of OROP can also measure the political commitment of the incumbent government and thus can be converted into a true electoral allegiance by our Armed forces vote bank (starting with Bihar polls which are just round the corner).
The previous Congress government can be equally be castrated on issue by not implementing the OROP demand which has lead this to such proportions. Let’s not forget that OROP pension scheme was already implementable till 1973 before Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, under the recommendations of the ‘Third Pay Commission’ discontinued the coveted scheme. This has ever since lead to differential rounds of protests amongst our services personnel. In 2012, the Congress government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet cleared Rs 2,300 Crore OROP package to implement the long standing demand of service personnel, but the veterans contradicted that the amount released is quite meager and does not quite fit well, We need to remember here that we are talking of 4.5 million retired personal who have sacrificed quality time with their family and it is that compensation which they seek, adding their families, the figure takes magnificent proportions.
As per our services recruitment structure, most of the low level cadre service personal seeks retirement or otherwise get retired at the middle age of 35-40. They lack the kind of trainings and other expertise needed to adapt to civilian life and thus have to start afresh without much Governmental support, their pensions have not correctly marked in tandem with the economy. Also adding to the malaise is the unsupportive nature of the Private sector, which shuts its door to such labour force sighting inadequate expertise. It is thus very essential to partake this exercise of OROP to give some sort of cushioning to our new civilian brigade.
With the fight getting murkier (as of now three retired service personnel have joined to ‘Fast Until Death’), the three decade long standing demand for our Armed forces would be a choice which the government would not be able to resist and thus would have to thus reel under pressure and take into consideration drastic steps to pacify the dwindling morale of not only our Armed forces but also the serving civil class, who now desist to send their sons and daughters for such a distinguished career as it was once.
By Sanjeev Jaggi