United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM)
(09 Sep) 2015
A meeting of the United Front Ex-Servicemen(UFESM) constituents was held from 1100 hrs to 1300 hrs on 09 Sep 2015 to analyse and discuss the Central Government decision on OROP announced by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar at a press conference in New Delhi on 05 Sep 2015. The following participated:-
Ser No.Name of ESM OrganisationName
- IESL ChandigarhLt Col B S Dhillon
- Air Force Association,DelhiWO P R Balathilaka N
- IESL/IESM Delhi PO Dhani Chand
- Turning Point NoidaCol Karan Kharb
- ESM 505 ABW Delhi CanttH/Nb Sub Rishal Singh
- ESM 505 Delhi CanttNk Rati Ram
- Delhi S K Rana
- HPCol T S Kaundal
- IESL (Hony Treasurer)Col Akhil Sharma
- NEXCC H/TreasurerCpl Vijay Kumar
- HESLLEM(P) Ved Pal Rathee
- Veteran AssociationGp Capt R S Kataria
- Air Force AssociationWO Hari Om Gaur
- Member IESL GurgaonLt Gen O S Lochab
- Member IESL GurgaonMaj Ishwar Singh Jakhar
- ESM 505 ABWNk Jagbir Singh
- IESL/AFASgt Vishnu Dutt Kakani
- NEXCCCPL V N Mishra
19Sanjha MorchaCol CJS Khera
20Sanjha MorchaCapt Khushwant Singh
- RDOA Lt Col B K Sharma
- DIWAVECol H K Handa
- Dish Air Warrior Wel AssJWO J P Mehta
- UP Ex Services League Maj P S Verma
- Patron UPESLCol Kishan Singh
- UP Baghpat IESL Jt SecySub Tej Singh
- IESL Baghpat UPRis Maj Shishpal Singh
- UBBHAV FoundationCpl Bindhyachal Singh
- IESM – Delhi Sigmn D S Sheoran
30Haryana Ex-JCO LeagueSep L S Hooda
- UPESLH/Capt Pratap Singh Rawat
Lt Gen (Retd) Balbir Singh, President Indian Ex-Services League (IESL) explained all the issues –resolved and remaining- in making One Rank One Pension (OROP) a reality. Consequent to the Government decision announced last Saturday, he said, whereas the ESM community is largely satisfied with the government initiative, some contentious issues still remained to be solved and, hopefully, the One –man Committee announced by the Government shall resolve these outstanding issues to the satisfaction of the Ex-Servicemen.
All constituents unanimously thanked the honorable Defence Minister, Prime Minister and the Government for addressing the long pending issue OROP with the seriousness no previous Government had done ever before. Throughout the period of the recent peaceful agitation launched by the UFESM, the Government including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had not only kept their doors open for discussion but also appeared favorably disposed towards safeguarding the genuine interests of the Ex-Servicemen as well as the serving military personnel. The UFESM also thanked the former Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen V P Malik and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar,Principal Secy PMO and others who came forward to mediate and persuade the Government for an early settlement of the OROP issue. The UFESM also thanked the media and many writers, commentators and public figures whop wrote, talked and provided logical rationale to decide the issue from behind the scenes.
The UFESM expressed their concern over the remaining issues:-
(a) PMR (wrongly called ‘VRS’ ) : The last minute insertion of voluntary retirement scheme’ (VRS) has angered the ESM community. This had never figured during discussions between the ESM leaders and Government spanning over last three months. In the already trust-deficit civil-military relationship, the sudden mention of VRS is being seen as a bureaucratic mischief because VRS is not applicable to military personnel. Wherever applicable in the civil services, the person seeking VRS voluntarily foregoes his pension because the ‘scheme’ carries a sumptuous package aimed at encouraging employees to make way for others aspiring to serve longer. Military personnel do seek ‘pre-mature retirement (PMR) but that is only after the concerned Officer/JCO/OR has earned ‘pensionable service’. Such cases are already appropriately covered within the accepted definition of OROP which stipulates ‘length of service’ as a criterion to demand’ equality’. Pensioners coming on PMR have already lost a measure of their pension entitlement because their service length would not be equal to their batch-mates/equivalents superannuating after serving longer and therefore becoming entitled to more pension. Denying OROP benefits to VRS/PMR categories is therefore illogical, high handed and wholly unacceptable.
(b)Five years Equalisation: This Govt proposal defeats the very computing in banks and offices, there is no problem in applying the formulae to equalize pensions every year. Therefore, the UFESM exhorted that the Government must agree to equalizing pensions every year or at least once in two years. Stretching the period of inequality’ beyond two years is not acceptable.
(c) Average of Maximum and Minimum’: As is understood from the press release read out by the honourable Defence Minister at the Press Conference on Saturday, the Government has decided to provide the ‘mean of the maximum and minimum’ of the pension scales as existed during the base year 2013. Year 2013-14 was accepted by the leaders of UFESM with the understanding the top of the pension scales as they existed on 31 Mar 2014 would be applied. The ‘average’ of maximum and minimum scales worked out on the basis of ‘calendar year 2013’ does not make pensions equal and therefore not acceptable.
The meeting also deliberated on a number of other issues and a consensus on the future course of action was evolved as follows:-
(a) Maintaining Apolitical Nature of UFESM: All present endorsed the suggestion made by Lt Gen Balbir Singh that all Ex-Servicemen organizations in the country should maintain high nationalistic credentials free from political of communal influences. IESL is apolitical organinsation and shall not take part in any political activity.
(b) Terms of Ref for One-Man Committee: The UFESM resolved to approach to the Govt to stipulate the accepted definition of OROP as a term of reference for the One-man Committee ordered by the Govt to look into the remaining issues.
(c) Pay Commission : The officially accepted definition of OROP must also be given to the 7th CPC as a term of reference for pension fixation.
(d) Appeal to the Government and Political Parties: Staging protests, agitation, hunger strikes and expressing anguish publicly ethos. Every soldier is deeply imbued with high value systems keeping national interests above all. These values remain ingrained in the character even in retirement. However, not to suffer injustice is also equally ingrained in the military character. The issue of OROP lingering over 42 years had thwarted all peaceful, legal administrative efforts adopted by the ESM individually and organizationally. We pray and hope that the ESM community will not be forced ever again to seek justice through agitation. Every serving soldier sees his future in the Veterans the military pensioners. Their quality of life influences his thinking. Therefore, antigovernment rallies, protests, fasts and public demonstration of their common resentment is not a healthy trend. The UFESM appealed to the Government and all political parties to keep military insulated from politicization and to institutionalize a fair, trustworthy mechanism to ensure regular and smooth flow of justice and welfare towards the ESM and war widows.
(e) No Protest Rally : It was unanimously decided by all reps of the constituent organizations that UFESM should refrain from any further protest rallies and anti government demonstrations until the final executive orders are issued by the Govt. Hopefully the ESM community shall not be required to resort to protests again
Long ago, Chanakya had advised Chandragupta Maurya, “while the citizenry of the State contributes to see that the State prospers and flourishes, the soldier guarantees it continues to EXIST as a State1 To this man, O Rajadhiraja, you owe a debt: plese, therefore, see to it, on your own, that the soldier continuously gets his dues in every form and respect, be they his needs or his wants for he is not likely to ask for them himself.”
Then Kautilya, known also as Chanakya gave his king this blunt warning: ‘The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be king.
K S Yadav
Gen Secy IESL