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One Rank One Pension – The Meeting in Mumbai
I left from abroad (Singapore) to OROP samelan of Ex servicemen at Azad Maidan on 31 October 2015 in Mumbai. I am an official, but at the same time I am very concerned about the implementation of OROP (One Rank One Pension). I have a case that is bothering me. One of my Team Leaders now a 90+ year old veteran retired at the age of 48. People will remember that this was the retirement age of Air Force Pilots in the past.
The man was awarded a CAS Commendation and logged thousands of hours as a pilot, but today he is fortunate enough to have the pension he received many years ago. This is heartbreaking that a former soldier has been abandoned by his country..
The Sammelan (Meeting)
Coming to sammelan, there were interesting people. I found that there was dedication and real anger at the governments all these years. Speakers spoke with “josh” and General Satbir Singh delivered a fiery speech, which went well with the guests who came from all over Maharashtra. It was a great sight and one was sure that the Ex Servicemen represented their cause well. Slogans lend air and this made the participants happy.
After listening to all the speeches and comments, I was missing one point. It seems that there was a complete disharmony between the serving men and the former slaves. I was hoping that some of the serving officers would attend because it was not a political meeting, but no one came from the support group: it was as if they were not worried. There is a HQ of the Western Naval Command and a dozen officers in Mumbai, but no one has shown their face. What does it mean?
Some stray thoughts: Black sheep in our ranks
I noticed that the speaker after the speech used to criticize “babus”. Yes, the bulbs (secretaries) are to blame, but to a lesser extent. Let’s be frank that the bulbs would not have had a field day if the top brass of the Army led by the COAS, CNS and CAS did not agree with them. I have many friends in IAS fraternity and I am sure that if the top brass had put their foot down this disaster would not have happened. Yet no speaker seemed to touch on this aspect: the enemy within. Even the political leaders were not affected: perhaps there was a natural fear that they might not like and because of the very little criticism of these black sheep. So by ignoring the political leaders and the main army as the culprits, it was itself an indication that the chaos is working like an ostrich.
Then? Writing long protest articles in national newspapers and holding these meetings will not bring OROP or restore the pride of the Armed Forces, which was badly damaged by Nehru and the party since 1947. What is the way forward? I hope the agitation that has been going on for months will continue and the GOI (Government of India) will approve the reduced OROP. Forget about the restoration of military status as it was in 1947. The need of the hour is to implement two main principles.
a) Involve service people in this mess. Unless the serving chiefs put their foot under the restoration of 1947 status and OROP (One Rank One Pension) will remain a pipe dream.
b) All the turmoil is political and General Satbir (whom I have a lot of respect for) does not know how the government works. It does not work on knowledge and good will, but on politics. So not participating in politics is a mistake.
These are just a few stray thoughts and what I am writing is not the final word on the matter, but as far as I can see the restoration of the 1947 culture and OROP in the old sense will remain a pipe dream. The government has now approved the OROP, but it is flawed and the 1947 position of the officers has not been restored. I am afraid that the COAS (Chief of Army Staff) and other Chiefs of Staff who have not taken action may be a thing of the past.
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