New Turn in OROP-3 : Govt Authority Expressed in Meeting

OROP -3 is due from July 2024 and Govt authority has finally expressed their views and activities on this matter. A detailed report in this regard has been shared by the Hon’ble President, IESL is reproduced here for information of the veterans and family pensioners of Indian Armed Forces.

On 4th July 2024, Brig Inder Mohan Singh (Retd), President, IESL  got the message that the CDS, Gen Anil Chauhan would be meeting the representatives of ESM organisations at 2 PM on 5 July. Accordingly, the President, IESL attended the meeting. The meeting was at DIAV HQ in Delhi Cantt. 

Before attending the meeting with CDS, Hon’b;e President, IESL, Brig Singh (Retd) attended another meeting on OROP and other issues held with Secy, KSB on 3rd July 24.  Firstly we would have a look at the details of the outcome of that meeting.

Brig Inder Mohan Singh (Retd) was called by the Secretary Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) for a meeting on 3 Jun 24 at  10.30 AM. He was briefed that the Govt will be announcing the Second Revision of OROP post the Cabinet Meeting scheduled that evening. IESL was to convey it’s gratitude on behalf of the Veterans. What better news than this he thought to be conveyed. For this, the media would come to the IESL Office in Chanakyapuri in the evening. 

Brig Singh narrated the issue that “Between 4 PM and 8 PM on 03 Jul media teams from MoD PR, PTI, Doordarshan and ANI came to our office. Since I wanted a few others to be part of the event I called two more fauji friends so that it gives a better picture. We expected the news of OROP to be telecast around 8 PM. Having had a hectic day along with the two friends we met at the DSOI to celebrate the announcement. Nothing came. No problem. We celebrated. 

The next morning, 04 Jul I was told by one of our staff that there is a serious flaw in the tables and hence OROP not announced. I posted this news in some of the groups. This was not true. I was to return back to Ludhiana on 4th evening.”

Details of Meeting with CDS on 5th July 2024 on OROP and other issues

The CDS arrived on time. He spoke on the following issues. 

1. Agniveers. He said a wrong perception about Agniveers is being spread. He’d met them at training centres and in units and they were happy with the terms and conditions of their employment. The govt was planning to undertake some corrective steps and we should wait for some time. He asked Veterans not to criticize the scheme and see it from larger perspective. 

2. Reforms and Theatre-isation. This he said is his main role and progress is being made in this. He said again there’ll be some negative views and criticism but this is the need for our defence forces. Not for Veterans to comment I thought. 

3. OROP. The CDS stated that as per the policy the govt will implement the second revision and about Rs 6700 crores will go towards this. He gave comparisons of how much new equipment like submarines, aircraft and space assets etc would cost. 

4. SPARSH. He accepted there have been problems in implementing SPARSH but with help from TCS, hopefully the problems will be resolved in the next three months. 

Coming to questions from the audience, a lady spoke on Agniveer issues. Then it was the turn of Brig Singh and the entire conversation as narrated by him is reproduced here :-. 

5. Agniveer Issue.  I conveyed to the CDS that former Army Chief Naravane called it “bolt from the blue” and Naval Chief Karambir Singh made a statement about savings on pensions. I said this is going to be a huge problem for the effecient functioning of the defence forces but since it doesn’t affect us  today I will give my views on the subject subsequently. I conveyed IESL can resolve their post release employment and income generation better than DGR etc. Let the time come. 

6. OROP. I reminded the CDS that over a year back along with one of our VP I met him and suggested that there are anomalies in pension of practically all the ranks and only meetings of reps of PCDA Pensions, Service Hq and Veteran organisations can resolve it. But you turned down my  suggestion. Capts with 12 years service in this rank, mainly RCOs  getting the same pension as an Hony Capt with 6 days holding of rank, 26 Jan to 31 Jan. Older majors who left after 20 years are getting pension of 12 years because there’s no major beyond 13 years today. Similar problems with other officers ranks and also in lower ranks. I said now more anomalies will come up. I addressed the Secy ESW sitting next to the CDS till we have these meetings nothing will be resolved. In the end I couldn’t resist saying that our friends in service have told us the PCDA doesn’t even answer our queries you can forget about everything. 

Finally about OROP I asked the CDS has it been announced? He turned to the Secy ESW. He too had no answer. Then addressing the Secy I said Sir if you are not aware and we were  asked to convey thanks to the govt on 3 July then something is seriously wrong. He said the I&B ministry was to announce it. Hasn’t it been announced he asked. Now this is how our govt works. Then I couldn’t stop myself from saying that sadly the Secy ESW is probably not important for the govt. A budget of about 700 crore, mostly from CSR for running KSB, RSB and ZSB. Finally I said 6700 crores have been alloted for OROP. Is it based on calculations or the tables have to be prepared within this budget? I don’t need to say more at this stage except for all of you to ponder how the  system works. It’s putting the cart before the horse. Rightfully thanks expected from Veterans for which we were ready, allotment of budget done but no tables and no OROP announcement. And let me say that PCDA Pensions has not yet prepared the tables. 

7. On SPARSH.  I conveyed that when SPARSH was announced one of the prime reasons given was govt will save about Rs 250 crore being paid to banks for disbursal of pensions. I asked have we saved this amount? Firstly most pensions are with PSBs and income accruing to these banks comes to the govt. Second we would have paid TCS and now 300 or 400 SPARSH  centres are being set up. Are they free of cost? Plus we got problems. He said it’ll be resolved in the next three months. 

8. Finally I said IESL was the oldest organisation founded by Gens Cariappa and Thimayya in 1964. Till date we have not got a single  rupee from any service hq and MoD. I said everyone is out to condemn colonialism in any which way. The former Naval Chief wants Navy to wear Kurta Pyjamas. I forcefully said IESL is indebted to the British Ex Services League. They paid pensions to all Indians who served in the British Forces till 1946 and were not eligible for pension. The Indian govt absolved itself from this responsibility. They didn’t get pensions because they were thrown out after Independence. The British League paid for our office expenditure for organising this disbursal of pensions. Our office vehicle is from them. They paid Rs 180000 for our building in 1970. And five years back the GoI stopped our FCRA registration. About 1000 or so 1946 era Veterans or their widows were still living. Even today someone from Hisar called me asking “meri dadi ki pension bahut din se nahin aa rahi”. Told him govt stopped it. Which govt he asked. The present govt I replied. 

Then I asked the CDS why  two more Veteran organisations have been granted official recognition in the past few years by the present govt. Is it to weaken IESL or create a divide within the ESM fraternity. Told him everyone is fully aware why these organisations have been propped up by the Govt. I said Air Force had only one organisation, AFA, accorded approval by the Govt. Then there is DIWAVE for war wounded Veterans. Till recent years only these two and IESL were recognised by the Govt. And IESL has by an Act of Parliament in 1982 been accorded the  status of Apex Organization of ESM. CDS said this is in the domain of the govt. 

In the end I told the CDS whichever case has been taken by any ESM organisation or individual to the court has been decided in their favour. IESL has not taken up any case against the govt in the past 60 years. But we are under  pressure. We had no choice but to start the OROP agitation in 2015. I requested that please resolve the anomalies and we don’t want IESL to take these cases to the courts. 

I also conveyed to the CDS that IESL has decided that  since no financial help will come from the govt, we have embarked upon the path of commercial activities to help Veterans earn better and we’ll do it better than DGR which is as much tied up in knots as any govt organisation. 

In the tea at the end of the meeting I told the CDS that I commanded 114 Inf Bde from 2001 to 2003. It was the most neglected bde of the Indian Army looking after Eastern Ladakh. One bde looking after 500 km. My gross salary then was about 38000. Rs 3500 was High Altitude Allowance. Today a jawan gets Rs 35000 HAA allowance. And from 2000 troops it’s over 60000 now plus 500 tanks and Inf Combat Vehicles.  That’s why Agniveers created. He said it’s the hottest brigade now. I said to myself why didn’t the Chinese do it then? I too would have been in the limelight and maybe one or two more ranks.  But in hindsight good. 2000 troops of 114 Inf Bde kept the Chinese  away. It was then that not an inch of land lost. Not as we say now. 

Air Marshall Jagjeet Singh brought out the problem of resolving pension anomalies. He said it took 21 years for pension of former Chief ACM Sarin to be resolved. Every month hundreds of cases are coming to AFA to resolve SPARSH problems. 

A Short Service officer rightfully projected the problems of SS officers. No pension after 5 to 14 years service. ECHS problems. 

Capt Mahajan brought out the problems of War Disabled and how the govt has gone back on it’s own decisions. 

My request to Veterans  across the country. Please strengthen the hands of IESL by becoming it’s member. It’s one life time cost of Rs 200, 300 and 500 for NCOs, JCOs and Officers respectively. We have four  rooms for your use at the  cheapest rates in Delhi. Let me assure the Veterans that I will spare no effort to live upto the ideals of Gen KM Cariappa and Gen KS Thimayya and helping the Veterans in every which way. All Veterans are welcome to meet me at our office; 9 Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. I’m there for three days atleast thrice a month. I need your ideas and contacts to move forward. I’ll be posting the online membership application once again through the social media.”

Jai Hind,

Brig Inder Mohan Singh (Retd), President, IESL

Information credit : Brig Inder Mohan Singh (Retd), President, IESL.

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