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First The OROP, Now The 7th Pay Commission, When Will The Armed Forces Get Their Due?

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By Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary

I wasn’t a keen follower of the OROP initially to be very honest, and stood at a moral ground of the rational apathetic until September. This is ironic because all the men in my family have served in the army and today I stand as a proud beneficiary of the same institution.

maitri dore one rank one pension indian army
Illustration by Maitri Dore

Why OROP Makes Sense

I remember as I enjoyed my rickshaw ride to the Ministry of External Affairs one day, the rickshaw puller got lost and took me to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the way to which crossed the Jantar Mantar. Being from Chandigarh, I had heard and read quite a lot about its significance and historical importance and how the monument till date stands for progressive thinking and an outlook towards a better future. Right in front and around the monument, I saw retired officers and soldiers, both old and young sweating yet standing tall, fighting for the rights of every man who pledges to serve our nation. There were so many of them with placards, many of their wives and children were present too, it was scorching hot and I wished that they’d be more comfortable, but then their resilience to their cause was a big enough reason for them to endure the roasting weather.

But my empathy, was interrupted with the thought that, those weren’t just ‘any men’ who’d crib at the slightest instance of being uncomfortable but rather those were the men some of who had served at the most severe temperatures, ranging from that at the Siachen Glacier to the dreary sands of the Thar desert to defend our country from forces, committed to ruffle the peace of it.

That was my moment of awakening and I developed a penchant towards the cause.

The demands were simple, One Rank One Pension, irrespective of one’s tenure, for a country that’s GDP has gone up in the recent past and a country where crores are embezzled over building states structures, it wasn’t an unfair cause, which the Indian soldiers were fighting for. In fact, the quest for implementing the OROP started with the promises that were made by the Government at power, before being elected. So the soldiers were just asking their due, in fact, their right that originated from the assurances given by the elected party at the centre.

But we have seen, how their commitment has been at a dilly-dally stance, where they have agreed to implement it but wouldn’t extend the provisions of the same to the officers who take premature retirement after 2013. Thus leaving the positive benefits of the wholesome implementation of the scheme in a limbo.

The Reality Of The 7th Pay Commission

Now let’s move on to the 7th Pay Commission, which to a layman would serve as an evidence of the fact that the government is doing way too much for the Indian Armed Forces. But I wish that was true. The Seventh Pay commission is a counter-incentive in the garb of a perfectly drafted report, providing the Indian Armed Forces with everything that they could ever imagine.

But this is far from true, to start with the Seventh Pay Commission has cancelled free ration in peace areas.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, the actual deal is this, the hardship allowance of an army officer has been fixed lower than that of a civil servant, which has always been the case. So if an army officer is posted in Siachen glacier, the highest battlefield of the world his hardship allowance would be 31,500 vis a vis an IAS officer’s hardship allowance which shall be around 70,000 for being in Jammu, which is a full-fledged area.

This has irked many in the forces, who expected a bridge of parity to be brought between civil servants and the forces. But because this inequality is perpetually maintained, it goes on to show how the ‘lal batti‘ is favoured more than the olive green uniform. In fact the 7th CPC’s bombshell recommendation, tucked away on Page 151, is that this relative advantage enjoyed by the IAS/IFS should be extended to the IPS and the Indian Forest Services, leaving the military out in the cold. Effectively, IAS, IPS and IFoS officers will get six additional increments by the time they complete 13 years of service. The military gets nothing, apparently in the continuing belief that its functions are not as complex, difficult and critical as the other four All India Services.

Paramilitary troopers stand guard during the funeral procession of Shwetang Patel in Ahmedabad, India, August 30, 2015. An Indian court in Gujarat state ordered crime investigators on Friday to investigate the death of 32-year old Patel, who allegedly died in police custody after he was taken away by the police during a protest. According to family members, Patel was picked up by police from his home in Bapunagar area after violence broke out in the state following a mammoth rally by the powerful Patel community seeking reserved jobs and education places.   REUTERS/Amit Dave - RTX1Q8Z1
Image source: REUTERS/Amit Dave

Maximum Risk, Minimum Gain

To many, the demands of the army officers have been irrational, some have called them greedy, but I ask you, would you ever do anything, anything at all if it required maximum risk and minimal gain? The businessmen might point the flaw in that question and state, “maximum risk goes with maximum gain.”

Now, what is this risk these army men withstand? Because to many, all they do is create destruction and go on raping women and misusing AFSPA.

I won’t spin yarns of praises of this institution because I have always felt that the working of the Indian Armed Forces was flawed at certain areas. But if there is anything at all for which the State is unprepared, be it the ghastly 26/11 attacks, or Prince slipping in a manhole or the floods that hit any State of our nation, or even relief operations, it is the army that is contacted. This is the same army, whose one-day salary is compulsorily cut if there are floods in Kashmir or an earthquake in Nepal.

They too wish that aman and shanti (peace and harmony) could exist and they too yearn that everyone got their own due and that everyone gets whatever they want.

For all that they do, I think they should be the highest paid, men should get incentives to join the armed forces. The number should go up and not come down. It is these men, whose due needs to be given and it is these men who are ensuring that you’re safely reading this.

Here is a glimpse of the protests that took place earlier this year at Jantar Mantar: In Pictures: Beyond The News, The Soldiers And Their Continued Protest At Jantar Mantar

You must be to comment.
  1. Ashok Wadhwa

    Very rightly pointed out by a civilian 'Deshbhakat', The BJP and its cronies have taken the forces for a ride. Let me assure him that the BLP has pressed 'Self-destruction' button by fooling the guardians and ex-guardians of this mighty nation. No country treats its soldiers as shabbily as ours and this is going to rebound in a mighty way. The wrath of the soldiers will surely wreak havoc on this deceitful party and the govt.

  2. Basant Kumar

    well written sir, But the things and the issues are not reaching to the AAM public as all these netas are making fools of the countrymen. But by making fools of Faujis will throw adverse effect on the country as nowadays “No youngster” is ready to join Armed Forces. The Armed Forces facing shortage of thousands officers, and those serving are ready to be retired. the sutpid politicians are not aware and even they are not able to think what will happen when Armed Forces will not be there. Where these rascal Bureaucrats will go? if the situation remains same for next few years again this country will be (Gulaam) and also these netas and Babus. Playing will the future and present of Armed Forces personnel is directly playing with the future and existence of Country. the BJP led Govt is bringing the country to destruction and burring the existence of India. They are the dirty culprits who are going to drag out this country out of the Map of world. Shame on such netas and babus.

  3. sunil

    Soldier shall get Rs 5200/- Military Service Pay ,however Officers shall get Rs 15500/- .7th CPC has differentiated divided the sacrifice also.

    1. Kanu

      Tell me one, just one government or private job, military or non-military job anywhere in the world where officers and subordinates are paid equal!

  4. Dinkush

    Writer has not fully understood the problems of a soldier. For example the siachen allowance of a defence officer is compared with that of the hardship allowance of IAS. Considering the fact that 7th CPC has iterated that the siachen allowance should not be lesser than any other hardship allowance. So why not to compare it with a Jawan's allowance which is far lesser than that of an officer?

    1. Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary

      I wouldn't mind comparing a Jawan's allowance to that of an officer's because I personally feel that even they should get their due. But this article is solely about the Army as an organisation versus other forces of the society. Even though the 7th Pay Commission has mentioned it, but it hasn't implemented its observation.
      Jawan's shouldn't be discriminated against, maybe something like that can be covered in an another article.

  5. jaggy

    very well analysed by the young manand well thought provoking article.let all aampublic reads it and realise how the govt has betrayed the armed forces deftly in consonance with self serving babus.It is high time they should realise no country can ever prosper without due respect and regards to his armed forces.our higher leaders in armed forces should strongly take up all such issues and defeat the nefarious design of greedy and shameful babus in the corridor of power before its get too late.The enemy of the country is within not outside.

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