Military no longer the prime career choice, says former chief V P Malik

| Updated: Nov 05, 2016 17:49 IST

Cancona (Goa) [India], Nov.5 (ANI): Amid the ongoing debate over the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP), former Chief of Army Staff General (Retired) Ved Prakash Malik said the military is no longer the prime career choice today. Elaborating, he said that throughout his years of service in the army, he always believed that the man behind the gun is more important and that the government should look after him. He added that he was talking about what the government sometimes gives, but also about what hurts him, which is the manner in which it is given to the nation's soldiers. He was referring to the debate over the One Rank One Pension (OROP), or "same pension, for same rank, for same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement", which has been a longstanding demand of the Indian armed forces and its veterans. The demand for pay-pension equity, which underlies the OROP concept, was provoked by the ex-parte decision by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government, in 1973, two years after the historic victory in the 1971 Bangladesh war, and shortly after Field Marshal S H F J Manekshaw retired, to decrease armed forces pensions by 20-40 percent, and increase civilian pensions by 20 percent, without consultation with armed forces headquarters. In 1986, the sense of unease and distrust prompted by the Third Central Pay Commission (CPC) was exacerbated by the Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to implements Rank Pay, which reduced the basic pay of captains, majors, Lt. Colonel, Colonels, and Brigadiers, and their equivalent in the air-force, and the navy, relative to basic pay scales of civilian and police officers. The decision to reduce the basic pay of these ranks, implemented without consulting the armed forces, created radically asymmetries between police-military ranks, affected the pay, and pension of ten of thousands of officers and veterans, spawned two decades of contentious litigation by veterans. It has become a lingering cause of distrust between the armed forces veterans and the defence ministry. In 2008, the UPA government discarded the concept of rank-pay. Instead it introduced grade pay, and pay bands, which instead of addressing the rank, pay, and pension asymmetries caused by 'rank pay' dispensation, reinforced existing asymmetries. The debasing of armed forces ranks was accompanied by decision in 2008 to create hundreds of new posts of secretaries, special Secretaries, director general of police (DGP) at the apex grade pay level to ensure that all civilian and police officers, including defence civilian officers, retire at the highest pay grade with the apex pay grade pensions with OROP. (ANI)