Even as ex-servicemen’s organisations rejected the official notification for implementing the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, serving officers have expressed concern that the norm on Premature Retirement (PMR) goes against the efforts of the government over the last two decades to lower the age of Commanding Officers and increase promotion rate with more vacancies being created in the process.
The notification issued on Saturday states that personnel opting out of service are not eligible for OROP, which several officers said denies benefits to those opting for PMR. The notification draws distinction between those who have opted for PMR and those who will do so in future.
“Personnel who opt to get discharged henceforth on their own request under Rule 13(3)1(i)(b), 13(3)1(iv) or Rule 16B of the Army Rule 1954 or equivalent Navy or Air Force Rules will not be entitled to the benefits of OROP. It will be effective prospectively,” the government statement said. “We do not know who brought this back. It was earlier clarified by the Prime Minster and Defence Minister,” said Col Anil Kaul, media advisor for Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).
PMR in the armed forces is a way of maintaining a younger profile and creating vacancies for younger personnel. Currently, PMR tenure for jawans and Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) is 15 years and for officers it is 20 years, after which they are eligible for pension.
In 2004, the A.V. Singh committee had looked at ways of lowering the age of Commanding Officers and Brigade Commanders and suggested shorter tenures for seven combat and support arms, including infantry, artillery, armoured, mechanised infantry, engineers and signals. “The notification goes against the very recommendations of the committee. Personnel will now be forced to continue in service, which will affect the morale of the force,” said a senior serving officer.
Veterans said they will go ahead with their plan to return medals on Monday and Tuesday.