Published On: Mon, Sep 7th, 2015

Premature retirement cases on voluntary basis to be excluded from OROP

New Delhi: The government is expected to closely consider whether the “clarification” the Defence Ministry will issue on One Rank One Pension (OROP) benefits should exclude personnel taking premature retirement on a purely voluntary basis while including those who left service due to injury or for being declared otherwise unfit to continue in the armed forces.

Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar

Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar

As the government gets down to resolving the complex nitty-gritty of OROP, the argument under the scanner is whether personnel who opt for premature retirement on their own can claim that the principle of same pension for same rank applies to them as compared to those who either completed their entire tenure or left involuntarily.

The argument advanced by a section of ex-servicemen that many opt for early retirement as they do not see much scope for promotion in the armed forces is not seen to be convincing as the terms of employment are well set and understood at the time of enrollment. Also, many such retirees usually leave the forces to seek re-employment elsewhere.

While officers may choose to opt out, the government does incur considerable expense on their training while in service, and these sums are not trivial. In fact, the skills so gained are an important factor in making retired defence personnel eligible for employment outside the forces. To a varying degree, personnel from all services are employable outside.

The underlying principle of OROP, that armed forces personnel retire early and get smaller pensions in comparison to other government employees who work for longer years, falls flat in the case of those who choose to opt out and also find re-employment.

It is not the case that such personnel do not draw benefits as they will continue to receive existing pensions. But what is seen to require much closer examination is whether they are eligible for enhanced benefits under OROP.

Inputs with TNN

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