Earlier in Forum






Q: Should there be “one rank, one pension” for defence personnel?
This is the first instalment of readers’ response

Implement defence panel’s suggestions

A high-level expert group on this issue, constituted by the government, had recommended the setting up of an independent development and regulatory authority to address the limitations of the current, rather fragmented, pension system. Reviewing international experience, the report examines the pension situation in India and recommends designing a new pension scheme.

Strongly favouring the demand of “one rank, one pension” for the armed forces personnel, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in its 20th report tabled in both Houses of Parliament, has urged the Inter-Ministerial Committee, set up by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, to examine the issue and complete the task speedily.

Declaring that the nation must repay its debt to the saviours of the motherland, the committee, chaired by Mr Madan Lal Khurana, drew the attention of the government to the plight of some ex-servicemen who were struggling to survive on a paltry pension and asked it to re-examine the two schemes that had earlier been rejected.

The committee also strongly recommended that the weightage given to various categories of retired defence service personnel should be reviewed, so as to give the full benefit to the personnel of the lower ranks who retire early. The committee recommended that the condition of 33 years of service to get full pension at 50 per cent of the last pay drawn for the past 10 months should be reviewed in respect of armed forces personnel who serve under adverse conditions and in an inhospitable environment throughout their career.

The committee called for giving ex-servicemen insurance cover until death irrespective of their ranks and for reservations for wards of servicemen in professional institutions. All that has been done at the level of various committees, but it has not found implementation so far. No one knows for sure whether one rank, one pension is warranted, or would be sanctioned at all.

Wg-Cdr T. L. BHARDWAJ, (retd), Chandigarh

Problem lies in terms and conditions

The issue of one rank-one pension (OROP) for ex-servicemen has come to the fore once again. The champions of the cause are generally those who held senior positions in the Army prior to their retirement. The rationale behind the OROP is undisputed. However, the manner is which it is being demanded amounts to begging. Pleading with the government with a single-track demand, that too frequently, shows the ex-servicemen fraternity in a bad light.

The genesis of the problem lies in the terms and conditions of recruitment, which forestall uniformed men to complete the requisite 33 years of service to earn full pension. Additionally, pay scales and pensions are promotion and rank-based. Consequent to the peculiar rank structure, most men and officers in the Army do not reach the level of pay scales equivalent to their counterparts in the civil side. These reasons attribute to earning comparatively far too less pension by those in uniform. These reasons are beyond the control of the affected individuals and warrant no explanation.

The only solution to the problem is either by lateral move of service personnel to civil paramilitary forces at the appropriate time to enable them to complete the mandatory 33 years of service or by granting higher pension on completion of their currently stipulated period of engagement.

SORABB, Boston (USA)

Reward selfless service

Indian Army personnel are known for their gallantry and selfless service for the nation. Army personnel serve the country in the prime of their live. After retirement, pension is their only support. Once they leave the service, a new war starts for those who retire from lower ranks. If the Indian government activates the scheme of one rank one pension, all ex-servicemen can have a better life.


Undo the injustice

Be it a war or natural calamities, our armed forces always the first to come forward to help the affected people. Is it not injustice that the ones who served the country during the prime of their lives are getting a meagre pension for their efforts? Their genuine demand of one rank, one pension should be implemented at the earliest, so that they can lead respectable lives.

GULDEV SINGH, Ex-CPO Navy, Pathankot

Accept genuine demand

Our country is duty bound to pay due regards to the services rendered by the ex-servicemen in order to help them maintain their honour and dignity. They sacrifice their today for our tomorrow, so why we cannot accept a genuine demand of theirs? They serve under tough conditions without caring for their lives or for their families’ welfare. For them, honour, freedom and reputation of the country always come first. Today, the young are no longer interested in joining the armed forces, as they see no social security, dignity and pride once they retire. Therefore, the nation has to sincerely ensure the wellbeing of these brave men once they retire from service. One rank, one pension should be implemented without further delay, so that our men in uniform have a better life.

G. S. BHULLAR, Jalandhar Cantt


The commitment of the ex-servicemen’s fraternity to uphold the integrity and honour of our country remains undiminished as they remain prepared to respond to any call for national service. More than three decades have passed since the Supreme Court found that the requirement of one rank, one pension for defence personnel is a legitimate need.

Successive governments have been reluctant to entertain this demand and nothing has been done so far. During the NDA government at the Centre, the Chairman of the erstwhile Standing Parliamentary Committee on Defence had announced that the demand for one rank, one pension for defence personnel had been accepted. The Congress-led alliance has followed that government, however, the matter is still unresolved.

Col J.S. CHANDEL, (retd) VSM, Bilaspur

Provide better facilities

There should certainly be the one rank, one pension policy for defence personnel because they are the ones who safeguard our borders by sacrificing their lives. The amount of pension should be determined in accordance with the rank and it should be in an ascending order. The amount of pension for each rank should be substantial. The government should also provide better facilities to their families for providing yeomen service to the country.


Follow the principle of equity

One rank, one pension is a just demand of our ex-servicemen, which needs to be met immediately. Our forces are highly professional and the personnel invest the best years of their life safeguarding our territorial integrity and are the first to come reach the people during natural disasters and national calamities.

They are entitled to an honourable life after discharge from the armed forces. It is indeed sad that an officer, who has retired after 2000 gets more than three times the pension earned by an officer of the same rank who retired before 1980.

Our armed forces personnel have made heroic sacrifices in the three wars against Pakistan as well as the war against China. The principles of equity and justice demand they be accorded the same respect and recognition as armed forces personnel retiring now by immediately implementing the one rank, one pension demand.



The services rendered by defence personnel cannot be underrated. A great deal of sacrifices goes into making a career in the armed forces. There should not be any discrimination regarding the emoluments due to the defence personnel post-retirement. The demand of one rank, one pension should be implemented without further delay. There should not be any discrimination amongst equal rank personnel; otherwise it will affect the morale of our forces. The inter-department and intra-department equality should be maintained in letter and spirit.

RAJIV BHALLA, Chandigarh


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