Earlier in Forum






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

Things will get complicated

The idea of one rank one pension was mooted by the late Deputy PM Devi Lal with his vote bank in mind; since then, the issue hangs on. Though with the implementation the recommendations of the Fourth and Fifth Pay Commissions, the pension of the defence people has jumped to nearly what they want, if this is implemented in toto, it will lead to further complications. Then, all the railway pensioners, who are 15 lakh in strength, and all others would demand fully parity in pension as on January 1, 1996, which the government has been delaying. Moreover, the lower ranks in defence enjoy the maximum period of pension, having retired earlier than civil and railway pensioners. If at all the government implements one rank one pension, it should bring full parity to other pensioners as on January 1, 1996.



In defence services, a rank is earned by getting timely promotion and sometimes through gallantry action, by risking life. One rank one pension does not hold good when there are such exceptions to the rule as field promotions.

The earlier you get the rank, the more is the pension. Early promotion for the deserving ones is a must in defence services to have talent more accurately absorbed. Giving enhancement at each step of the promotion keeps the morale of the defence personnel upbeat; in return, country will have the best service from its defence personnel.


One pension makes economic sense

The financial security needs of the defence personnel are justified not only on social and moral basis but also on economic grounds. The expenditure on security and health of this manpower (presently, depreciated human capital) deserves to be treated as an investment.

The right to health and financial security after retirement calls for allocation of resources for expenditure on security and health. Such expenditure beyond the productive age is to be treated as a postponed claim on the accumulated surplus benefits of their past productive life.

The rationality of investment in ex-servicemen can be put in three categories:- 1) Claim on the accumulated surplus product of one’s own productive life. The government should improve the temporal distribution of income over the entire life by recognising the claims of retired employees on their own productivity. Ethical arguments may intervene to alter this claim, but not to deny it.

2) Claim on the external benefits provided by human capital, which are not captured by any person, but by the society as a whole. The difference between private marginal product and social marginal product entails the argument in support of an individual’s right to financial security and health beyond the retirement age.

3) Return on investment in future productivity of children. The total product of human capital will be expected to pay for all investments as its replacement costs, make a return on the human capital embodied in these and leave a surplus for future consumption. It is not a claim on the present, but on the past labour. It is neither charity nor goodwill of the present working population, but simply a claim on a one’s own.

These claims on the private product, part of the social product, make economic sense, regardless of the ethical or utilitarian arguments that may be put forward to strengthen the cause of the security needs of retired defence personnel.

While the third argument may hold good in the case of they who cannot make the first two claims. There is always a case to review the pension schemes as per the requirements of the military services. There is certainly a need for better manpower planning, which is to be integrated with the comprehensive human development policy required for strengthening our armed forces.

Prof M. M. GOEL,

Even civil employers pay meagre salary

The Army service requires the personnel to remain ready for any eventuality. The service requires high discipline, devotion and readiness to sacrifice the life for the sake of the nation.

A defence person has to serve in extreme temperature, pressure and altitude, which leads to many ailments at an early age, like injuries to the nervous system due to isolation, hypertension, psychiatric disorders and depression.

To keep the Army young, personnel have to retire between the age of 35 and 45. Since the government has failed to look after the welfare of defence personnel and their adjustment in civilian life, they feel neglected.

Even ex-servicemen who are rehabilitated are exploited by the majority of their civil employers, who pay them meager wages. An Army person sacrifices his youth for the sake of the countrymen, but in return he does not get even the respect that is due.

Everyone performs the same job during service, but due to a recommendation of the Pay Commission, the personnel who retired earlier than a given date now have to suffer economically.

Nangal Township


Soldier’s pension is paltry

Could the grateful nation consider up-scaling the pensions given to its brave men who return from the front? The men who voluntarily join armed forces in their early adulthood, serve cheerfully, willingly and honourably under strict defence rules and even end up lose life or the limbs are slapped with such arbitrary orders. A soldier’s mandatory attendance is 24 hours a day, while for others, it is only 8 hours.

His living and working conditions are beyond imagination and he spends a mi-civic life, separated from family, always under the sword.

His length of service depends upon earned rank, while his civilian counterpart cannot be retired before the age of superannuation. His minimum mandatory health profile is fighting fit only.

He who gave his today for our tomorrow does not deserve to survive on paltry pension, while others enjoy full pay and perks.



No is not for soldier

It is only a soldier who is taught never to say "No" even while serving under adverse conditions. They always sacrifice the prime of their youth for our tomorrow. Is it not injustice to them and their dependents that they later have to struggle to survive on a destitute-pattern pension, when they actually have time to be with their families?

After their death, the faith of their aggrieved dependents shatters into pieces. They have no representative of their own in the Lok Sabha, unlike other voters. The attachment of politicians with the problems of ex-servicemen is least, except during wartime.

The ex-servicemen need one rank one pension, if the politicians have any regard for them.

GANGA BISHAN MALIK, Ex-Hav from Signals,
Bhartana (Jind)


Government laying unjust condition

The case for the grant of one rank one pension to pre-1986 retirees is under consideration of the government for a long time. The case was in the manifesto of the NDA government and had seemingly reached its final stages (The Tribune, November 30, 2002; February, 8, 2003; and August, 20, 2003, refers).

The item is also in the manifesto of the UPA government, but eclipsed till now.

The main bottleneck is completion of 33 years of service by the men. The requirement is astonishing. How can a sepoy complete 33 years of service when he has been enrolled for only 15 years, and the maximum limit for a rank is 32 years? Why should there be disparity among the same class of people who served under the same service conditions?

Senior citizens are being ignored in every sphere.

Sub-Maj and Hon Lt RAM CHAND,
Shamnagar, Dharamsala


Before or after should not matter

One rank one pension is a just demand, which the ex-servicemen have raised before successive governments, yet the outcome has been nothing.`A0All governments, from V. P. Singh to the UPA, have made hollow promises to the ex-servicemen that`A0one rank one pension would soon be implemented.`A0This genuine demand deserves serious and sympathetic consideration from our political masters and policy makers.

The personnel of the same rank have similar conditions of service, similar promotion criteria, get postings of similar tenure in hostile as well as peace areas. Therefore, this post-retirement discrimination in pensions is not justified. It is unjustified that a person who retired as Havildar prior to January 1, 1996, should get much less than the pension drawn by a Havildar who retired after this date.

The persons who stood guard in hostile conditions when we enjoyed sound sleep should get a fair deal and decent treatment from the authorities concerned.

Rewari, Haryana


No reason to dither

The government shouldn’t dither over the vital issue of one rank one pension. All ranks in the defence forces are important; therefore, different yardsticks can’t be applied for the same service rendered by the same rank. Therefore, defence authorities should take a firm stand and fulfil the demand to end this impasse.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |