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Sunday, 3 July 2016

LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER

Indian Military Veterans

LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER

01 Jul 2016


Respected Chhote Bhai Narendra Modi Saheb

I write to you in anguish and pain to tell you what the bureaucrats have done to your promised OROP. Having made a mess of it, made you announce that you have given the veterans their long pending demand of 40 years, even in foreign lands. A statement that is totally wrong. Coming from the Prime Minister of our Great Nation and my Chota Bhai it is painful to say the least.

OROP What it Means

The first requirement for it to be called OROP is that old pensioners pension is brought up to the same level as of today by matching up the rank, length of service and for JCOs and Jawans also the group they have served in. The second part of OROP requirement is that any future increase given to the current pensioners is automatically passed onto the old pensioners.The conditions set out in this apology of an OROP ensure that it will neither be equalised nor maintained at that level. How can we then call it OROP? At best it may be called some increase in pensions to bridge the gap of old and new pensions.Now having messed up they have changed the very definition to match up what they have given.

OROP Given Twice In The Past

I should know it better than anybody as I was the one who raised this with the Prime Minister first time on 22 Feb 1982. Then fought it through various High Level and High Level Empowered Committees (HLEC) of MOD as Member. Twice I got it through. Once in 1990 through HLEC as ONE TIME INCREASE FORMULA (OTI) and second time in 2006 by forcing the Govt to appoint a Committee headed by Sh Pranab Mukherjee the then RM and the current President of India. 

In 1990 I had got all the Committee Members of the HLEC to give OROP but the then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh put his hands up as the country was facing grave economic crises due to which we had to air lift all our gold reserves to UK. Nevertheless the OTI was only ten to forty six rupees less than the current pensioners depending upon the length of service and no other consideration. This was as good as OROP. 

Mr Gujral Accepts OROP

I then raised the issue with Mr Gujral the next Prime Minister for full OROP. He accepted to give it. I was asked by Defence Secretary to put up the paper for Cabinet approval. I gave the paper to him on 04 Nov 1997. In this paper I even accepted OTI formula as OROP if it was converted  in to Pension Increase Formula ( PIF ) for all times to come and all categories of pensioners were included for award. The bureaucrats again played dirty by sitting on the file till the Govt fell.


Our Problem

I have been witness to the spectacle of  the bureaucrats playing dirty over the past over thirty four years. Our problem has never been lack of goodwill of the leadership for our cause. It has been the lack of correct projection of our problems. The bureaucrats have always first cut our communications with the leadership and then fed them with blatant lies to deny us our rightful dues.

You find this very pattern for OROP as well. It is amazing that you have yet to meet the Veterans despite  they being on the road for over a year. Narendra Modi Bhai Saheb are they untouchable that you hold it below your dignity to even meet them leave alone solve their legitimate problems? Over the last thirty four years I was given the privilege to be invited by every Prime Minister. Even Sh Atal ji invited me on 26 Jul 2001 to discuss and resolve our Problems.

Appeal to You To Create Instruments

I read your statement about consulting soldiers and veterans while taking decisions pertaining to the matters affecting them. I was thrilled to note that you had identified the problem so soon on assuming the charge. I appealed to you on 01 Jul 2014 to create instruments if you wanted to  involve us in making decisions to achieve your desire . The instruments were as follows :-

a) Ministry of Defence's separate Standing Committee of Voluntary Associations (SCOVA) like in Ministry of Pensions. It has twelve pensioners organisations as Members. They meet every three months and project their problems which are resolved by the Govt. With this the requirement of agitation by veterans and resultant embarrassment to the Govt will be cut down to almost zero

b) Department of Ex servicemen Welfare should be manned by serving soldiers and veterans. With this the Govt will get correct advice to take correct and timely decisions.

c) Representation  of Armed Forces in the MOD at all decision making levels.The RM has recently appointed an advisor from the Air Force with fanfare so that he can give the advice to him about matters concerning the Armed Forces?. This again is publicity and nothing else. What can he advise about Navy and Army? Do you know that the Armed Forces are the only uniformed service not represented at decision making level of the controlling Ministry. Why? Can anybody justify it? Have you lost trust in the Armed Forces. Have they ever let the Nation down for securing the Nation or for any other task given to them. Are they in any way incompetent to bear their responsibility.? If not then why have they been kept away from this responsibility of managing and advising by being part of the MoD? Instead of this half baked advice by one man the RM could have all the advice by placing the Armed Forces personnel in the MoD. The bureaucrats will resist it with all their might because they feel threatened by their efficiency and losing avenues of employment and promotion. Can you allow that at the expense of the National security?

d) The Armed Forces Tribunal should be given more powers to make it more effective.

e) The  Ex servicemen Resettlement Commission for attending to their problems like many other categories of people.

Sanctioned Instruments By You Not Constituted   

We were amazed at the promptitude with which you took decision and announced the appointment of  Ex servicemen Commission and Committee for Ex servicemen Welfare as a result of our appeal. We felt that you have put the affairs on the right track.The bureaucrats however had other plans. They have yet not implemented your important decisions. You would soon get to root of the cause if you asked them why have they not implemented these orders for more than a year. If these were in place there would have been no necessity for the Justice Reddy Committee, initially called Commission, to correct the anomalies of OROP. The title change prompted by the bureaucrats, due to the  fear of having to justify their wrong decisions. These anomalies would have been thrashed out by the Welfare Committee itself. Those for which solution could not be found could have been referred to the    Ex servicemen Commission. Where was the necessity for Justice Reddy Committee? It has been brought in merely to give it a ceremonial burial which had legal blessings for all times to come.The matter would have been solved without any fuss and without Veterans coming on the road for their legitimate demands.

Bureaucrats Master Stroke

When you took charge we thought our Messiah is here. You will hold these all powerful bureaucrats accountable, who unabashedly say we are the Govt, . Over the years I realised that when all their tactics fail to get decisions detrimental to the cause of the Armed Forces, they play the master stroke of Armed Forces taking over the Govt.  The remedy of continuing to deny them their rightful dues is the sure shot recipe for that happening. 

Kautulay Advice to His Emperor

Lastly I quote Kautulya's advice to his Emperor of Magadha-

" If ever things come to a sordid pass when, on a given day, the Mauryan soldier has to LOOK BACK over his shoulder (simhawalokana) prompted by even a single worry about his and his family’s material, physical and social well being, it should cause you and your Council the greatest concern and distress. I beseech you to take instant note and act with uncommon dispatch to address the soldier's anxiety. It is my bounden duty to assure you, My Lord, that the day when the Mauryan soldier has to demand his dues or, worse, plead for them, will neither have arrived overnight nor in vain. It will also bode ill for Magadha.
 For then, on that day, you, My Lord, will have lost all moral sanction to be King! It will also be the beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire!!”

 Appeal

 I appeal to you to kindly take the matter in your own hands and ensure that OROP is granted at the earliest. Its time that you ended the uncertainties of the Veterans who are sitting on the road for the past over a year. Hope you will make it possible for me, who has struggled for the past thirty four years, to see the implementation of OROP  before I say final good bye. Which may happen sooner than later. I remain your well wisher ever.


I do not expect the bureaucrats to allow this appeal to ever reach  you. I am therefore sending it to many dignitaries with the hope that somebody may take pity on us and reach it to you.

With kind regards and best wjshes

Yours Sincerely

Lt Col Inderjit Singh


The Hon'ble
Sh Narendra Modi
The Prime Minister of India
7 Race Course Road
New Delhi

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