[Ed.: This is a guest post by Maj. Gen. (Retd.) SS Jawandha, VSM]
In simple words, it means same pension for same rank having same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement. Hoshiary Committee was formed by the UPA Govt to go into this issue. The report was presented to Parliament and duly approved by it. It is noteworthy that no party opposed it including the present Government. Subsequently the recommendations have been included in the budgets of both the UPA and the NDA. Some amount was also sanctioned and included in the budget which was duly passed by the Governments of UPA and NDA..
Approximately 95 per cent of Armed Forces are compulsorily retired between the age of 37 and 45. This is done to keep the Armed Forces young and fighting fit in the interest of the country. As a result of the early retirement these personnel are unable to get three assured promotions which are given to all other Government servants, resulting in low pensions for them. What is equally disadvantageous to them is the loss of 20 years of service on an average. As a result of the above these veterans face immense financial hardships when their needs are at their greatest due to higher education of their children and the marriages etc. Thus the proud soldiers of yesterday are reduced to beggars. Most of our countrymen may not know that till 1973 all defence Personnel Below the Officer Rank (PBOR) were getting 70% of the last pay drawn as pension due to the disadvantages of the terms of their engagement, the very harsh living conditions, disturbed family life and eduction of their wards. Armed Forces Officers were getting 50% of the last pay drawn as pension. All other Government servants were getting only 30% of the last pay drawn as pension. Ironically after the grand victory of Bangladesh War, pension of armed forces were reduced from 70% to 50% and the pension of the civilian Government servants were increased from 30% to 50%. Thus in one stroke all the compensatory benefits the Armed Forces got for the reduced length of service and adverse conditions of service were negated.This is origin of One Rank One Pension so that the great injustice done in 1973 can be offset to some degree. This also upset the status and protocol of the Armed Forces personnel vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts. My countrymen you will be surprised to learn that till 1973 all three Chiefs of Armed Forces were getting approximately double pension of Cabinet Secretary who is the senior-most IAS officer. It is for you to see and appreciate as to who has contributed to the honour and integrity of the country.
The basic reason is the delay in implementing the One Rank One Pension despite repeated assertions by nothing less than PM of the country before and after becoming PM, including during his address to the troops at the highest battlefield in the world. Equally disturbing was his statement during ?Man Ki Baat? that he was not aware of the complexities of the subject. He also mentioned that there were many definitions of one rank one pension. This was most surprising coming from a person of the calibre of our Honourable PM, Narendra Modi ji. There is only one definition of One Rank One Pension as given in Hoshiary Committe and duly approved by Parliament and accepted in two budgets.