Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Widows of Military Personnel Continue to be Discriminated

Dear Colleagues,
In the recent past our efforts have been concentrated towards convincing the members of the Rajya Sabha Petitions Committee of the justification and genuineness of OROP for the Defence Forces. Realising that the government reluctance to give us OROP might be based on their apprehension of it provoking a similar demand from other non-Defence employees, we laid adequate emphasis in driving home our uniqueness in the national matrix. From the trend of discussion, questions asked by Committee members and from various other indications, we are very hopeful that the recommendations of the Committee will be favourable to our demand.
We now await the report of the Petitions Committee finding its way to the government and being discussed in the Parliament. In the meantime, veterans with a flair for writing are requested to get OROP related articles published in the media so as the keep the issue on the radar screen and to keep the tempo going.
A letter/reminder sent to Mrs Sonia Gandhi on 07 June 2011 regarding the Service widows’ request to meet her is given below.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

07 June 2011
Dear Madam Party President,
I write to renew my request sent vide our letter dated 30 April 2011 (copy attached). The widows of Service personnel continue to suffer the discrimination in not being covered by the pension enhancement announced by the Government as a follow-up of the recommendations made by the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee. You are once again requested to consider giving date and time for receiving the widows’ delegation.
In view of high sensitivity attached to the issue, may I request you to kindly accord priority to it?
With regards,
Yours sincerely,
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
Smt Sonia Gandhi
Copy to:
Dr Manmohan Singh
Shri AK Antony

30 April 2011
I write this to draw your kind attention to the problem of pension being faced by the widows of Ex Servicemen. As you might be aware, the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee was constituted in 2009 to specifically examine the issue of ‘one rank one pension’ (OROP) for military veterans. While not backing the demand for OROP, the Committee had recommended some enhancement of pensions for personnel other than commissioned officers. This recommendation has since been implemented vide Government of India Ministry of Defence letter No PC 10(1)/2009-D (Pen/Policy) dated 08 March 2010. For some reason the family pension remained uncovered by the above enhancement. This beats logic as all family pensions are to be based on notional pay fixed for Ex Servicemen pensioners from time to time.
This discrimination against the families came as a great shock to the entire community of Ex Servicemen as the neediest segment of pensioners was deprived of even this partial enhancement. I wrote to the Hon’ble PM twice but the family pension has yet not been enhanced. The reply from the government spoke of widows not being covered because the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee had not recommended their inclusion. This amounts to government admitting that they are helpless and cannot overrule recommendations of a subordinate committee that the government itself had constituted.
Singling out the hapless widows has been very unfortunate and betrays lack of sensitivity on the part of the government. It has also caused consternation among the veterans and has become a highly emotive issue. Disenchanted, the widows are looking for empathy from you. They want to come in a delegation to plead their case and present a memorandum to you at 10, Janpath. You are requested to kindly intimate your availability to receive them.
With regards,
Yours sincerely,
Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
Smt Sonia Gandhi
Copy to: Dr Manmohan Singh and Shri AK Antony

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