By Arun Kumaresan –
A Note To The President & PM
Armed Forces of Sri Lanka is a vital and holistic institution that had come in aid to the nation in order to uphold its sovereignty and integrity when the writ of the democratically elected governments was challenged. Unlike other public service entities armed forces has two significant variations in their contract of employment;
- 70 to 80% of the population of the armed forces personal is retired on completion of 20-22 yrs of service due to steep narrowing of opportunities to higher ranks. This retirement process at younger ages enables the armed forces to maintain young and physically agile fighting forces to meet any contingencies. (They do not have the luxury of full pay until 55yrs)
- A unique clause that duty bounds all armed forces personnel that detail them to execute their tasks even at the cost of their lives.
What is OROP?
It implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces Personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
This enables bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners, and also future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. In armed forces, equality in service has two components, namely, rank and length of service.
The importance of rank is inherent in armed forces as it has been granted by the President (for officers) and Service Chiefs (for members from ranks) and signifies the command, control and responsibility in consonance with ethos of service. These ranks are even allowed to be retained by the individual concerned after his/her retirement.
Hence, no one will object for this deduction based on above; two armed personnel in the same rank and equal length of service on retirement should get same pension irrespective of date of retirement and any future enhancement in rates of pension be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.
It needs no one to be a ‘rocket scientist’ to understand the above rationale but only requires the understanding and commitment of the government. Whilst conceding the financial implication this scheme will entail to the exchequer; the following time line is recommended for the progressive implementation:
- Award to the armed forces personnel ‘Killed in Action’. (as an immediate measure)
- Award to all ranks.
- Finally, when resources of this third world nation permits consider granting to the officer corps.
It is hoped that politicians, bureaucrats and civil society will unequivocally support this endeavor. Our neighbor India has already done it to its Armed Forces; we only have now to “copy and paste”.
President MS and Prime Minister RW and the members of the Cabinet of Ministers; ‘Over to You’ for consideration.