INTEGRATED PAY SCALE - Panacea to the ONE RANK ONE PENSION Problem
Since Assured Career Progression (ACP) given to Civil Services was not feasible in the Defence Services, in the 1980s, the 4th Pay Commission delinked pay from rank and implemented the Integrated Pay Scale (also known as "the running pay band") starting from the rank of Second Lieutenant to Brigadier in the Army, Acting Sub Lieutenant up to the rank of Commodore in the Navy and Pilot Officer to Air Commodore in the Air Force.
This ensured that officers in these ranks would be eligible for annual increments and could reach the maximum of the scale, irrespective of whether they were promoted to the next rank.
The rationale was that an officer's domestic financial commitments (for example the cost of children's education, marriage etc) were, by and large, the same and not linked with rank.
Hence, at that point of time, since pay was delinked from rank, the problem of "one rank one pension" did not exist since pension depended on last pay drawn at the time of retirement and your pay was linked to years of service and not to your rank due to the integrated pay scale. Accordingly, pension was linked to years of service and not to rank.
The successful implementation of the integrated pay scale bears testimony to the fact that pensions were linked to years of service and not to rank.
In fact, this integrated pay scale concept worked so well that it was proposed to extend it to all ranks to include all Generals, Admirals, Air Marshals(flag ranks) and also apply this concept of running pay band integrated pay scales to soldiers, sailors and airmen. (Thus, all everyone in military uniform would be covered by integrated pay scales)
Generally, in the government, a benefit once given is never withdrawn.
However, the popular integrated pay scale was abolished by the 5th Pay Commission.
It is surprising why this retrograde step was taken and one wonders at whose behest this permanent financial damage was done to most officers, both in pay and pension.
It is the abolishing of the integrated pay scale that has created the "one rank one pension" problem.
The solution, therefore, is to re-introduce the popular integrated pay scale which will automatically delink pay and pension from rank, as was the case earlier.
This will raise overall morale and the "one rank one pension" problem will disappear.
Similar initiative is needed for soldiers, sailors and airmen also, whose pensions need to be enhanced depending on their years of service and not restricted by rank.
Will some senior veterans please tell us what was the need to abolish the beneficial integrated pay scale introduced by the 4th pay commission?
At whose behest was the integrated pay scale abolished?
When the government gives us benefits, why do we abolish them?
All Army Navy Air Force Officers need to ask themselves why the services abolished this excellent concept of integrated pay scale introduced by the 4th pay commission when this concept was so popular, so beneficial and worked so well?
The problem of One-Rank-One-Pension would not have arisen had integrated pay scales still been in force.
It is only because this integrated pay scale concept was abolished has the One-Rank-One-Pension problem been created.
In conclusion, I feel that re-introducing the integrated pay scale concept will resolve the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue forever.
A similar integrated pension scale linked to years of service can also be drawn up in tandem with the integrated pay scale and the same can be updated and upgraded with every pay commission concomitant with upgradation of the integrated pay scale.