The editorial, ‘Postponing the problem’ (September 8), presents a balanced view of the implications of the solution announced by the Centre with regard to OROP. For political reasons, it has become a habit of governments to treat symptoms and leave the real disease untouched. The solution for OROP issue is not different.

The reforms era in India has witnessed total neglect of the public sector and government employees. Even before there was any legislative sanction, the Centre discontinued a well-established pension scheme effective January 1, 2004. Even at that time, the government was aware of the sensitivities of the issue and shrewdly excluded defence services while making the New Pension Scheme applicable to all central government employees. The ‘divide and rule’ strategy worked and as the employees on the roll as on December 31, 2003 were not affected, the protest from unions were feeble. Gradually, NPS was forced on most of the public sector organisations and State government employees and by the time the real legislative sanction through enactment of PFRDA came through, it was just regularising all that was done.

Many misleading stories are doled out in defence of the introduction of NPS and for keeping the OROP demand unresolved. Some of them confront common man with numbersThe NPS has not grown in stature or coverage to take care of the survival needs of the majority of the workforce.

The government should look at the analysis presented in a book called Facing the Future: Indian Pension Systems by David JW Hatton and others. It claims to offer viable solutions to the problem.

MG Warrier


The government's decision to implement OROP should be welcomed by all. You cannot use a young human resource and throw them out when they are around 37 without providing them alternate employment opportunities. No one is fighting wars and protecting the country for the pay we give them. This is about honour, not about money. The civilian population should understand that our soldiers are not in the services for money. They are serving our country and the country made them wait for four decades to honour them. The armed forces fight for “we the people” who cannot fight for themselves.

CR Arun


Governments understandably may not be able to follow the dictum of meeting salary and pension outlay from income. This must come from borrowings. But the figure in the said study of NPV of future pension payments being laid out at two-thirds of GDP is stunning. .Another study says OROP would push up outgo manifold. All this portends heavy debt. Our total debt to GDP is at 66 per cent. Big ticket plans to pursue growth would boost debt further. Greece at 350 per cent went bankrupt. The US at 103 per cent is not bothered as it prints dollars that, unlike sovereign bonds of other stressed nations whose coupon rates shoot up, actually gains value! We may be happy to limit a transient fiscal deficit today, but the silent burden of debt we would be building up by way of extravagant pensions for the privileged , not capping the number of government jobs, leaking welfare schemes, all seeding inflation, could well render us incapable of servicing our debts.

R Narayanan

Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh

Let sense prevail

We have high regard for the brave jawans, but to play on the sympathy factor to seek special provisions in their pension scheme vis-à-vis others who contribute equally to the economy of the nation, is to sentimentalise the issue. This is unfair. A rickshawala or street vendor or truck driver contributes no less. Yes, he has not signed a death warrant and is doing an economic activity. But the statistic is that 75,000 people die on the roads every year. What are the palliative measure given to their families?

Poor people face death almost on a daily basis. Is there any assurance that their families would be looked after? Armed forces personnel are provided extraordinary perquisites during their tenure and, thereafter too, which is not available to others. I hope better sense prevails.

K Dwarakanath


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