Two days after an ex-serviceman’s suicide on the OROP issue, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said most defence veterans had been given benefits under the scheme while around one lakh still left will be given these in two months.
“Only one lakh ex-servicemen out of over 20 lakh are not getting pension as per the OROP scheme due to some technical difficulty or documentation problems,” the minister said.
The minister paid homage to Major Somnath Sharma, the country’s first recipient of highest military honour the Param Vir Chakra on his 69th martyrdom anniversary in central Badgam district.
“These one lakh personnel are yet to get the full benefits under the OROP... we will soon sort out the paperwork. In the next two months, we will finalise it,” he also told the media here.
He said the OROP issue had not been implemented in the past 43 years.
“We did it. Every year, an expenditure of Rs 7,500 crore will be incurred and Rs 11,000 crore have been paid as arrears. There has been an average increase of 23 to 24 per cent in pensions under the OROP,” he said.
Parrikar is on a visit to Kashmir to review the preparedness of troops in the wake of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
The defence minister’s remarks came after a political controversy erupted in Delhi on Wednesday over the suicide on Tuesday of Ram Kishan Grewal, a retired Subedar of the Indian Army.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag accompanied Parrikar when he listened to the problems of army veterans present at the homage-paying ceremony.
“The problems conveyed to me by you will be resolved before I come here the next time,” he assured the veterans.
The minister said he was aware that benefits under certain reservation quota were not being extended by the state government to ex-servicemen.
“I will ask for a report from the state government on this issue. The facilities offered by the central government will also be extended to you,” Parrikar assured the ex-servicemen.