The government is working on a plan to generate employment for retired defence personnel below officer rank who hung up their boots in their 30s and still have a valuable contribution to make in other fields.
A day before veterans are planning to hold a maharally at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Saturday against what they call partial implementation of their one rank one pension (OROP) demand, South Block sources said the government has started examining issues related to induction of jawans into the police forces.
Sources said the veterans should not allow "petty political elements" to colour their vision adding that the rally could be an "impediment" to the finalisation of the declaration on OROP made by defence minister Manohar Parrikar on September 5.
The sources said it did not befit disciplined veterans to hold the rally at this juncture as the government had accepted their 40-year-old demand.
Parrikar had last week said that the decision to implement the scheme reflected the government's commitment to the welfare of veterans, despite the fiscal burden — an annual payout in the range of Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore — to the exchequer. The scheme will be effective from July 1, 2014, with arrears amounting to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore.
The veterans are, however, not happy as they argue that their demand has been accepted only in a diluted form. Their main concerns centre around extending the benefits to premature retirees, annual revision of pensions as against the five-yearly review granted by the government and mode of re-calculation of pensions.
Another sticking point is the government's decision to set up a single-member judicial committee to look into various aspects of OROP and submit its report in six months. The veterans have demanded that the panel have five members, including three ex-servicemen, with a one-month deadline for the submission of the report.
The implementation of the pension scheme is expected to benefit more than 30 lakh defence pensioners, including six lakh widows.