As ex-servicemen threaten to intensify their stir over their demand for one rank-one pension (OROP) being implemented in a diluted form, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that everyone had the right to make a demand in a democracy but not all demands could be fulfilled.
Two days after the government notified the implementation of the OROP, Parrikar said “maximum demands” of the veterans had been met and a judicial commission would look into problems, if any.
Veterans, however, said they would continue with their protest and would discuss their strategy at a “maha rally” being organised at Ambala on November 15.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said the government had given directions on OROP and everyone should accept it. The OROP is supposed to guarantee equal pension to military personnel retiring at the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of the date of retirement.
The scheme, a 40-year-old demand of military veterans, is expected to benefit three million pensioners. Veterans are planning to return war honours and observe a “black Diwali” to protest against the government’s failure to address their key concerns.
They are particularly upset about OROP not being extended to future premature retirees and the proposal to recalculate pensions every five years.
According to the government’s calculations, the scheme will require an annual payout in the range of Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore. It will be effective from July 1, 2014.