After a meeting with top government officials in South Block on Wednesday, veterans demanding one rank, one pension (OROP) indicated that the Centre said could accept their demands and a breakthrough in talks to resolve the logjam appeared to be “in sight.” The meeting took place in the office of the PM’s principal secretary Nripendra Misra, who had earlier held talks with ex-servicemen on August 18.
Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who heads the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, said, “The talks were held in a good environment. The implementation of OROP as per our definition now appears to be in sight.”
Army chief General Dalbir Singh, who is helping both sides reconcile differences on OROP, was present at the meeting. The veterans have also had talks with national security adviser Ajit Doval. Talks with top officials were held on Tuesday too.
The ex-servicemen have made it clear to the government that they will not accept any dilution of their demands. Satbir Singh said 2013-14 would be the base year for the implementation of the OROP and payments would be made retrospectively from April 1, 2014. Veterans, who are hopeful of a meeting with the PM soon, stressed no compromise formula would be acceptable.
As many as 10 former chiefs had last week warned the government against a further delay in granting OROP last week, saying it would erode the military’s morale and pride. Four ex-chiefs had earlier written to the president on the issue.
The scheme, expected to benefit 30 lakh pensioners, would guarantee equal pension to military personnel retiring in the same rank with same length of service, regardless of their date of retirement.