Defence minister AK Antony has assured the services that the government was committed to implementing the "one rank, one pension" policy and making arrangements for the money required.
During a meeting of the top brass of the services and senior officials of the ministry of defence on Thursday evening here, Antony said the finance minister had clarified that the requirement of `500-crore to implement the scheme was only "indicative".
Antony had convened the meeting to discuss the modalities for implementing the scheme. Minister of state for defence Jitendra Singh; defence secretary RK Mathur; ex-servicemen's welfare secretary Sangita Gairola; defence finance secretary Arunava Dutt, the three services vice-chiefs, and officials from the services headquarters were present.
The policy is for paying uniform pension to soldiers who retired on the same rank after same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement. Any future enhancement in the pension is to be passed on to the previous pensioners automatically. This will bridge the gap between the pension rates of the current and past ex-servicemen.
Antony told the controller general of defence accounts to consult with the three services, finance wing of the defence ministry, and the ex-servicemen's welfare department to give effect to the decision. He wants family pensioners and disability pensioners included. "The services might also consult their ex-servicemen appropriately," Antony said during the meeting.
Defence pension improvement in 2006, 2010 and 2013 to a large extent bridged the gap in the amount paid to the soldiers who retire before 2006 and after but the 'one rank, one pension" rule will solve the issue totally.