Govt has broadly accepted the concept of OROP: Ex-servicemen
Former servicemen on Saturday reiterated their stand that they will not accept any unilateral move by the government amid indications that it may announce its decision to implement the one rank, one pension scheme later in the day.india Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:14 IST
Former servicemen on Saturday reiterated their stand that they will not accept any unilateral move by the government amid indications that it may announce its decision to implement the one rank, one pension scheme later in the day.
According to sources, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah will brief party spokespersons about OROP at 3pm and defence minister Manohar Parikkar will announce the scheme during a press conference.
The protesting veterans said the defence minister told them that the government has broadly accepted the concept of OROP.
Earlier during the day, the veterans said that the government's reported plans to exclude ex-servicemen who had opted for VRS from OROP benefits is not acceptable.
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"There are indications that the government may implement OROP soon. We heard that the government has said that ex-servicemen who took VRS will not be given OROP. This is totally unacceptable," said Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), who heads the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, ahead of their meeting with Parrikar.
The government is expected to announce its decision to remove disparities in pensions of veterans by effecting a revision every five years. But the veterans, who have been holding protests across the country for 82 days now, want the pension to be reworked every two years.
After protracted negotiations with ex-servicemen failed to iron out differences, government sources on Friday said necessary orders would be issued soon for the implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme from July 1, 2014. The veterans want April 1, 2014, as the kick-off date.
New pensions would be fixed with 2013 as the base year and "discrepancy between the present and previous pensioners" settled every five years, sources said.
The government's plan has angered the veterans who accused the government of turning the "accepted definition of OROP" on its head and have threatened to intensify the stir.
Sources said the government would constitute a single-member judicial committee to look into various aspects of OROP including inter-services matters. It will submit its report in six months.
The government's calculations show that the annual payout towards implementing OROP would be in the range of Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore, with the figures spiralling upwards in the coming years. Also, sources said, arrears would amount to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore.
While widows will get arrears in lump-sum, others will be paid in four half-yearly installments. Army personnel who have taken voluntary retirement will not be covered under OROP.
The Centre is desperate to end the deadlock with the ex-servicemen as the dates for the all-important Bihar assembly elections is likely to be announced soon.
The OROP, expected to benefit three million pensioners, will guarantee equal pension to military personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of the date of retirement.
Read:Annual pension revision not possible, says Jaitley on OROP