OROP scheme for ex-servicemen, war widows to be implemented shortly

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Seeking to end the deadlock over One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, the NDA government has reportedly decided to roll out the pension scheme very soon.

The ex-servicemen had demanded that the scheme should be implemented from April 1, 2014. It is expected that the date of effectiveness of scheme will be July 1, 2014 and the base year will be 2014.

The protestors have demanded pension be revised every year and if that is not possible, then at least once in two years, but the government continues to say that pension will be revised once in every five years.

While the number of ex-servicemen in the country is more than 24.25 lakh, there are around six lakh war widows too, entitled to pension. Once the OROP is implemented, the total increase in pension of defence forces would be around Rs 21,000 crore, increasing from the current pension amount, Rs 54,000 crore to Rs 74,000 crore.

OROP pursues to build a platform which provides uniform pension to defence personnel, who retired at the same rank and completed same tenure of their service, without taking into consideration their date of retirement.

The government is likely to brief the President and commander-in-chief of the Indian armed forces Pranab Mukherjee before taking a final call.

To find out any anomaly, the central government will set up a judicial commission, which will submit its report in six months.

Major general (retd) Satbir Singh, who is leading the protest at Jantar Mantar, held a meeting in this regard with army chief general Dalbir Singh on 2 September. Several retired defence personnel have been on a are also on fast-unto-death.

Taking a step back, the ex-servicemen told the government that will relent on a two-year review of pension, but not five years. The ex-servicemen had also recently written to the President, seeking his intervention in the issue.

The ex-servicemen had been long demanding the OROP to ensure a uniform pension for those who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Meanwhile, ex-servicemen expressed displeasure over finance minister Arun Jaitey’s remark on the OROP issue. They said the Jaitley is responsible for the impasse and said their protest will continue till their demand is met.

Ruling out annual pension revision every year as demanded by agitating ex-servicemen under OROP, Jaitley said the government will,however, safeguard interests of soldiers retiring at an early age through higher pensions.

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