The Defence Ministry on Wednesday said orders to implement two pending pensionary benefits, with an annual expenditure of Rs.2,200 crore, have been issued. This is expected to benefit 12 lakh ex-servicemen.

The government's letter recommending parity between pension of pre and post-October 10, 1997, for Personnel Below Officers Rank (PBOR) and further improving their pensions based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers award of 2006 was issued on March 8, the Ministry said.

The decision followed recommendations by a high-level committee, and recent assurance in this regard in the Lok Sabha by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

With these orders, the Ministry has implemented all the seven recommendations of the committee headed by Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, which will be close to the ‘One Rank-One Pension' demand of ex-servicemen.

Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said the implementation would not only significantly reduce the gap between the past and current pensioners, but also considerably improve the pension of ex-servicemen, including those in the disabled category.

On March 5, Dr. Singh told the Lok Sabha that five of the seven recommendations of the Chandrasekhar Committee were implemented, and the remaining two would be implemented shortly.

Among the recommendations already implemented are inclusion of classification allowance for PBOR from January 1, 2006, and removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years from January 1, 2006 (the day the Sixth Pay Commission came into retrospective effect).

The government also implemented revision of pension for Lieutenants-General after carving out a separate pay scale for them, broad banding percentage of disability and war injury pensions for pre-January 1, 2006 pensioners, and removing cap on the war injury element of the pension in the case of disabled pensioners.

Ex-servicemen organisations have been holding protest marches, and service and gallantry medals were returned to President Pratibha Patil, pressing for the acceptance of ‘One Rank-One Pension,' an issue raised by Opposition leader L.K. Advani last week in Parliament.

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