At last the UPA seems to have realised the importance of “one- rank, one-pension” (OROP) — when the election is around the corner. It is akin to its move on LPG cylinders. These eleventh hour decisions reveal the mindset of the UPA, which thinks that people will forget earlier misery. I do not think this move will work.
For more than 30 years, ex-servicemen have faced an uphill battle with various governments in implementing OROP. Therefore, the announcement needs to be approached with caution. This is because ex-servicemen have been deceived over time by repeated announcements made through government media on OROP. In 2009, the then President announced in a joint session of Parliament after the election, of the government’s commitment to implement OROP. The then Finance Minister earmarked Rs.2,144 crore for OROP, but nothing happened. The Prime Minister was also misled on an OROP being in existence when there was no such scheme.
There is every reason for our armed forces and ex-servicemen to be happy after the one-rank, one- pension proposal has been approved. The timing, though, is questionable. The GDP growth estimate for 2014-15 at 4.9 per cent seems unrealistic, considering past trends and the prevailing sluggish economy.