Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified on Sunday that all service personnel who had taken premature retirement would be entitled to the >One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
“Armed forces personnel who retired prematurely will be entitled to OROP,” Mr. Modi told a rally in Faridabad after inaugurating the new Badarpur-Escorts (Mujesar) corridor of Delhi Metro.
‘Not an easy decision’ He said a commission would be set up to address any >shortcomings and stressed that it was not an easy decision for his government but nothing mattered to his government more than the esteem of the soldiers.
“I have fulfilled my promise of One Rank One Pension. You have spent your life for this country, we cannot ignore you,” he said.
Mr. Modi said those seeking voluntary retirement or retiring at an early age were set to benefit the most and it was wrong to mislead them. “If you have spent 15 years in the service of the nation, you will get the benefit of OROP.”
'Rank and file will get most benefit'
In the armed forces, while there is no VRS, there is an option for premature retirement after reaching the pensionable limit of 15 years for Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) and 20 years for officers.
However, when the government announced implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) on Saturday, a clause was introduced saying those opting for VRS were not eligible. This generated strong reaction from the veterans and in a bid to clarify the issue Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held discussions with representatives of the movement after which they expressed satisfaction.
Mr. Modi’s clarification on Sunday that those who opted for early retirement too would come under the scheme settled the issue.
The previous government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a rally in Faridabad, had pegged > the expenditure on OROP at Rs. 500 crore and even the Koshiyari Committee had calculated it to be around Rs. 300 crore, but everyone was bewildered when the actual calculations began and the outgo came to Rs.8,000-10,000 crore.
“It was hanging fire for more than four decades. Many governments came and went, but failed to resolve the issue. My government came to power on May 26 last year and is just 15 months old. But we had made a promise and kept our word,” said Mr. Modi, amid loud cheers.
Sounding a note of caution, he said there were attempts to mislead the veterans, but the biggest beneficiaries would be the rank and file.
“More than 80-90 per cent men and women in the armed forces comprise the lower ranks. They are set to benefit the most,” said Mr. Modi.
Clearing the air on the proposed appointment of a one-man judicial commission, the Prime Minister said it was not a Pay Commission but would deal with “sticky” issues of OROP so that no one was left out.
Taking on the > Congress for its comments on OROP, Mr. Modi said the party had no right to question the government when it did nothing in 40 years.
“Some people are trying to mislead the armed forces on OROP; trying to score political points,”the Prime Minister charged.
Mr. Modi said that every 10th person in the armed forces was from Haryana and the implementation of OROP would pump several thousand crore rupees into the State giving a fillip to its economy.