National

Announcement on OROP likely in 2-3 days

Looking to end the logjam on the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP) for ex-servicemen, the government has prepared a draft on the modalities of implementing the scheme and an announcement is likely in the next 2-3 days. However ex-servicemen termed it “unilateral” and have rejected the draft.

The major sticking point remains the issue of equalisation. The government is firm on the revision every five years in view of the administrative difficulties of doing it annually, however, the veterans have rejected it. Talks are continuing to find common ground.

“This is the best possible deal we could have worked out considering the financial implications of this in a financial year when recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission will also be submitted. We also feel that a lot of veterans will be satisfied with this deal once it is explained, we hope that the protests end soon," said a senior minister in the government. Earlier this week, the RSS too had raised the matter with the government asking for a speedy resolution within reasonable means. “We have been told by Amit Shah (BJP President) that OROP will be worked out soon,” said RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabele on the sidelines of the BJP-RSS co-ordination meet in Delhi on Friday.

Speaking at Jantar Mantar, Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) said they are ready to accept a revision every two years but not beyond that.

Responding on the draft OROP, Wg Cdr (retd) Vinod Nebb with IESM said if the government goes ahead unilaterally, they will continue their agitation. “It is utter rubbish. There is no question of accepting it. In fact we are going to escalate our protests from September 12”.

The veterans have been demanding an annual revision and implementation from April 1, 2014. As per definition OROP seeks uniform pension based on rank and length of service irrespective of when they retire.

The draft says implementation would be from July 1, 2014 as the government was sworn in on May 26, 2014 and 2013 would be the base year for calculation.

In terms of implementation, arrears will be paid immediately for widows while for all others it would be cleared in four instalments over two years.

OROP would be applicable for war widows but those opting for voluntary retirement are not eligible.

Given the complexities in determining duration of service and time of retirement, the government is expected to appoint a judicial commission which will submit a report within six months.

Officials said the annual burden on the pension bill will be about Rs. 8,000 crore which would progressively go up with revision in pensions. The current pension bill of the defence ministry stands at Rs. 54,000 crore.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 5:41:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-readies-draft-on-orop-announcement-in-23-days/article7615802.ece

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