With pressure mounting from ex-servicemen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured them that his government is committed to the long awaited ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme (OROP).
In a tweet on Saturday morning, Modi said, “On OROP- the government is committed to OROP and there’s no doubt about it.”
Ex-servicemen have been very upset that the government is seen to be dilly dallying on the matter because of the financial implications. OROP will ensure that defence personnel who retire at the same rank and with the same length of service, will get equal pension, irrespective of when they retired.
At present, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations at the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.
In a separate newspaper interview, Modi said, “It is just that there are too many definitions going around yet, and we are looking for one on which all stakeholders agree. For me this is not a political agenda.”
The prime minister said, “Our government is here for five years, and we cannot do anything without consulting the people concerned. The dialogue is being actively pursued. There is no need to have any doubt on this.”
A day ago, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said One Rank One Pension “was on its way” but he cannot promise a date for its implementation. “Two or three steps remain so can’t give you a specific time but it is on its way,” the minister said, adding, “There cannot be a date for OROP as it involves various departments.”
Reacting to this, former defence minister and senior Congress leader A K Antony said, “The statement by the prime minister is totally incorrect. They have no answer for the criminal inaction of 14 months delay. Ex-servicemen are becoming restless. Only UPA government implemented OROP in 2014 February.”