Ex-servicemen firm on uniform pension, to protest on June 14

The talks between ex-servicemen and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme failed on Saturday.

Subsequently, the retired defence personnel decided to go ahead with their planned rally on June 14 followed by a relay hunger strike to protest against the long delay in implementation of the scheme.

“Though Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar understood our problem and argument, he did not give any date for the implementation of OROP, and hence we are going ahead with our agitation,” said Maj Gen Satbir Singh, chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).

He twice led a delegation of ex-servicemen on Saturday at meetings with Parrikar and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Singh said he has complete faith inPrime Minister Narendra Modi, and hoped OROP would be implemented soon.

The ex-servicemen's group has also written a letter to Modi seeking his intervention to meet their long-pending demand.

At a conclave of the retired defence personnel on Saturday, it was decided that they would call off their proposed agitation if the Minister gave a deadline of July 15 for the implementation of the OROP.

OROP seeks to ensure a uniform pension for defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over 6 lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme.

Even though the government has said it is committed to implementing OROP, there has been no official clarification on why the scheme is delayed.
Defence Ministry sources said the OROP file is lying with the Finance Ministry for final budgetary approval.

Parrikar has repeatedly said the government has completed all formalities and that OROP would be implemented soon.

“Since last December, we have met Parrikar four times and every time he said it would be implemented in a week or so,” said Singh at the conclave.
The Army chief, while addressing ex-servicemen on March 14, had said OROP would be approved latest by April 30.

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