Update on 14.08.15 (16:41 HRS IST) :
- Announcement on OROP likely soon, says union minister
- Jaipur, Aug 14 (PTI) An announcement on 'One Rank, One Pension' may be made soon, a Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said here today amid mounting pressure from ex-servicemen on the demand.
"We are committed to the ex-servicemen and announcement for the 'One-Rank, One-Pension' (OROP) may be made soon,? Rathore told reporters.With regard to opposition attack on the government over the issue, he said the issue has been pending since 1970s but the previous governments, including those of Congress, did nothing about it.
"We have just done 18 months in power. Wait and watch. A lot of (things) will happen," Rathore said in the party headquarters here.
"'One-Rank, One-Pension' started somewhere in 1970s. Till now the UPA and Congress did not do anything... PM had announced complete support to the 'One-Rank, One-Pension'," the minister said.
He, however, did not divulge further details saying the issue should be left here only.
His comments came amid continuing protests by ex-servicemen, who are on a sit-in for almost two months now at Jantar Mantar.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the protest site today and insisted that the government should urgently implement the promise it had made to the ex-servicemen on OROP.
Expectations are high that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may speak on the issue in his Independence Day address tomorrow.
- Earlier News
- Terming the delay in rolling out of ‘One Rank One Pension Scheme’ for ex-servicemen a danger to political military ethos of the country, four former service chiefs have written an open letter to President Pranab Mukherjee requesting his intervention.
“It is with a sense of deep anguish that we are writing to draw the attention of the Supreme Commander to the dismal spectacle of our veteran soldiers, driven to undertake public protests and demonstrations to press their demand for the – long overdue grant of OROP,” said the letter written by General SF Rodrigues (Retd), Admiral L Ramdas (Retd), Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd) and Admiral Sureesh Mehta (Retd).
They said that the denial of OROP is merely the last straw that has exhausted the veterans’ patience.
It appears to be the culmination of a process by which successive Pay Commissions have been used to whittle down the financial and protocol status of the military over the years vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, the letter said.
Latest Developments on OROP as per NDTV :
The letter comes just ahead of the Independence Day, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is widely expected to announce the big step.
NDTV has learned that a meeting between officials of the Prime Minister's Office and retired armed forces personnel yesterday has failed to evolve a consensus on One Rank One Pension.
One Rank One Pension or OROP, a longstanding demand of ex-servicemen, will grant retired armed forces personnel pension parity with officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now - at a cost of an estimated Rs. 8,300 crore annually to the government. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations at the time they retire. A Major General who retired in 1996 would draw less pension than his junior who retired years later.
In the meeting, ex-servicemen flatly rejected the government proposal to benchmark pensions at 2011 rates. They insisted that 2014 rates should be counted as that is when the NDA government had promised the scheme.
If implemented at 2014 rates, the pension of retired personnel would be drastically enhanced. For example, a retiring Havildar's pension would go up from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 9,600 a month. Similarly, a retiring Major would earn Rs. 35,000, up fromRs. 14,400.
Widows would also benefit; the widow of a Subedar Major would see her pension go up from Rs. 4830 to Rs. 9612. The widow of a major would get nearly Rs. 20,000 as opposed to Rs.8,460 that they receive now.
The ex-chiefs have said in their letter that the political delay in implementing the scheme has "not only triggered a process of politicization of the Indian military, but also served to inflict grave damage on its morale and self-esteem."
The letter says: "Soldiers, like flags and anthems, are emblematic of a nation's pride and honor. The very fact that the nation's military Veterans have had to take resort to agitational methods and that the government could tolerate their denigration or humiliation has come as a rude shock to all of us."
Alleging lack of political will, the letter urges the president to intervene as the Supreme Commander of the forces.