Government announces OROP but veterans reject key provisions
New Delhi: Government on Saturday announced acceptance of the long-pending demand for 'One Rank One Pension' but the ex-servicemen who have been on agitation rejected the key details of the decision and said their 84-day long stir will continue.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced here that the government has decided to implement OROP under which there would be revision of pension every five years as against two years demanded by the ex-servicemen. The base year would be calender year 2013 for calculation of the OROP and it will be implemented from July 2014, Parrikar said while making it clear that ex-servicemen who have taken voluntary retirement would not be eligible for the scheme.
The government is also setting up a one-member judicial committee to work out details of implementation of the OROP which will file a report in six months, the Minister said.
Reacting to the announcement, leader of agitatin ex-servicemen Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh said while the veterans were satisfied with Government's intention to implement the OROP, they made it clear that the proposed benefits were not acceptable to them.
Rejecting the provisions for pension revision after every five years and keeping those who take VRS out of the scheme among others, Singh said, "According to us government has accepted one of our demands and rejected six...at this point we cannot withdraw the agitation based on these details."
Top defence ministry sources said interest of those armed forces personnel who had to take VRS due to injuries will be protected. "OROP is a complex issue. A thorough examination of interests of retirees of different periods and different ranks is needed. The inter-service issues of the three forces also require consideration. This is not an administrative matter alone," said Parrikar while maintaining that the estimated cost to implement the scheme would be Rs 8,000-10,000 crore.
On arrears, he said they will be paid in four half-yearly installments. However, all widows, including war widows, will be paid arrears in one installment. Expressing dissatisfaction over government's proposed benefits under OROP, Singh said, "We do not accept the decisions not to give OROP benefits to those who have taken premature retirement.
"We also disapprove setting up of one-member judicial committee." Asserting that they needed clarification on various issues, Singh said the agitation will continue and the future course of action will be decided shortly.