Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has completely ruled out annual revision of the pension under the recently announced ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) policy. The demand for the annual revision has been one of the sticky points in the whole OROP issue , pitched by the ex-servicemen in its several rounds of the talks with the government prior to the announcement last week. Parrikar ruled out any agreement on the contentious clause claiming that definition of the OROP does not specify any timeframe for the upgradation of pension.
“Definition of OROP does not specify any period for upgrade of pension. Their (ex-servicemen’s) demand to have annual upgradation of OROP cannot be considered because in the definition (of OROP) it is mentioned that pension should be upgraded but there is no period specified,” he said while speaking to the press in Panaji on Tuesday.
“The word used is automatic. But what should be the period is not specified. There is no clear-cut period mentioned,” the Union Defence minister added.
Though the policy of OROP for the ex-servicemen was announced last week by the BJP-led Central government, some issues still remain to be resolved between the two stakeholders. While the ex-servicemen have demanded pension revision every year or even after two years, the government on the other hand has decided to revise pension every five years.
The issues of pension revision, commission for the pension equalisation and question marks on the inclusion of personnel retiring on voluntary grounds hasn’t help break the impasse fully between the government and the ex-servicemen. Though the latter had called off their fast-unto-death protest at Jantar Mantar, they are still continuing with their agitation pressing for the immediate resolution of the pending issues.
“The relay hunger strike and pan-India agitation will continue till all anomalies are resolved. We thank the government for finally declaring OROP after a wait of 42 days,” Col (Retd) Anil Kaul had said earlier this week.
Notwithstanding the prevailing sticky points, the government has claimed that the OROP scheme will benefit around 22 lakh ex-servicemen. Elaborating on the financial liability of Rs 8000 crore per year for implementing OROP scheme, Defence minister Parrikar said, “Since such a huge amount was involved, it took time to complete all the procedure before announcing OROP”.
In addition, the Defence Minister also cited that OROP will not be applicable to the paramilitary services.
“It (OROP) is a military pension. The retirement conditions of military are different from paramilitary,” Manohar Parrikar said.
Meanwhile, the group of agitating ex-servicemen have been maintaining that they would organise a mega rally in the coming weekend to press for removal of “anomalies” in the OROP announced by the Union Government on Saturday.
(With inputs from the PTI)