OROP roll-out on the cards; Differences yet to pan out

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

PM Narendra Modi led government is expected to make an announcement about ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) on Saturday. Even as the Union Defence Ministry is believed to hold a press conference on the subject Saturday afternoon, certain key differences between the government and the striking ex-servicemen still persist. Earlier on Friday, the armed forces veterans, sitting on a protest since 83 days at Jantar Mantar, made it clear that any unilateral decision on the part of government will not be accepted.

“There are reports that the government may soon unilaterally declare the implementation of OROP. If it is as per our terms and conditions then we will welcome it and thank the government…If not, then the unilateral declaration is unacceptable to us. We will intensify our protests,” Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen movement had said.

In an early morning development, the striking veterans are all set to meet Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar Saturday, well before the ministry is expected to make an announcement.

The possibility of an announcement was being talked about in official circles, although ex-servicemen maintained that there was no agreement on revision of pension. The ex-servicemen have indicated that they may accept a revision every two years but the government has been insisting that equalisation will happen once in five years.

According to the official sources, a draft proposal on OROP was circulated at the RSS meeting on Friday. The former has been asking the NDA government to resolve the issue on priority basis.

According to the draft, the basis for the implementation of the scheme would be 2013 and arrears would be paid in four installments. However, the draft proposal has seemingly failed to pacify the striking veterans as they had already threatened to intensify their stir if the government makes any unilateral announcement regarding implementation of OROP which is not in consonance with the terms and conditions set by the defence veterans.

The emotive issue of OROP, whose implementation has been promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, has been stuck for a while despite hectic back channel talks between the government and the veterans. Earlier, many ex-chief of the three services had even separately written to the President and the Prime Minister seeking their direct intervention to resolve the issue.

The issue of OROP assumes significant proportions as it was one of the key agendas of the BJP and PM Narendra Modi during 2014 Lok Sabha polls campaign. And with the issue nearing a deadlock, BJP-led central government seems to have a limited time window.

(With inputs from the PTI)