The government is ready with a draft proposal on One Rank One Pension or OROP and plans to make an announcement within the next two days, sources have said. But veterans on strike at Jantar Mantar say it is a “unilateral” decision by the government as they have not agreed to it.
NDTV has accessed the government’s draft proposal, which lays out about Rs. 8000 to 10,000 crore annually for the pension package and proposes to make OROP effective from 2014.
But the government has stuck to its ground that pension will be equalised or reviewed every five years and not every year, as demanded by the ex-servicemen. The government says eventually, discrepancies between the pension drawn by ex-servicemen who retired many years ago and those of the same rank who retire now and in the future, will disappear.
The veterans who have been on a strike in Delhi for 82 days now, say they have not heard of the government’s proposal and that if an announcement is made, it will be unilateral.
“The entire definition of One Rank One Pension changes if the review takes place every five years,” said an ex-serviceman.
The veterans and the government have been involved in negotiations for months now. The Prime Minister’s Office stepped in after the strike escalated into a hunger-strike last month when Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to announce OROP in his Independence Day speech on August 15.
In the last few weeks, almost all points of disagreement are said to have been resolved. Sources said that while the five-year review remains a sticking point, the government is banking on the protest losing steam, since some of the veterans want to accept the package on the terms the government is offering.
The draft proposal is being seen as the government’s final word on OROP, a two-decade-old demand that PM Modi had promised to implement when he was campaigning for last year’s national election. The veterans and also political rivals have repeatedly reminded the Prime Minister of his promise.
OROP will give the same pension to ex-servicemen who retired many years ago as that which soldiers of the same rank retiring now draw. There is a huge discrepancy right now. The scheme will benefit three million veterans
Source : NDTV