While the agitating ex-servicemen have given the government an ultimatum to implement the One Rank One Pension scheme, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that Centre has approved OROP in principle some modalities still need to be worked out.
“All I can say is that we have approved OROP in principle, some holes are yet to be filled. Please give us more time,” Parrikar said.
The Defence Minister’s statement comes even as sources said that the government wanted to announce OROP on Friday on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
The government has been unable to placate the protesting veterans and reach a compromise formula on the revision of pension. The talks between the government and ex-servicemen broke down on Thursday night.
While the government is in favour of revising the pension every five years, the ex-servicemen want revision annually or in every two years.
The government had made three proposals for implementing One Rank One Pension but they were rejected by the veterans. The government wanted the scheme to be in effect from April 1, 2015 but ex-servicemen say the scheme has to be in effect from April 1, 2014. The government wants 2011 to be the base year for pension which veterans say dilutes the principle of OROP.
The OROP scheme was sanctioned by both UPA and NDA government and has got legal sanction from the Supreme Court.
Ten veterans have joined fast unto death till now in demand for OROP. Those on fast include Colonel Pushpender Singh, Havaldar Ashok Chauhan, Havaldar Major Singh, Havaldar Sahib Singh, Major Piar Chand Rana, Naik Uday Singh Rawat and former Navy personnel Commander AK Sharma along with Sanwal Ram Yadav, father of martyr Lance Naik Sunil Kumar Yadav. The latest to join the fast are Subedar (retired) Vijay Singh Yadav and SWR Keshav Singh.
The veterans and war widows have been demanding One Rank One Pension which means that a retired soldier of the same rank and length of service will receive the same pension, regardless of his or her date of leaving the Indian Army, Indian Navy or Indian Air Force.
Calling it their legitimate right, veterans are on protest at Jantar Mantar for the last 74 days and will continue till it is implemented.