Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that armed forces personnel who retired prematurely will be entitled to benefits under ‘one rank one pension (OROP)’, reaching out to ex-servicemen a day after his government announced the scheme but differences cropped up over entitlements to those who opted for the voluntary retirement scheme(VRS).
“VRS key naam pe bhram failaya jaa raha hai (Some people are trying to spread confusion in the name of VRS),” Modi said at a rally in Faridabad.
Modi stressed his government had delivered on the OROP promise, even though the scheme was stuck for more than four decades and the previous regimes failed to make a breakthrough.
The government announced on Saturday the scheme will be implemented with effect from July 1, 2014, with arrears amounting to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore.
While war widows will get arrears in total, others will be paid in four half-yearly instalments. While announcing the scheme, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said pensions would be re-calculated every five years but military personnel who took “voluntary retirement” will not be entitled to OROP.
The veterans, who have been holding protests across the country for more than two months, want the pension to be reviewed every two years and the benefits of the scheme extended to those who retired voluntarily or prematurely from the armed forces.
Another bone of contention is the government’s decision to set up a single-member judicial committee to look into different aspects of OROP, including inter-services matters. The government said the panel will submit its report in six months but veterans want a deadline of 30 days. They also demanded that the panel have five members, including three veterans.