Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the Indians about the launch of One rank One Pension Scheme for Ex-servicemen. The ex-servicemen wanted a dealine for the launch. Congress thought the problem was a “complex issue”.  Modi took an oath to solve the problem of the OROP issue in this month. He announced his decision in “Mann Ki Baat” programme. This program is showed on radio. PM Modi requested the Indian jawans to give him some time. They are going to start a protest on June 14 as per their plan. They are getting impatient for the delay in implementing it.

Lt. Gen Raj Kadyan thinks that their demand for OROP should be addressed immediately. They have the right to ask and they are not seeking dole from the government of India. The jawans will start to protest if they are not given the OROP. They will be forced to begin a protest. There are protest from the Congress party. They think that Modi government is going to create a confusion. They think the government is creating a complex issue but in reality the government needs some time.

UPA government implemented OROP earlier. They had allotted Rs 500 crore aside in February 2014. But after one year of power, you inform the citizens of India about its complexities.

Lt Gen (retd) Shankar Prasad praised the comments of Shri Modi. He projected himself before the Indians in an excellent way. Lt Gen (retd) PN Hoon also thinks that Modi government should solve this dispute concerning OROP issue. The scheme will be launched soon and it was started by the UPA government.

One Rank One Pension will bring parity in the pension for the defence personnel. Generally the defence personnel retire in the same rank and with the same tenure of their service. Their date of retirement may vary. During the Lok Sabha polls, BJP promised about OROP last year. But this scheme is soon going to be launched.

There is big difference in the pension drawn by defence personnel at their retirement. For example, when an army major retires before 1996 gets about 53% less pension, on the other hand, a major retiring after 2006, gets more amount in the pension given by the government. The military persons get less pension than the civilians. This resulted after the recommendations of Third Pay Commission in 1973. The commission overlooked the fact that a defence personnel works in a short time span in his career than a civilian. A civilian gets employment protection under the Disability Act. This is not given to the soldiers at the time of their retirement. The supreme court approved the demand of the soldiers for OROP (One Rank One Pension). A personnel guarding the borders is doing a great job for his country and he should be given high priority. There is a big payout in OROP e.g. Rs. 8750 at the initial level. The expenditure in the defence industry has to be streamlined.

The Modi government should take into account the non-operational flab. The duties of the army officers in escort duties needs to be controlled. There should be a good checking of manpower of armed forced and the infrastructure associated with it. The government must prove itself worthy by implementing OROP immediately. The armed forces has to be remodeled in a new way. There should be a new strategy in the army. The future wars will be different than the previous wars. The government must target at developing a cheap but an army with good equipments for fighting in the war. Priority should be given to the operation of special forces in the army. The teeth-to-tail ratio should be good.

The ex-servicemen are protesting against OROP due to its delay. They are not attending government functions and going to start a rally in New Delhi on June 14, 2015. They feel there is bureaucratic problem in the implementation of OROP. They think the government should explain the cause of this delay. Chairperson of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, Major General (Retd) Satbir Singh thinks the government run by Sri Narendra Modi is delaying OROP and not going to implement it. But Modi adviced the veterans to be patient. In India, there are 25 lakh war veterans. He urged the ex-servicemen to be patient as they were silent for 40 years. He asked from the veterans some time. He told them that One Rank One Pension Scheme is a complex issue.

The Prime Minister gave this statement in the All India Radio program on Mann Ki Baat. Sri Modi criticized how the previous government had kept OROP away from the scene for 40 years. The departments of the government are working together to implement OROP immediately. He said the government is taking full responsibility of implementing OROP. He remarked that he is beside the ex-servicemen as a normal Indian citizen also. He is sincerely beside their problem. He is beside those who have retired, those who gave their lives for India and also those who are protecting the borders of India. OROP involves paying pension uniformly to army personnel belonging to the same rank and working for the same period of time for the government. In protest against OROP, many defence personnels are returning their medals they had received from the government in 2008-09. They have seen that the government failed to meet deadlines. The government must fulfill the wishes of the ex-servicemen.

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CONTRIBUTOR: PRATANU BANERJEE

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