PM to announce OROP on Independence Day?

PM to announce OROP on Independence Day?

NEW DELHI: Agitating military veterans, on a relay hunger strike for the last 57 days, are now hoping that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will announce the long-delayed implementation of one rank, one pension (OROP) from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15.

Some ex-servicemen say there “are concrete indications” that the government will announce OROP on Independence Day since “the file, after some heated disagreements between the finance and defence ministries, has finally reached the PMO”.

But others remain unconvinced, holding that many such deadlines have been set and ignored over the last one year. “But we are waiting till August 15. If the government fails to honour its promise by then, we will step-up our protests with hunger strikes around the country as well as a Maha Sangram Rally at Patna to demand our legitimate dues,” said a veteran.

The Modi government has accepted the OROP demand in principle — its implementation was one of the major promises made in the BJP manifesto in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls last year — but has struggled to “work out the modalities” with the finance ministry earlier rejecting the “formula” suggested by the defence ministry.

OROP basically implies payment of uniform pension to military personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Moreover, any further enhancement in pension rates is to be automatically passed on to past pensioners.

Critics cite financial, administrative and legal challenges to argue against implementation of one rank one pension scheme.

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