Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday told reporters that one lakh defence personnel were yet to get the full benefit of the One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP). Parrikar admitted there was a technical issue in the implementation of the scheme and promised to resolve the issue soon. “1 lakh defence personnel are yet to get full benefit of OROP. There is some technical issue, we will soon sort out the paperwork,” said Parrikar.
Parrikar said the government is sensitive to OROP issue as it was not implemented for the past 43 years. “We did it. Every year Rs 7,500 crore (will be incurred) and Rs 11,000 crore arrears have been paid. There has been 23 to 24 per cent average increase in pension,” he added.
After interacting and listening to the problems of the ex-servicemen, Parikkar assured them that their grievances would be resolved. “Whatever (problems) has been conveyed to me today will be resolved by the time I come again. Today, I was given 10 minutes for an interaction with you but I extended it to 40 minutes. Next time, I will spend half a day with you,” he said, adding he will make all efforts to resolve the problmes of the ex-servicemen.
“Several of these (problems) will be resolved at the local level. I know that the reservation (benefits) and facilities of the state government have not been fully extended to you.
“I will seek a report from the state government on this issue. The facilities of central government will also be extended to you. I will look into it. I will find solution to the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) problem also,” he said.
The defence minister’s statement comes a day after ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal allegedly committed suicide over the “non-implementation” of the OROP scheme. Grewal consumed poison after allegedly being denied permission to meet Parrikar and hand over a petition on “full implementation” of the scheme. Parrikar had sought details on the case. Union Minister V K Singh, however, questioned the “mental state” of Grewal. “He has committed suicide. No one knows the reason behind it. OROP is being shown as the reason. What his mental state was we do not know. Let it be probed first. OROP should be kept above politics,” Singh told reporters. The death of the 70-year-old ex-serviceman triggered a political storm in Delhi, with police detaining Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Grewal’s two sons.
with PTI inputs