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One rank, one pension: Govt looks at compromise but veterans stick to stand

Sources in the government, however, said it had no plans to agree to the veterans’ demand for equalisation of pension once in two years.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 5, 2015 8:11:08 am
OROP, OROP protests, OROP stir, OROP news, OROP latest news, one rank one pension OROP protests: “We reject any unilateral action by the government which does not meet our key demands,” said veterans.

The government is likely to announce the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme over the weekend as the Bihar poll schedule,which will bring the Model Code of Conduct into effect, is expected to be announced early next week.

Sources in the government, however, said it had no plans to agree to the veterans’ demand for equalisation of pension once in two years.

The sources added that the government would prefer to have the equalisation every five years, but it might be willing to consider the revision once in three years if the veterans come round to that formulation.

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However, the government is likely to agree to the veterans’ demand that the OROP scheme takes effect from 1 July 2014, with 2013 being the base year, the sources said.

A commission, with representation from veterans, is also likely to be set up to address any anomalies arising out of the OROP announcement, they added.

The veterans, who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for 82 days now, said they have not heard of any such proposal from the government. They also said that if such an announcement is made, it will be “unilateral”.

Major General (retd) Satbir Singh, chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, said the veterans will escalate their protests if all their demands were not implemented.

They would prefer that the equalisation of pension takes place every year, but the most they can agree to is the pensions being revised once in two years.

Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and lawyer Navdeep Singh, who were earlier mediating between the government and veterans along with former army chief General (retd) V P Malik have suggested that the ex-servicemen veterans accept the government’s offer.

A section of veterans, too, have expressed fears in social media that the protest might lose momentum if it is prolonged beyond Bihar elections. The implementation of OROP is likely to increase the defence pensions bill by more than Rs 8,000 crore. The defence pensions bill for the current financial year is Rs 54,500 crore.

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