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Government is committed and in the final stages of implementing OROP : Prime Minister

Government is committed and in the final stages of implementing OROP : Prime Minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged today that he is yet to reach a resolution on the One Rank One Pension demand of ex-servicemen, but promised that his government had “accepted OROP in principle.”

An announcement on the implementation of One Rank One Pension or OROP was expected to be the centrepiece of the PM’s Independence Day address today. But talks between ex-servicemen and the government got stuck at the last minute on what the PM today called “nitty gritty details”.

“It has been stuck for 20 years… OROP was considered by all governments, but there is no resolution yet. Even I haven’t been able to solve it,” the PM said at the end of nearly 90-minute address to the nation from the Red Fort.

But he promised, “Let me assure all veterans… we are committed and we are in the final stages of deciding.”

Not far from the Red Fort, ex-servicemen sitting on a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, the designated site for protests in Delhi, watched the PM’s address on a large TV screen and said they were severely disappointed that he had not announced OROP.

‘PM says Team India , Team India. Are we not Team India,’ asked an angry army veteran, referring to the phrase that the Prime Minister generously used in his speech this morning.

Former Army officers and soldiers have demanded the same pension as those of the same rank who are retiring now. Right now, an officer who retired many years ago is paid far less than someone several ranks junior to him.

Talks are said to be stuck on the date of commencement. The veterans have rejected the government proposal to benchmark pensions at 2011 rates. They insist that 2014 rates must apply as that is when the Modi government promised OROP.

Government sources say to do that, it will need to provision for a massive Rs. 20,000 crore, rather than the Rs. 8,000 crore that the scheme is otherwise expected to cost.


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