Ex-servicemen have threatened to intensify their agitation

What are the final blocks stopping the OROP scheme from implementationOROP (Facebook - Mission One Rank One Pension)
news Friday, August 28, 2015 - 10:44

The Centreā€™s efforts to break the deadlock over the demand for the One Rank-One Pension (OROP) scheme's implementation saw another failed attempt on Thursday night after ex-servicemen's representatives walked out during a meeting with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh.

Meanwhile, two other veterans were admitted to the hospital after their hunger strike resulted in their health condition deteriorating.

Scores of ex-servicemen have been protesting in New Delhi over the delay in implementing the OROP scheme and have threatened to intensify their agitation.

The OROP scheme ensures that a uniform pension be paid to the armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.

This also implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of the current pensioners and the past pensioners.

The government is close to coming to an agreement with the veterans but there is one main disagreement on the demand for annual adjustment of the pension.

According to a report in the Times of India, the Centre is finding it tough to concede the demand for annual revision due to possible implications on government spending.

Another logjam is that the government has offered to roll out the proposed OROP from April 2014, while the veterans want it to be implemented from January 2014, which would cost the government exchequer an additional couple of thousands of crores.

The demand for the OROP scheme was accepted by the UPA government in 2014 with the then Minister of Finance P Chidambaram introducing it in the interim budget.The decision was to come into effect in 2014-2015, but the scheme was not implemented.

Presently, reports suggest that the OROP scheme is getting delayed as it is an administrative nightmare for the government and one of the reasons for delay is because the file has been shuttling between the finance and defence ministries.

Other reports advise Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let the 7th Pay Commission find a way to implement the scheme in a practical manner in terms of bearing the financial cost and a reasonable method of linking the pensions of the past and future retirees.

There are around 24 lakh retired servicemen in India and around 6.5 lakh widows who will benefit if OROP is implemented.