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OROP issue: What Congress could not do in 43 years, BJP did it in 18 months

People and the media should not forget that OROP process started 43 years back and never ever came into picture as of now, the present modi government took just 18 months to make OROP to come into existence. The Modi government has been the most sympathetic to over 20 lakh ex-servicemen (ESM) and about six lakh war widows and especially this should not be forgotten by the present retired personal attacking the modi government over the pension anomalies as it is still taking a shape.

As per defence minister Manohar Parrikar, Only one lakh ex-servicemen are not getting pensions as per the Orop scheme due to some technical difficulty or documentation problems. We will resolve them in the coming two months. the Orop process will take another two more months to be fully completed. “Within 18 months, we resolved the 43-year-old OROP issue to high satisfaction levels, and all pending issues will be resolved shortly," he said, adding, “Most of the pending issues have been inherited by this government. Barring the disability pension, most other issues have their origin in the Sixth Pay Commission, which we are committed to resolve. It is inappropriate to allow vested interest groups to deliberately build a narrative that is factually baseless and devoid of merit."

The BJP government officially notified on 7 November, 2015 the implementation of the Orop scheme, equal pension for equal number of years in the service in the same rank. Orop was to be implemented with effect from 1 July, 2014, fixed on the basis of the calendar year 2013. Arrears will be paid in four half-yearly instalments, but all widows, including war widows, would be paid arrears in one instalment. The pension has been re-fixed for all pensioners as the average of minimum and maximum pension in 2013. Those drawing pensions above the average will be protected.

Annual expenditure on the Orop scheme: Rs 7, 500 crore(Aprox).

Arrears from 1 July, 2014 (the date of implementation as announced by the government — till 31 December, 2015, will be approximately: Rs 10,900 crore.

This has pushed the defence budget for pensions from Rs 54, 000 crore to around Rs 65, 000 crore. This is an increase of about 20 percent of the defence pension outlay.

Now the question is who are mainly unsatisfied by the OROP, it is not majorly the military personals but it is the opposition parties who are against. Leaders like Derek O’Brian, Rahul Gandhi, Capt Amarinder Singh, Brinda Karat and Arvind Kejriwal. This is rather strange since the differences between the notification and demands are very minor. And here too, the government is open to rectify anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of Orop, through a Judicial Committee, which, headed by a Supreme Court judge.

Veterans were receiving Orop until 1971, the year when the Indira Gandhi government cut down military pension from 70 percent of the last pay drawn to 50 percent of the last pay drawn and increased

The Orop was there for all those, whether in civil service or in the military, who reached their super-time scales (the basic of Rs 80000 per month and above). The secretary rank in civil service, Lt Generals and their equivalents in commander ranks in the military do get the Orop after their retirement. But then, given the fact that most in the military retire much earlier than 60 years of age, the Orop demand was very much legitimate, particularly when it was abruptly ended by the then Congress government, that too after the military gave the country a splendid victory in the 1971 war. Since then, the veterans have been fighting for this injustice to be rectified.

According to Parrikar, “The announcement of One Rank, One Pension (Orop) by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is the culmination of 40 years of wait by the Veterans and Widows. It is our country’s thanksgiving to them for decades of service and sacrifice. This decision makes Orop the biggest and most significant welfare measure for veterans in Post-Independent India by any Government and for that I thank Prime Minister Modi, Defence Minister Parrikar and Finance Minister Jaitley and the Government for the fulfilling this important promise. For me personally, today’s announcement marks 9 years of struggle and perseverance on Orop — starting with the dark days of proud veterans giving up their medals in 2006. Orop was one of the first issues I took up after I joined active politics—and expectedly today is a big day for me personally and for my time in public service. Apart from raising it repeatedly in Parliament and media to the point that I was even called ‘Orop Rajeev’ by many political leaders. I have also had the honour of sitting with veterans in many protests in Bengaluru and Delhi, including at Jantar Mantar."