Govt. disbursed over Rs.6,000 crore under OROP
Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said the Centre "has already disbursed Rs.6,285 crore as arrears under the 'one rank, one pension' scheme till now." Addressing the Armed Forces Veterans' Day function at Delhi, he said "veterans are an essential part of the armed forces family." The government has disbursed Rs.3,995 crore in the first instalment and Rs.2,291 crore in the second instalment.
OROP or One Rank One Pension was the basis for determining pension of Indian armed forces. Every soldier who retires in the same rank gets the same pension, irrespective of his date of retirement.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that OROP scheme would be implemented after the Bihar elections. He said that election commission was in no mood to allow him to implement it before the elections get over. He also clarified that those who get premature retirement would get OROP even in future. He said that the confusion regarding VRS was resolved by the government.
Demanding OROP benefits under the ex-servicemen category, ex-personnel of the paramilitary forces began a 3 day-protest. National General Secretary of AICPFEWA said that the protest was to request and inform the government that ex-paramilitary personnel were suffering. He said that their protest also had a demand for change in their common identity name from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to Central Paramilitary Forces.
Military veterans had decided to return their medals throughout the country in a protest against the delay in implementation of OROP. The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) said that medals would be returned in 647 districts of the country if the actual OROP was not implemented. They said that the government was treating them as if they were a burden on the nation.
The One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme's implementation was notified by the government for the over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country. The scheme would cost the government an additional Rs.8000- 10,000 crore every year. Soldiers who took pre-mature retirement would also be eligible for OROP. However, the soldiers who opt for it after implementation won't be eligible.
Rejecting the government's OROP, veterans said they would continue with the protest. Group Captain VK Gandhi (retd) said that they felt cheated by the government and would not accept their OROP. The government had failed to resolve any of the seven main oddities in the diluted OROP that was notified. They were also unhappy with government taking 2013 as base year for pension fixation.
The veterans wanted equalization of pension every year, or at least every two years, but the government has notified that it would happen only once in five years.
Veterans wanted the revised pensions to be fixed at the maximum of the pension being received by current retirees, but the government has announced that only an average of the maximum and minimum would be given. They also wanted a representation from the military and ex-servicemen in the judicial committee that look into anomalies of OROP, which the government did not agree with.
Ex-servicemen have threatened to start an intensified agitation if the government does not issue a fresh notification on the matter. IESM Chairman Satbir Singh stated that there are 7 major mistakes in the notification which need to be rectified. Arun Jaitley recently stated that most servicemen welcomed the OROP notification, a statement rejected as false and misleading by members of the IESM.
The State Bank of India proclaimed the discharge of 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) arrears to 7,75,000 defence pensioners. The bank released arrears worth Rs.1,465 crore as per the government rules. In November 2015, the government had formally announced the "OROP scheme for the more than 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country."
Protesting ex-servicemen suspended their 320-day-old agitation for complete implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP). They declared that they would approach SC on the matter. The leader of the protesting veterans, Major General (retd) Satbir Singh said senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani will take their battle to the SC. He said four more cases have been filed in the armed forces tribunal.
Now that the present OROP scheme has been diluted, the armed forces veterans want their military medals back. Around 20,000 medals have been returned in the last 8 years to pressurize the Centre to achieve the one rank one pension (OROP) scheme. They have written to the defence ministry requesting for the military decorations (lying at the office of the President) to be returned.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Rajya Sabha that there were certain anomalies in the implementation of the OROP. Jaitley said that "a committee, headed by a retired Judge, which is the judicial tribunal, is trying to resolve all unsettled views, all ambiguities and anomalies." However, no time frame was provided regarding the same.
Acting on the OROP issue, the government notified the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, the Ministry of Personnel about implementation pension benefits as recommended by the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC). Accordingly, OROP stands implemented with effect from December 2015 and beneficiaries would be paid arrears in the next few months. However disagreements continued over disability pension.
Celebrating Diwali with Army and ITBP personnel at Sumdo, Himachal Pradesh, PM Modi stated that the government fulfilled its promise of One Rank One Pension for ex-service personnel. He added that the first instalment of nearly Rs.5,500 crore has been paid for implementing the OROP scheme. PM Modi stated that the the money would be disbursed in four instalments.
A former army jawan Ram Kishen Grewal who was involved in the OROP protests, committed suicide, blaming the delay in implementing OROP as the reason. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to visit Grewal's family in Haryana. Grewal's son alleged that his father even called the family to inform them of his decision and motivation before committing the act.
In a video released by Congress Party, Jaswant Bamla, son of Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal who committed suicide over OROP dispute, alleges that he and his family were "abused and thrashed" by the police while trying to meet Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal from AAP were both detained by the Delhi Police while trying to meet his family. They have now been released.