Govt Announces OROP, 'Betrayed' Veterans Vow To Continue Agitation

| September 5 , 2015 , 14:51 IST
Government on Saturday announced acceptance of the long-pending demand for 'One Rank One Pension' but the ex-servicemen who have been on agitation rejected the key details of the decision and said their 84-day long stir will continue. Leaders of agitating ex-servicemen over OROP met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Saturday night after which they said the government was likely to come out with a "clarification" on its applicability to those who have opted for premature retirement. Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who met the Minister along with few others, for the second time today, said the veterans would take a call on continuance of the agitation, that entered its 84th day, after a core committee meeting of the veterans. "Defence Minister has confirmed that there is no VRS in defence services and so OROP will be applicable in PMR (Pre-mature Retirement). An official note would be given in a day or two after having a word with the Prime Minister. Parrikar has confirmed that he would give a clarification on Sunday evening or on Monday. As far as Defence Minister and we are concerned that clause goes," Singh told reporters. Singh said he was "satisfied" with the Minister's statement. However, he said,"..there are other issues which are yet to be done but the major issue is PMR which unnecessarily got put in. It was not required to be part of the note. How it has come we do not know." Earlier, Defence Minister Parrikar announced in New Delhi that the government has decided to implement OROP under which there would be revision of pension every five years as against two years demanded by the ex-servicemen. The base year would be calender year 2013 for calculation of the OROP and it will be implemented from July 2014, Parrikar said while making it clear that ex-servicemen who have taken voluntary retirement would not be eligible for the scheme. The government is also setting up a one-member judicial committee to work out details of implementation of the OROP which will file a report in six months, the Minister said. However, the agitating ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar later said they were not fully satisfied with the announcement as "the government while accepting one of their demands has rejected other six." ALSO READ: Accept Terms Of OROP Or Get Nothing, Omar Abdullah’s Message To Veterans Reacting to the announcement, leader of agitating ex-servicemen Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh said while the veterans were satisfied with Government's intention to implement the OROP, they made it clear that the proposed benefits were not acceptable to them. Rejecting the provisions for pension revision after every five years and keeping those who take VRS out of the scheme among others, Singh said, "According to us government has accepted one of our demands and rejected this point we cannot withdraw the agitation based on these details." Top defence ministry sources said interest of those armed forces personnel who had to take VRS due to injuries will be protected. ALSO READ: OROP Stir: Ex-Servicemen Seek Meeting With PM Modi, May Step Up Protests "OROP is a complex issue. A thorough examination of interests of retirees of different periods and different ranks is needed. The inter-service issues of the three forces also require consideration. This is not an administrative matter alone," said Parrikar while maintaining that the estimated cost to implement the scheme would be Rs 8,000-10,000 crore. On arrears, he said they will be paid in four half-yearly installments. However, all widows, including war widows, will be paid arrears in one installment. Expressing dissatisfaction over government's proposed benefits under OROP, Singh said, "We do not accept the decisions not to give OROP benefits to those who have taken premature retirement. "We also disapprove setting up of one-member judicial committee." Asserting that they needed clarification on various issues, Singh said the agitation will continue and the future course of action will be decided shortly. Here's a look at the highlights of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and ex-servicemen's press conferences: OROP8 OROP7. OROP6OROP5OROP4 OROP3 OROP2 OROP1
Agitating ex-servicemen to decide future course of action in response to defence ministry announcement shortly: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh
Want clarifications on issues like pre-mature retirement benefits and averaging of pension: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh
We accept only the implementation of OROP and reject every other point: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh |
Govt has accepted our one point only and they have rejected the other six points: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh
We don't accept the decision not to give OROP benefits to those who have taken voluntary retirement: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh
We reject one-man judicial panel for six months proposal to examine OROP: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh
We want a clarification on the VRS issue, if they still don't accept then it is a big blow to the forces: Major General (retd) Satbir Singh
As it looks, OROP is cleared by the government; Manohar Parrikar also spoke of the cost to exchequer: Major Gen (Retired) Satbir Singh
We are satisfied with the OROP implementation: Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh
Major Gen (retd.) Satbir Singh speaking on OROP implementation
Ex-servicemen address media following Defence Minister's Manohar Parrikar
OROP implies that uniform pension be paid to armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with same length of service: Manohar Parrikar
Pension will be re-fixed for all pensioners retiring in same rank and same length of service: Manohar Parrikar
I appeal to the veterans now to continue the task of nation building: Manohar Parrikar
Despite huge financial burden, govt has taken a decision to implement OROP: Manohar Parrikar
Personnel who retire voluntarily will not be covered under OROP scheme: Manohar Parrikar
Pension of ex-servicemen will be revised every five years: Manohar Parrikar
The OROP review will occur every 5 years. Scheme to be effective from 1 July 2014. Arrears in half-yearly installments: Manohar Parrikar
The previous government had estimated 500 crore. However, the reality is OROP would cost 8000 crore to exchequer: Manohar Parrikar
The government has taken a decision to implement OROP: Manohar Parrikar
It is a matter of deep anguish that various governments remained ambivalent on OROP issue, says Manohar Parrikar
PM Narendra Modi has on many occasions reiterated this Govt's commitment to implement OROP: Manohar Parrikar
The issue of OROP has been pending for the last three decades: Manohar Parrikar
The government of India respects its forces: Manohar Parrikar
The Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar addresses media in this regard.
-Defence minister Manohar Parrikar to brief media at 3 PM -Ex-servicemen say Govt has broadly accepted the concept of OROP: Reports -We’ll decide on our protest after the Defence Minister’s statement that is expected shortly, say ex-servicemen -OROP implementation from July,2014, revision after 5 years: Reports -No junior should get more pension than senior, say ex-servicemen -We have told them there is nothing like VRS in defence: Veterans -Government accepts OROP concept: Ex-servicemen after meeting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Though military veterans are insisting the pensions be revised at least once every two years, the government is determined to stick to its position on a five-year reset clause. The decision to opt for a five-year timeframe — as against 10 years for civilians — factors complications resulting from a quicker adjustment. The ex-servicemen had originally demanded an annual adjustment. [caption id="attachment_118008" align="aligncenter" width="700"]OROP (Image: PTI)[/caption] ALSO READ: OROP Stir: No Solution Yet, Talks Stuck Over Pension Revision Military veterans have been on an indefinite hunger strike in the national capital, demanding the implementation of the long-awaited proposal which ensures pension parity. Ex-servicemen on Friday sought the implementation of One Rank-One Pesnion (OROP) and demanded a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and vowed to intensify their agitation if their demands were not met. Leaders of retired soldiers holding a dragging protest in the heart of the capital said they had written five times to the prime minister but there had been no response. ALSO READ: OROP Stir: Govt, Veterans Close To Striking A Bargain! “We have written five times to the prime minister seeking a direct meeting,” Major General Satbir Singh (retired) told the media. “We would like to meet him.” Earlier, saying the government was planning to make a unilateral announcement of One Rank One Pension, he said the ex-servicemen would not allow the authorities to dilute the OROP’s provisions. Addressing retired soldiers at the Jantar Mantar protest venue, Satbir Singh said they were fighting against “injustice” and were not against any government or political party. He pointed out that unlike civil servants, only one percent of military personnel serve up to the age of 60 and that 85 percent retire before the age of 40. “We will intensify our agitation if OROP is not in conformity with what we are asking,” he said, adding that they were, however, willing to make minor concessions. “If any announcement (by the government) is against our interests, we will oppose it,” he added. Satbir Singh described the Jantar Mantar protest site in the heart of the national capital as a “Sainik parliament”. As he spoke, hundreds of former soldiers repeatedly raised slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Sainik Ekta Zindabad!”. Ex-servicemen began their protest here demanding implementation of OROP in June. Some have been on indefinite fast since August 17. Relay hunger strikes in solidarity are being observed in some 60 cities. Meanwhile, informed sources said the government was likely to make public the OROP scheme despite differences on key issues with ex-servicemen. A draft of the scheme was ready and was likely to be made public soon, the sources said, adding the government had taken 2013 as the base year to determine pension. The date of implementation would be July 2014. The sources said an agreement had been reached between the government and veterans on both issues. But the government would review pensions only once in five years, which is not acceptable to the veterans. The ex-servicemen had agreed to go for revision once in two years, even as they said it would mean that 11 percent of the seniors who have retired would get lower pension than their juniors for a year. A key demand of the ex-servicemen is that juniors should not get higher pension that seniors at any time. (With IANS inputs)

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