LIVE | Govt Accepts OROP Concept, Claim Ex-Servicemen; Manohar Parrikar To Address Media Shortly

| September 5 , 2015 , 09:59 IST
A delegation of ex-servicemen met defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday amid the reports that the government may announce One Rank One Pension (OROP) today. Army chief Dalbir Singh also part of the meeting, a report said. After the meeting with veterans, Parrikar visited BJP chief Amit Shah to discuss the issue. Narendra Modi-led BJP government is likely to announce the implementation of One Rank One Pension or OROP on Saturday. [caption id="attachment_118008" align="aligncenter" width="700"]OROP (Image: PTI)[/caption] According to reports, the government has prepared an OROP draft, which can be considered as an effort to end the ongoing hunger strike of the veterans. This announcement is likely to come at around 3 PM. Here are the latest updates: -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. 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)