Friday, December 4, 2015
V K Singh to mediate between govt and veterans on OROP
NEW DELHI TNN Dec 4, 2015, 01.31 PM IST : Former Army chief and minister of state for external affairs General V K Singh (retd) has been appointed as a mediator between the government and protesting military veterans over the one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme.
With the protest entering its 168th on Wednesday, the ex-servicemen will hold an 'Aakrosh' rally at Jantar Mantar on December 13, even as they are also contemplating whether to exercise the legal option to fight the government on the OROP issue.
The veterans said it was decided to appoint Gen Singh as a mediator in their meeting with defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday night. "Our focus and aim remains on the implementation of the OROP award without any dilution and to that extent we will continue to engage with the government for justice," said a veteran.
The OROP notified by the government on November 7 for the over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh widows in the country will entail an additional outgo of over Rs 8,000 crore every year, as reported by TOI earlier.
But the veterans say the government has not resolved any of the seven main anomalies pointed out by them. They are particularly incensed that the government did not accept their case for "pension equalization or adjustment" every year, and instead notified that it will be done only at five-year intervals. This, say the veterans, will mean "one rank, five pensions" and not OROP as it has been consistently defined.
An even bigger worry for the armed forces is the notification clause that serving personnel who now opt for premature retirement (PMR) or discharge will not get OROP benefits. "This is totally against the overarching aim to keep the armed forces young and fighting fit," said a senior officer.
"The entire cadre management of the forces, which have a steeply-pyramidal promotional structure, is dependent on hundreds of officers and thousands of jawans taking PMR every year after finishing their pensionable service. This ensures recruitment of young and fresh blood," he added.