Saturday, April 9, 2016
Veterans' cautious nod to OROP provisions - Times of India
Dehradun: With the first increased salary for pensioners under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) system starting from last month, Army veterans in the city say they are happy with the hike, although quite a few feel that the promises made under the system in the beginning had still not been completely delivered and the government should have done more.
"We are thankful that OROP has turned into a reality but still all the conditions have not been met. We had asked for revision of the scheme every year but the government wants to do it every five years, which essentially kills the whole point of having OROP. Also, they have taken 2013 as the base year for calculating pension amount, whereas it should have been 2014. But taking the average of lowest and highest pensions in 2013 is also wrong. Why take the average at all? The arrears are being given from July 1, 2014 but we had asked them from April 1. Although we are happy, the provisions of OROP as discussed initially should have been maintained," said Brig (retd) K G Behl.
Col (retd) S C Tyagi, however, is quite content with the outcome. "This scheme has been pending since 1973, but no one bothered about it till now and it is a very good gesture on the part of the government. The monetary benefit is significant. People thought that those soldiers who were seeking voluntarily retirement will not get the benefits of the scheme. Not only they will get the benefits, we also stand to gain from the 7th Pay Commission," he said.
Echoing these thoughts, Brig (retd) B N Singh said, "I am glad that something has been done and a step has been taken in the right direction both for serving and retired soldiers. This has gone a long way in uplifting the morale of the armed forces. The government has taken care of two of our basic requirements - medical facilities and OROP. Although all our conditions might not have been met, we are still grateful to the government and hopeful that in due course of time all our requirements will be fulfilled."
"The execution of OROP is not completely satisfactory, though overall it is fine. Essentially it is not the money that matters but respect for the soldiers, which has been overlooked and is a cause of pain for us," said Col (retd) D S Bhandari, a veteran in the city. According to the scheme, pension arrears to widows and gallantry award winners will be paid in one go and others will get arrears in four equal installments starting from July 1, 2014.
(Source-Times of India)