Wednesday, February 18, 2015

One rank, one pension likely to be in budget

Feb 18 2015 : The Times of India (Hyderabad)

The much-awaited “one rank, one pension (OROP)'' for the armed forces is   likely to be part of the Union budget, and could be implemented soon thereafter with the government defining “military pension'' as category  separate from other kinds of pension.

An estimated Rs 8,000 cr is likely to be allocated by the government to fulfill its commitment to the over 25 lakh exservicemen, who have been stridently demanding OROP for several years without much success despite all parties   promising its implementation. The UPA Govt had decided to implement OROP and provided a corpus of Rs 500 cr. After coming to power, NDA increased  the amount to Rs 1,000 cr. Governments in the past have contended that granting of full OROP was neither financially nor administratively possible since it could lead to a cascading effect with similar demands being made by paramilitary personnel, among other things.

But sources said the Govt this time has decided that the military personnel,  who retire at a much earlier age and undergo life-threatening postings, can not be equated with other government employees. Both the Finance and Defence Ministers, Arun Jaitely and Manohar Parrikar, have approved the step. OROP basically implies payment of uniform pension to personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. “Military pension as a category has been defined as separate from others based on a series of criteria. This takes into account the hardship factor like being posted in far-flung areas, risky life-threatening duties and long hours of hardship,“ a source said.