" As far as the Defence Ministry is concerned, our work is almost over", says the Defence Minister

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said there will be “good news” soon on the issue of One Rank One Pension, a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen who have been holding protests across the nation. “It’s an inter-departmental issue. As far as the Defence Ministry is concerned, our work is almost over. This is taking time but I can say that there will be good news soon,” he said.
Ex-servicemen have been protesting since last month to press for the implementation of One Rank, One Pension. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that his government is committed to the long-awaited One Rank, One Pension (OROP) policy for ex-servicemen.
Currently, the pension of retired personnel is based on the pay commission recommendations in force at the time of their retirement.
OROP scheme is aimed at ensuring that all retired soldiers, who have the same rank and the length of service receive the same amount of pension, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, all those soldiers who retired before 2006 receive less pension than their counterparts and even their juniors.Mr. Parrikar, who was here to inaugurate an orientation programme for newly-elected Cantonment Board Members, said the Defence Ministry will not be an hindrance in developmental projects.
“The ministry will not be creating hurdles in developmental projects. We have given land for developmental works wherever needed. However, we will not compromise with the security issue,” he said in reply to a question.The Minister also hinted at amendments in Cantonments Board Act, 2006.
The Cantonments Act, 2006 authorises the Cantonment Boards to take up a number of activities including for social welfare subject to availability of funds. The Orientation Programme will bring together at one forum 163 elected members of 24 Cantonment Boards, 114 of them being first-timers, to deliberate on key issues pertaining to the Cantonment Board administration.
The Boards have to perform both municipal and developmental activities and have the power to impose various taxes and fees. The programme is being held for the first time as part of an initiative taken by the Director General, Defence Estates.
'Capable of securing borders'
The Defence Minister dismissed his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif’s statement on use of nuclear weapons, saying India is capable of securing its borders.“Answer to every question is not necessary. I am Defence Minister of India, not Pakistan. India is capable of securing its borders,” he said.Mr. Parrikar was asked to comment on Mr. Asif’s statement that use of nuclear weapons was an option as they were not kept merely for show but as deterrents.
Mr. Asif had said in a television interview that if Pakistan needed to use nuclear weapons for “our survival, we will“.
Lucknow: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday reiterated that the Narendra Modigovernment was committed to 'One Rank One Pension' scheme for ther armed forces, and added it would be implemented at an appropriate time. His assurance came a day after ex-servicemen held a relay hunger strike in Delhi to press their demand for 'One Rank One Pension', and said they would request no more for a meeting with Parrikar after a promised meeting failed to materialise on Wednesday. "There are some stumbling blocks (in the implementation of OROP) and efforts are being made to remove them," the defence minister said.
Parrikar also asked journalists not to hazard a guess on the date of implementation of the scheme and said that everyone would come to know of it in due course of time. Responding to Pakistani defence minister's recent comment on the use of nuclear weapons in case of a face-off with India, Parrikar said, "The nation is competent to meet any threat." Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh, was in the state capital to attend a function at the Cantonment Board.
He said all possible help would be extended to the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation regarding problems related to the route of the ambitious project through the Cantonment area. "Whatever plans and proposals are sent to the defence ministry will be dealt with a positive and forward-looking approach," he added.