New Delhi: The long-pending 'One-Rank- One-Pension Scheme' for ex-servicemen was on Saturday night brought into force with Modi government issuing a notification which will benefit over 25 lakh veterans and war widows.
The notification said that in future, the pension would be re-fixed every 5 years. However, ex-servicemen had been demanding revision of pension every two years, if not one.
Another key element of the notification is that the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits.
"It will be effective prospectively," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted.
Press Release on Notification for implementation of OROP at https://t.co/t6ozedoKtg
— Sitanshu Kar (@SpokespersonMoD) November 7, 2015
However, the protesting ex-servicemen rejected the notification, saying their main demands have not been accepted and it has become "one-rank-five-pension."
The notification is almost similar to the announcement made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on September 5.
To begin with, pension would be re-fixed on the basis of pension of retirees of calendar year 2013 and the benefit will be effective with effect from July 1, 2014.
The veterans had demanded that the period for pension should be financial year 2013-14 and not the calender year. Also, they wanted April 1 as the effective date instead of July 1.
In his immediate reaction to the notification, Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement spearheading the protest, said, "The notification will not be acceptable to the rank and file. It is not One-Rank-One- Pension but One-Rank-Five-Pension".
According to a defence ministry statement, the pension of past pensioners would be re-fixed on the basis of pension of retirees of the 2013 calendar year and the benefit will be effective with effect from July 1, 2014.
Pension will be re-fixed for all pensioners on the basis of the average of minimum and maximum pension of personnel retiring in 2013 in the same rank and with the same length of service. Pension for those drawing above the average shall be protected.
Arrear will be paid in four equal half yearly installments.
However, all family pensioners, including those in receipt of special/liberalized family pensioners, and gallantry award winners shall be paid arrears in one installment.
"Personnel who opt to get discharged henceforth on their own request will not be entitled to the benefits of OROP. It will be effective prospectively. The government has decided to appoint a judicial committee to look into anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP. The Judicial Committee will submit its report in six months," the statement said.
It further said, "Detailed instructions along with tables indicating revised pension for each rank and each category, shall be issued separately for updation of pension and payment of arrears directly by Pension Disbursing Agencies."
"The annual expenditure on OROP would be Rs 8,000-10,000 crore at present and will increase further in future," the statement added.
(With Agency inputs)