Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the demand of armed forces veterans for annual revision of pension under “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) scheme could not be considered as definition of OROP does not specify any timeframe for upgradation of pension.
“Definition of OROP does not specify any period for upgrade of pension. Their (ex-servicemen’s) demand to have annual upgradation of OROP cannot be considered because in the definition (of OROP) it is mentioned that pension should be upgraded but there is no period specified.
..The word used is automatic. But what should be the period is not specified. There is no clear-cut period mentioned,” Parrikar told reporters here.
Explaining government’s interpretation, he said, “We have taken the period as five years (for revision of pension under OROP) as usually ten-year is a period for any wage revision.”
He said OROP will benefit around 22 lakh ex-servicemen.
The timeframe for revision of pension remains one of the sticking points between government and veterans who have been agitating in national capital for over a month.
While government has said it will revise pension every five years, veterans want it to be re-fixed annually or at least every two years.
Parrikar reiterated that unlike civil services the concept of Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) does not exist in military.
He said union government will have to incur a financial liability of Rs 8000 crore per year for implementing OROP.
“Since such a huge amount was involved, it took time to complete all the procedure before announcing OROP,” he said responding to a query.
Parrikar said OROP will not be applicable to paramilitary services.
“It (OROP) is a military pension. The retirement conditions of military are different from paramilitary,” he said.
Responding to a question, the minister said fencing of the India-Bangladesh border is almost completed barring a few places.
“India-Bangladesh border is already fenced except at few places. The dispute around these places would be settled within six months following which it would be fenced,” he added.
Ex-servicemen, who have been agitating in Delhi, had yesterday said they would organise a mega rally this weekend to press for removal of “anomalies” in the OROP announced by government on Saturday.