Good news soon on OROP: Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today 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 a 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.

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.