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OROP: Veterans accuse government of cheating them, return medals

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New Delhi: Ex-servicemen protesting against the notification on the implementation of One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme on Tuesday returned their gallantry and other medals, accusing the government of cheating them.

Retired military personnel say the government has betrayed them in the name of making changes in the OROP scheme.

“OROP scheme was cleared by parliament. Then why were the changes made in the scheme? Why did they put conditions?” former Group Captain V.K. Gandhi, general secretary of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, told IANS.

“We returned 20,000 medals during 2009, 2010 and 2011. But at that time the then government had said they were working on the OROP scheme. But the present government is cheating us. They reduced the scheme to ‘One Rank Five Pension’ scheme,” Gandhi added.

The veterans have listed seven changes made by the government, which include annual equalization, 2013-14 financial years as the base year for calculating pension, and taking the highest pension scale of 2013 as the base for calculation and not the average as announced by the government.

The new scheme also states that it will be reviewed once in five years and not annually.

Gandhi said the veterans demanded reconsideration on the changes made by the government in the implementation of the OROP scheme.

Earlier, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said ex-servicemen protesting against the OROP notification were misguided.

He said while everyone had a right to make a demand in a democracy, not all demands can be fulfilled.

(IANS)

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OROP estimates annual expenditure at Rs 7500 crore, arrears at Rs 10,900 crore

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New Delhi: The defence ministry on Wednesday estimated the annual expenditure of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme to be around Rs 7,500 crore.

The arrears from July 1, 2014- the date of implementation as announced by the government- until December 31, 2015, will be approximately Rs.10,900 crore, the ministry said in a statement.

This is set to push the defence budget for pensions, which is estimated to go up from Rs.54,000 crore as per Budget estimates of 2015-16 to around Rs.65,000 crore, the proposed Budget estimate for 2016-17.

This is an increase of about 20 percent of the defence pension outlay.

The statement said 86 percent of the total expenditure on account of OROP will benefit Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and other ranks.

“The government of India had taken the historic decision to implement OROP in November 2015. This fulfilled the long standing demand of the defence forces personnel after 42 years benefited over 18 lakh ex-servicemen and war widows,” the statement said.

Payment of arrears and revision of pension under OROP is to be made by the Pension Disbursing Authorities in four installments, except for family pensioners and pensioners in receipt of gallantry awards who will be paid arrears in one installment.

Asked about the development, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement spokesperson Col Anil Kaul (retd) said it “seemed ok”, but they would be studying it and come out with a detailed reaction later.

“We are still studying it. It seems ok… so far it seems to be almost there, except that they are paying out from July (2014), not April,” Col Kaul told reporters. (IANS) (picture courtesy: huffingtonpost.in)

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