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Ex-servicemen give Center three weeks’ time to resolve OROP issue

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New Delhi: With the protest over ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) marking its 183rd day on Sunday, ex-servicemen gave the government three weeks’ time to resolve the issue, and warned of stringent steps after that.

“We have given the government two weeks, after that we will give one week’s notice. This disciplined agitation will change if the government does not listen to us,” spokesperson of the Indian Ex-Servicemen (IESM) movement Col. Anil Kaul (retd) told IANS at a rally at Jantar Mantar here.

He said the step was taken following a demand in this regard by ex-servicemen from across the country.

The veteran also said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement that most former soldiers were happy with the schemes has angered more ex-servicemen.

A member of the IESM told IANS that they had almost agreed to tone down the movement, but Jaitley’s statement irked several members.

Ex-servicemen from across the country on Sunday held a ‘Sainik Akrosh’ rally here to protest the government notification on OROP.

The veterans also said they will boycott the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.

The member also said a half-page advertisement that the veterans had given in a leading newspaper was stopped after the government’s intervention.

The protesting ex-servicemen, who have been agitating at Jantar Mantar for the last 183 days, claim that the OROP scheme announced by the government was different from its original definition that was agreed upon between the two sides.

“There is no demand… the (OROP) scheme that the parliament approved and the notification issued are different,” said Major General Satbir Singh (retd), who is spearheading the ex-servicemen’s agitation.

“There are seven major mistakes. They (government) are telling the nation they have given OROP but they have actually finished it,” he said.

Singh also slammed Jaitley for his alleged statement that more ex-servicemen were satisfied with the OROP scheme announced by the government.

“We are sad (that) Jaitley said most veterans have agreed to the scheme… it is a lie… look at the number of people who have come,” he said.

The IESM said around 10,000 people participated in the rally. (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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Modi tries to reach out on OROP, says he knows what army men feel

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Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reached out to the armed forces over the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) issue, and said he knows how officers feel when they are not promoted.

The OROP scheme approved by the government has not gone well with the veterans, with the agitation at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar protest site continuing for the 185th day on Tuesday.

Modi said the government will start programmes for skill training of retired officers.

“I know how an officer, in the prime of his youth, feels when he does not make the next grade, not because he was not outstanding or was less deserving, but because the room above was small,” Modi said at the Combined Commanders’ Conference held on board INS Vikramaditya.

“So, to honour your service and uphold your welfare will always be our solemn duty… For this reason, we have moved with speed to implement the One Rank One Pension promise that had remained unfulfilled for decades,” Modi said.

“And, we will build the National War Memorial and Museum that you so richly deserve in the heart of our nation’s capital.”

OROP, a war memorial and a veterans’ commission are the three demands from the ex-servicemen groups.

“We will also improve skills and opportunities for our ex-servicemen, so that when they leave the service, they can still serve the nation with pride and dignity,” he added.

Modi also paid tributes to the security forces.

Their valour and sacrifices defeat terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, reduce the violence of Left-wing extremism and keep our northeast more peaceful,” he said.

The conference was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh and Indian Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan along with top commanders of the three Services.(IANS)

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Govt appoints judicial committee to study OROP

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New Delhi: The government on Monday appointed a judicial committee to look into the implementation of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen.

The one-member committee would look into steps to be taken to remove anomalies arising out of the implementation of OROP, as notified by the government on November 7, an official statement said.

The committee comprising L Narasimha Reddy, a retired chief justice of Patna High Court, would take into account the financial impact of its recommendations before spelling out the same within six months.

The committee may submit interim reports to the government before the stipulated time.

The terms of reference of the committee will be to examine measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise in the implementation of the OROP, measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise out of inter-services issues of the three armed forces due to implementation of OROP, implications on service matters and any other matter referred by the central government on implementation of the OROP or related issues.

The committee will devise its own procedure and may call for such information and take such evidence as may be considered necessary.

“The ministries and departments of the government of India shall furnish such information and documents and other assistance as may be required by the committee,” the statement said.

Headquartered in Delhi, the committee will be supported by the department of ex-servicemen’s welfare under the defence ministry.(ians)

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