Times of India, Himanshi Dhawan & Rajat Pandit,TNN | Feb 18, 2015, 05.14 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The much-awaited "one rank, one pension (OROP)'' for the armed forces is likely to be part of the Union budget, and could be implemented soon thereafter with the government defining "military pension'' as a category separate from other kinds of pension.
An estimated Rs 8,000 crore is likely to be allocated by the government to fulfill its commitment to the over 25 lakh ex-servicemen, who have been stridently demanding OROP for several years without much success despite all political parties promising its implementation.
Successive governments in the past have contended that granting of full OROP was neither financially nor administratively possible since it could lead to a cascading effect with similar demands being made by paramilitary personnel, among other things.
But sources said the government this time has decided that the military personnel, who retire at a much earlier age and undergo life-threatening postings, cannot be equated with other government employees. Both the finance and defence ministers, Arun Jaitely and Manohar Parrikar, have approved the step. OROP basically implies payment of uniform pension to personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
"Military pension as a category has been defined as separate from others based on a series of criteria. This takes into account the hardship factor like being posted in far-flung areas, risky life-threatening duties and long hours of hardship," a source said.
The arguments that will differentiate pensions earned by the armed forces from that of others, including paramilitary forces, is that they are the last line of defence and their pay and pension must be motivational and inspirational.
The government has also taken into account the fact that soldiers, airmen and sailors retire much earlier than their civilian counterparts and receive "aborted pension'' rather than "matured pension'' as compared to those serving in the BSF or CRPF.
"A majority of soldiers retire at an average of 34 years and receive only aborted pension as compared to those serving in paramilitary. It is also a job which has considerable hardship whether it is the life expectancy or the 24-hour nature of the work,'' the source said.
The previous UPA government had decided to implement OROP and provided a corpus of Rs 500 crore. After coming to power, NDA increased the amount to Rs 1,000 crore.