TNN | May 25, 2015, 04.25 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The government is finally set to announce the implementation of the one-rank, one-pension (OROP) mechanism with a corpus of about Rs 8,300 crore for over 25 lakh ex-servicemen, who have been demanding it for long but are yet to get it despite years of protest.
Government sources on Sunday said OROP is likely to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Mathura on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the NDA government.
Incidentally, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former defence minister A K Antony had both attacked the NDA government on Saturday for "criminal inaction" in delaying the rollout of OROP since they claimed the previous UPA government had announced it in February 2014.
As first reported by TOI, the Modi government has defined "military pension" as a category separate from other kinds of pensions to justify implementation of OROP since soldiers, sailors and airmen as well as their officers retire at a much younger age than other government employees.
OROP basically implies payment of a uniform pension to personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. For instance, two officers who served as colonels for seven years will get the same pension even if they retired a decade apart.
Successive governments in the past had contended that granting full OROP was neither financially nor administratively possible since it could lead to a cascading effect with similar demands being made by others like paramilitary personnel. But the government is convinced that the service conditions of other government employees simply cannot be equated with those of military personnel, who retire at a much earlier age and undergo prolonged hardship tenures. The majority of soldiers, for instance, retire when they are just 34-35 years old.
The OROP announcement will come as a big relief for ex-servicemen, who have been agitating for it for several years now, with many of them even returning their medals to register their protest against what all political parties have promised but never actually delivered.