OROP crisis crackles after Modi govt fails to find 'concrete' solution; veterans still unhappy

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OROP veterans
OROP veterans

Los angeles : After the suicide of  Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal, political crisis over One Rank, One Pension scheme (OROP) has deepened. 

On Wednesday, Grewal committed suicide at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi after being humiliated over the on-going issue on One Rank One Pansion (OROP) scheme.

The former Jawan from Bhiwani district in Haryana left a suicide note claiming that he is left with no other option than this extreme step for the wellness of Indian soldiers. 

He was cremated on Thursday amidst tight security in his native village in Haryana in the presence of hundreds of people. Crime Branch has taken up his suicide case.

Meanwhile, the protests turned ugly on Wednesday night after Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi were detained while they were trying to meet the family of Grewal who had committed suicide over the One Rank One Pension issue.

Later, Gandhi was released by police after being in detention for almost two hours. Kejriwal, too was released close to midnight on Wednesday.

Three other ex-servicemen groups, who have been demanding unconditional OROP, have resumed their protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. These groups called off their protests six months ago after getting assurances from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. 

When questioned, Parrikar maintained that only one lakh ex-servicemen were facing problem in getting pension as per One Rank One Pension scheme and it will be resolved within two months.

Addressing Army veterans,, he said, "Only one lakh ex-servicemen (out of over 20 lakh) are not getting pension as perOROP scheme due to some technical difficulty or documentation problems. We will resolve these problems in coming two months."

Why protests over OROP?

If accepted, OROP will imply uniform pension to armed forces personnel retiring with the same rank and length of service regardless of the date of retirement. 

Some of the major concerns highlighted by veterans are:

  • Annual equalisation as against the approved five years
  • Exclusion of those who opt for premature retirement (PMR) from the ambit of OROP
  • Implementation from April 2014
  • Adoption of the highest pay scale of 2013 for revising pension 

Government is failing to consider these requirements citing budgetary implications and administrative challenge as nearly 20 lakh people will be affected by any change in scenario.