One Rank One Pension finally?

The Narendra Modi Government has tried and is trying ways to ensure that areas that got neglected by previous governments are given their due. With his foreign visits sealing many-a-significant deals, the NaMo brigade has also been focussing on issues closer home.

The Modi-led government understands the importance of defence. That was why, perhaps, the Rafale deal featured on Modi’s priority list when he visited France earlier this year. Back home too, defence and ex-servicemen are now being treated with the respect they deserve. Of many steps that are being planned, the first among them is the implementation of the one-rank, one-pension (OROP) policy for ex-servicemen.

What is this?

One rank-one pension policy is aimed at ensuring that all retired soldiers, who have the same rank and the length of service receive the same amount of pension, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, all those soldiers who retired before 2006 receive less pension than their counterparts and even their juniors.

What’s the scene?

As of now, every government that has campaigned for the elections has made tall promises — of implementing this much-awaited policy for the ex-servicemen, but none has yielded fruitful results thus far. So irked is the ex-servicemen community with this lack of action, that many of them have held rallies and returned their medals as a mark of protest.

Why the inaction so far?

It had been said that implementation of the OROS has been hit by roadblocks thanks to financial, administrative and legal hurdles, which had often been cited as reasons to put it on hold. In fact, in 2011, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare of the Ministry of Defence had claimed that  documents of military personnel are weeded out after 25 years, which would make implementation of this policy impossible.

Is this true?

No, it isn’t. All required details are available in a document called ‘Long Roll’ which is maintained in perpetuity in terms of Regulation
592 of the Regulations for the Army.

What now?

In a tweet, the PM said, “On OROP – the Govt is committed to OROP & there’s no doubt about it.” However, we can’t be very sure when finally this policy will be rolled out.

On Friday, defence minister Manohar Parrikar had said that there is no timeframe that could be specified for its implementation. This was because there were still a couple of administrative steps pending.

“There cannot be a date specified to implement OROP. This scheme was not understood by the previous government properly. There are many fine prints and aspects that need to be considered. After taking a lot of time, I have crystallised the department…There are two-three administrative steps that are still pending,” Parrikar said.

(With inputs from agencies)


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