More reports on: Government policies

Ex-servicemen miffed over 1-rank, 1-pay terms; to continue stir

05 September 2015

Ex-servicemen have decided to continue their agitation over the one-rank, one-pay agitation at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, as most of the critical conditions, they say, remain unmet.

Their agitation entered its 83rd day today.

The Narendra Modi government, commentators say, has shown extra care in announcing the one-rank-one-pension scheme for veterans ahead of the model code of conduct that would kick in with the announcement of elections to the Bihar assembly (See: Govt announces "1-rank, 1-pay"; ex-servicemen dissatisfied). 
But, with war veterans not too happy with the offer, the government's move, which leaves scope for much criticism, is unlikely to blunt the opposition during the elections.

Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, chairman of Indian ex-servicemen, said the government while accepting the concept of the OROP, was still insisting on pension revision every five years, unlike annually for the civil service bureaucracy,  which remained a sticking point.

The ex-armymen told Parrikar that no junior should get more pension than a senior and that there was nothing like voluntary retirement in defence forces as everyone has to complete a fixed term.

The ex-servicemen say the government has accepted around 60 per cent of their demands. They also questioned the need to constitute a committee.

If a committee is formed, ex servicemen want at least three out of five members to be veterans, Singh said, adding the committee should decide on the issue within 15 days to one month.

Manohar Parrikar, after meeting the OROP protesters and BJP President Amit Shah, however said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept his promise made during the run-up to the Lok Sabha election and reiterated in the Independence Day speech on 15 August.

Close to 2.6 million retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be benefit from the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when they retire, as a result of which, for example, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws lower pension than a Lt Colonel three ranks below who retired after 1996.

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