NEW DELHI: Allaying fears of the ex-servicemen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on Sunday that the One Rank One Pension scheme would apply to the veterans who opted for voluntary retirement schemes (VRS). This chunk forms about 40% of the retired military personnel.
Addressing a rally while inaugurating the Delhi-Faridabad Metro Line, Modi said misinformation is being spread on the name of VRS. He requested the ex-servicemen not to fall trap into sinister campaigns.
“VRS key naam pe bhram failaya jaa raha hai (Some people are trying to spread confusion in the name of VRS),” Modi said. “The scheme was stuck for more than four decades. The previous regimes failed to make a breakthrough,” he added.
There were confusion after the Saturday press conference of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who had said defence personnel who took “voluntary retirement” would not be covered under OROP. However a delegation of veterans later met Parrikar and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and returned satisfied, hinting OROP for the VRS section too.
Major general (retd) Satbir Singh, who led the delegation to Parrikar’s residence, told reporters after return: “Defence minister has confirmed that there is no VRS in defence services and so OROP will be applicable in PMR (pre-mature retirement). An official note would be given in a day or two after having a word with the Prime Minister. Parrikar has confirmed that he would give a clarification tomorrow evening or day after tomorrow. As far as defence minister and we are concerned that clause goes.”
“Any premature retirement which is valid and legally acceptable to the armed forces will be given ‘One Rank One Pension’,” added Rathore.
The government had announced on Saturday the scheme will be implemented with effect from July 1, 2014, with arrears amounting to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore. While war widows will get arrears in total, others will be paid in four half-yearly installments.
However, another area of disagreement still persists over constitution of a panel to look into various aspects of OROP. While the government wants to set up a single-member judicial committee which will submit its report within six months, the ex-servicemen demand a panel of five members including three veterans, and a deadline of 30 days.