OROP row: Not all demands can be fulfilled, says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi(PTI): With the protesting ex-servicemen dissatisfied with the formal notification of one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that everyone has a right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled.


Underlining that the “maximum” demands of the veterans have been fulfilled, he said the judicial commission that will be set up, will look into the “problems”.

“This is democracy. Everyone has the right to demand. But the maximum… their main demand for same pension for same rank has been given. Rest is everything that we had declared (on September 5). Out of that, the confusion about VRS has been removed,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of a function here.

He said, “Har ek cheez mangte hai, wohi agar satisfy hone laga to kabhi khatam nahi hoga, aur koi kuchh aur mangega (even if all demands are satifisfied, someone will ask for something else).”

The minister said that the “basic core issue” has been addressed and if there is a problem, the judicial commission will look into that.

He was replying to questions on veterans being unhappy with the OROP notification issued by the government on Saturday.

The notification is more or less in line with what Parrikar had announced on September 5.

However, it has dropped the contentious proposal to exclude ex-servicemen who had sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP.

But the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits.

“It will be effective prospectively,” according to the notification.

The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.

Ex-servicemen who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, rejected the notification.

Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement spearheading the protest, had said on Saturday, “The notification will not be acceptable to the rank and file. It is not one rank, one pension but one rank, five pension.”

He further said that this investment helps the government receive additional money from the equity market and thereby reduces the burden on the state exchequer.

In its report, the finance department also recommended that pension should not be extended to newly-recruited employees or cadres and called for the appointment of actuarial firms to estimate the actual annual pensionary burden and set up a special fund on a permanent basis to meet future liabilities.

“If we remove the pension facility, nobody will want to work with the government. Also, we have no right to set up a special fund out of the budget, otherwise the importance of Legislature will be over,” Kumar said.

The proposal is currently lying with the finance department and is expected to be placed before the Cabinet in the coming days.