Finance, Defence ministries meet to chalk out one rank one pension scheme

New Delhi,Appu Esthose Suresh(IE): In a key step towards the implementation of the one-rank, one-pension (OROP) scheme, a high-level meeting of ministers and senior officials of the Ministries of Defence and Finance was held Wednesday to draft a joint proposal, sources said. This comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance that his government would roll out OROP soon. Modi made the promise during his monthly radio telecast, Mann Ki Baat, Sunday. Despite this, ex-servicemen had refused to call off their proposed nationwide protest, scheduled for June 14.

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Sources said that senior officials of both ministries made a presentation to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on issues related to OROP. Sources said the discussions were supposed to be held on two levels. First, the two ministers would sit and decide the larger framework under which OROP can be rolled out. Based on the consensus reached between them, senior officials were supposed to decide on the financial liability aspects. “The meeting was held to arrive at a consensus between the two ministries.

Then, specific areas that need further deliberation by the two ministries were supposed to be earmarked. The idea is to give a realistic timeline for OROP rollout,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, said. The approximate additional expenditure on pension outflow on account of rolling out OROP is about Rs 8,000 crore. Under the scheme being demanded by servicemen, a uniform pension would be paid to military personnel who retire with the same rank after serving for the same duration, irrespective of the date of retirement. Most officers retire in their early 50s, while a few become Lt-Generals, Air Marshals or Vice-Admirals and go on to serve till 60. Implementation of the scheme was part of the BJP’s election manifesto and was mentioned in the first presidential speech made by Pranab Mukherjee while addressing the Parliament. The NDA government has faced flak from ex-servicemen for the delay in implementation, especially since groups representing former servicemen supported the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.