As War Heroes Protest, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Promises One Rank One Pension Soon

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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event in Pune to felicitate war veterans (Press Trust of India photo)

New Delhi:  At a function boycotted by two war veterans, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday that the government has completed processes and will implement "one rank, one pension" for the armed forces soon.
Here are the latest developments:
  1. "My ministry has completed all formalities and OROP will be implemented," Mr Parrikar said, explaining that the executive process takes some time. He also requested that the matter not be "politicised."
  2. Two war veterans who were to be felicitated at the function, did not turn up in protest against the delay in implementing 'one rank one pension', which means that people retiring in the same rank and with the same length of service will get equal pension, irrespective of when they retired.
  3. "Since 1973 we haven't got any support from the government. This is downgrading the armed forces. I am hurt," said Wing Commander SD Karnik who boycotted the event. The Wing Commander is a 1971 war veteran who was awarded the Vir Chakra, one of India's top gallantry medals.
  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was widely expected to announce 'one rank one pension' - a BJP election promise - on Monday when he addressed a rally in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh to mark his government's one year in office.
  5. NDTV has learnt that the file on 'one rank one pension' is currently shuttling between the Finance and Defence ministries after several queries were raised. Sources tell NDTV that the government doesn't want to announce anything that can be challenged in court.
  6. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations at the time when the personnel retired. For instance, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt. Colonel who retired after 1996.
  7. With 'one rank one pension', retired personnel would draw the same pension as officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now. They would also be entitled to a year's back pay in pensions at the new rate, which would be a windfall for pensioners.
  8. Six years ago, the Supreme Court directed the government to follow a 'one rank, one pension' principle for retired servicemen. In February this year, the court said failure to implement it within three months would mean contempt of court.
  9. 'One rank, one pension' will benefit 25 lakh ex-servicemen. It is expected to cost the government more than Rs 8,300 crore a year.
  10. The Congress' Rahul Gandhi has accused the government of dragging its feet on 'one rank one pension'. In its Budget last year, months before the national election, the Congress-led UPA government announced its implementation, but allocated only Rs 500 crore, seen as inadequate funds for the initiative.




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