About 25 lakh armed forces veterans get their first enhanced pension under the One Rank One Pension Scheme, or OROP, in January, top Ministry of Defence officials told NDTV. The enhanced pensions will cost the exchequer around Rs 7,000 crore.
The Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, is rethinking whether it should debar officers and men who go home before completing their tenure from the benefits of OROP.
About 80% officers and men leave the forces when they fail to make it to the next rank. The benefits of the current scheme are denied to them. For example, a Colonel who leaves the army before completing his tenure as he didn't make it to the next rung -- Brigadier -- will not be entitled to OROP.
But sources said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has ordered a rethink on this and is inclined to strike this provision off.
If done, it would address one of the major concerns of the armed forces.
"If officers who leave their tenure incomplete and quit for not being making it to the next rung are denied OROP, the forces will be saddled with passed over officers. Worse, they will have to work under the command of junior officers," a source in the ministry said.
Veterans will also get their OROP arrears -- the scheme has been brought into effect from July 2014 -- before the end of this financial year. It will cost the government Rs 11,000 crore.
War widows and Gallantry award winners will their arrears in one go -- the rest will get it in four equal installments.
The implementation of OROP - a pre-election promise by the BJP -- was announced this September after prolonged negotiations.
The scheme could, however, not be implemented immediately because of the Bihar elections and the model Code of Conduct that came into play during elections.