PM could have announced OROP on Independence Day, but talks failed: Report
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was slated to announce the much-awaited One Rank One Pension for ex-servicemen during his speech from the Red Fort on Independence Day, but could not do so as the government hit a roadblock in the last minute.
According to reports, former Army chief General VP Malik has revealed that while the Prime Minister was all set to announce the scheme, the government was not able to reach an agreement in the final stages.
Malik said that the government had proposed to pay less than the earlier agreed amount, but the Army veterans rejected the proposal from the PMO.
The Indian Express has reported that Malik, who was mediating the talks between the government and ex-servicemen on OROP issue, sent an email to former Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, saying the PMO had called him on August 10 for taking a final call, so that the announcement could be made by the Prime Minister from the Red Fort.
According to the former Army chief, there is disagreement between veterans and government over date of implementation and basic definition of One Rank One Pension.
Read at: IBNLive
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The OROP is a classical example of the famed powers of the Indian bureaucracy to checkmate any proposal, no matter how strong the political will behind the decision. At stake is an odd Rs 7,500-Rs 10,000 crore or so to be paid to all ranks of the 13-lakh strong defence forces, which includes soldiers cutting across the army, air force and navy; pension to be paid according to the last rank held. It is a practice not different from what exists in the civilian bureaucracy. From time to time Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that OROP reform has been accepted in principle and that only work on the modalities remains. With the Prime Minister reiterating the Centre’s commitment in his Independence Day speech, the clamour has risen to a fever pitch for time-bound delivery. The ease with which legislators vote themselves a pay raise frequently enough is matched only by the eagerness of pay commissions to dole out more to civil servants at every turn. The bureaucrats paid themselves subtly the NFU for the inefficient lot which is not applicable to any others and is unique to them alone. Despite the best efforts of ruling party politicians to push through this most basic of demand, the decision continues to be confined to files, which are currently doing the rounds of several desks of the ministry of defence. To extend that generosity to an army of people from the armed forces should not be as difficult as it is being made out to be. Here the Narendra Modi government has the additional cross to hold, his party claiming to be the harbinger of nationalism and the most worthy advocates of the defence forces. The veterans want OROP announcement, sadly that is not forthcoming. Having accepted OROP in principle, nothing should hold up its implementation now. It is up to the Prime Minister to walk the talk.