NDA government committed to OROP, reiterates Parrikar

Lucknow/New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said “good news” on ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) will come soon, and the scheme would be implemented at an appropriate time.

His assurance came as the relay hunger strike by ex-servicemen continued in Delhi as part of their demand for OROP.

The ex-servicemen said they would not seek another meeting with Parrikar after a promised meeting failed to materialise on Wednesday.

“There are some stumbling blocks (in the implementation of OROP) and efforts are being made to remove them,” the defence minister said.

“It’s an inter-departmental issue. As far as the defence ministry is concerned, our work is almost over. This is taking time but I can say that there will be good news soon,” he said.

Parrikar asked journalists not to hazard a guess about the date of implementation of OROP and said everyone would come to know of it in due course.

Wednesday was the 25th day of protest by ex-servicemen over OROP, which started on June 14. Since June 15, the veterans have been holding a relay hunger strike.

The ex-servicemen are demanding that the government give them a date for implementation of OROP. They have also demanded that the nature of the scheme should not be changed.

Asked about the assurance, Col. (retd) Anil Kaul, spokesman of the United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM), said they have been getting assurances since long.

“It is good if it is true. But it is late…” Kaul told IANS.

“We are getting assurances since February. Hope the minister is not wrong again,” he said.

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations at the time when the personnel retired.

This leads to a difference in pension for officers of same rank who retire on different dates.

Meanwhile, responding to the Pakistani defence minister’s recent comment on the use of nuclear weapons in case of a face-off with India, Parrikar said: “The nation is competent to meet any threat.”

Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, was in state capital Lucknow to attend a function of the Cantonment Board.

He said all possible help would be extended to the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation regarding problems related to the route of the ambitious project through the Cantonment area.

“Whatever plans and proposals are sent to the defence ministry will be dealt with a positive and forward-looking approach,” he added.

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