One-member panel to study OROP, veterans unhappy

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) The government on Monday appointed a one-member judicial committee to look into the implementation of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen.

Ex-servicemen agitating on the OROP issue, however, rejected the committee and said they may approach the court over anomalies in OROP.

The committee would look into steps to be taken to remove anomalies arising out of the implementation of OROP, as notified by the government on November 7, an official statement said.

The committee comprising L. Narasimha Reddy, a retired chief justice of the Patna High Court, would take into account the financial impact of its recommendations before spelling out the same within six months.

“We do not accept this committee in the first place. We may have to exercise the option of going to court,” Col. Anil Kaul (retd), spokesperson of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, told IANS.

“The way forward is to approach the Supreme Court, which would be taken procedurally as per the advise of our counsel Ram Jethmalani very shortly. Notwithstanding the legal option the agitation will be intensified across the country,” he said.

The veterans felt that the committee was a way to brush the issue under the carpet.

“All OROP anomalies can be resolved by the government itself. A committee is not needed. You form committees only when you want to push a matter further,” he said.

He said a meeting of the IESM governing body may be called in a couple of days to discuss the issue.

The veterans have maintained that the OROP scheme announced by the government was flawed.

The judicial committee, announced by government along with the scheme on September 5, is one of the sore points with the ex-servicemen.

“If at all a committee had to be made, a one-member committee makes no sense. There should have been a multi-member committee… this panel will only look into the issues projected by the government,” Kaul said.

The veterans demand that at least three members from the ex-servicemen fraternity be taken on any panel to be formed on the issue and it should be given not more than a month to make recommendations.

“We are not questioning the integrity of the judge in question, but what would a justice know about the armed forces,” Kaul wondered.

The committee may submit interim reports to the government before the stipulated time.

The terms of reference of the committee will be to examine measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise in the implementation of the OROP, measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise out of inter-services issues of the three armed forces due to implementation of OROP, implications on service matters and any other matter referred by the central government on implementation of the OROP or related issues.

The committee will devise its own procedure and may call for such information and take such evidence as may be considered necessary.

“The ministries and departments of the government of India shall furnish such information and documents and other assistance as may be required by the committee,” the statement said.

Headquartered in Delhi, the committee will be supported by the department of ex-servicemen’s welfare under the defence ministry.

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