Pranab give go ahead to 'one rank one pension' demand

Army

Meeting a long-pending demand of over a crore defence veterans and 12 lakh serving jawans, the government substantially increased the pension of ex-servicemen.

The new, revised pension would be implemented beginning this month, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha while presenting the Budget for 2009-10.

In essence, the government has accepted the recommendation of the high-level committee headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar that was set up in April to look into the defence pensioners' demands.

"Based on the recommendation of the committee headed by Cabinet Secretary on 'One Rank-One Pension' (OROP), the government has decided to substantially improve the pension of pre-January one, 2006 defence pensioners below officer rank and bring pre-October 10, 1997 pensioners on par with post- October 10, 1997 pensioners," Mukherjee said.

The pre-January one, 2006 pensioners were affected following the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations last October, while the pre- and post-October 10, 1997 pensioners were impacted by the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations.

The Finance Minister also noted that the decision to increase the pensions for defence personnel would cost the exchequer over Rs 2,100 crore annually.

Mukherjee said the government had also decided to liberalise certain pension benefits being extended to war-wounded and other disabled pensioners.

Ex-servicemen organisations have been demanding OROP for several years now, as they felt that there was a disparity in the amount to personnel holding the same rank and service record, but retiring at different point of time.

Following the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations in March last year, the veteran outfits have been holding protests and rallies across the country to forcefully urge the government to concede their demand.

In fact, during the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in April-May this year, the ex-servicemen's outfits had pledged their support to BJP, which had included the OROP in its manifesto and promised to implement it if voted to power.

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