Government to address concerns over Pay Commission

Visakhapatnam, Feb 7 (IANS) The government has studied representations from the armed forces vis-a-vis the 7th Pay Commission and their concerns will be addressed “in the near future”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday.

“I have interacted with the three service chiefs and discussed the concerns of the forces. The concerns will be addressed in the near future,” he said on the sidelines of an International Maritime Conference here.

The concerns include the way in which pensions were calculated on the basis of number of years put in at a particular rank.

Another grudge is the risk-hardship matrix. While a soldier posted in the Siachen glacier gets Rs.31,500 as allowance per month, a civilian bureaucrat draws 30 percent of his salary as “hardship allowance”.

About the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, he said concerns of ex-servicemen will be addressed by a one-member judicial committee headed by L. Narasimha Reddy, a retired chief justice of the Patna High Court.

Parrika said the Narendra Modi government had fulfilled its promise on the OROP which had been implemented after 43 years.

“As promised by the BJP, we have already issued a table of various pensions as per the OROP scheme.

“The community of retired servicemen is large; one formula cannot solve all issues. Any contentious issues will be referred to the one-man committee,” Parrikar said.

As for the protesting ex-servicemen’s stand on approaching the court on the OROP issue, the minister said: “Fundamentally, every person has the right to approach a court.

“To the best of our understanding of the issues, we have fulfilled our promise.”

He said the expenditure on OROP of Rs.7,500 crore each year was much larger that what the previous government had allocated for the scheme. The arears total Rs.10,900 crore.

The previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had allocated Rs.500 crore for the OROP.

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