OROP agitation continues for 86th day

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) The agitation over ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) in the national capital continued for the 86th day on Tuesday, with 35 ex-servicemen sitting on a relay hunger strike.

The veterans are also preparing for the ‘Gaurav rally’ to be held on September 12, where they will decide their future course of action.

While the veterans welcomed the announcement of implementing OROP by the government, they have maintained that the scheme was not yet true to the definition of OROP.

The indefinite fast at the Jantar Mantar protest site by a group of veterans, some on whom started it on August 17, ended on the 21st day on Sunday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified that soldiers who retire prematurely will benefit from implementation of OROP.

According to the veterans, 46 percent of ex-servicemen opt for premature retirement.

Excluding them would have slashed the OROP budget by 50 percent — about Rs.4,000 crore of the estimated Rs.8,000-10,000 crore.

Other issues that have been objected to by the veterans include five years as time of review of pensions, while the veterans have said two years was the maximum period they can agree to for review.

The veterans have also questioned the decision to form a one-member committee.

The estimated cost to the exchequer for the scheme will be Rs.8,000-10,000 crore, and the arrears will amount to around Rs.12,000 crore. It will take 2013 as the base year to calculate pensions and the date of implementation will be July 1, 2014.

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