One Rank One Pension (OROP)
A Bharat Bhushan Babu
The Govt. had taken a historic decision on November 7 2015 to implement
One Rank One Pension (OROP) –fulfilling the long standing demand of the
Ex-Servicemen – despite the huge financial burden this decision has put
on the defence budget. It has been five years since the benefits of OROP began accruing to lakhs of defence forces pensioners and their dependants and it would be an apt occasion to review how the scheme has performed.
The historic decision reflected the commitment of the Government to the welfare of the Ex-Servicemen. The acceptance of the principle of One Rank One Pension for the Defence forces personnel was announced by the then Finance Minister in his Interim Budget 2014-15 speech and it has been reiterated in the President’s address to both Houses of Parliament on 9.6.2014 after the constitution of 16thLok Sabha and also in the regular Budget 2014-15 speech dated 10.07.2014.
Keeping in view the magnitude and complexity of the issues related to defence pensions, extensive consultations were held with experts and ex-Servicemen before issue of Government order on implementation of OROP. OROP implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces Personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service regardless of their date of retirement. Thus, OROP implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of current and past retirees at periodic intervals.
The Ex-Servicemen Associations for several years have demanded the same pension, which is granted to new pensioners with same rank and with same length of service. A review of the background of this issue reveals that the High Level Committee on problems of Ex-servicemen constituted in 1984 (K.P.Singh Dev Committee) to go into the rehabilitation, re-settlement and welfare of Ex-servicemen suggested to the Government additional measures even though its terms of reference did not include Defence pension. Upon receipt of representations on pension matters, the Committee recommended that the Government should consider the issue of “one rank one pension’ particularly in the light of the principle, which has been already established with respect to the pension of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. This was followed by two committees, both under the Cabinet Secretary in 2009 and 2012 to look into pension related issues of Defence services personnel. Finally in 2015, after discussions at several levels the Government took the bold decision to implement the OROP thus fulfilling the long pending demand of the Ex-Servicemen. The decision since then has benefited lakhs of defence forces pensioners in the last five years.
A sum of Rs. 10795.4 crore (which includes payment of Rs. 348.56 crore made to Nepali pensioners) has been disbursed till date to 20,60,220 Defence Forces Pensioners/Family Pensioners as arrears on account of implementation of OROP. The yearly recurring expenditure on account of OROP is about Rs.7123.38 crores. For about six years starting from 01.07.2014, the total recurring expenditure worked out to approximately Rs. 42740.28 crore.
OROP beneficiaries also got the benefit of fixation of pension under 7th CPC while calculating the pension by multiplication factor of 2.57.
Even though there are certain issues still to be resolved, they would not take away sheen off the enormous positive impact the OROP has made on lakhs of lives of retired armed forces personnel. PIB
The writer is Spokesperson, Ministry of Defence