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OROP: Parrikar says ‘small issues’ will be sorted, Naidu slams Cong

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Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has said the “small issues” in the implementation of the one rank one pension (OROP) scheme will be addressed in due course.

“OROP as a principle has been accepted, full financial requirements have been fulfilled. There might be a few small issues which over a period of time will get automatically addressed,” he told reporters in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Though the Centre has announced that the OROP scheme will be implemented from July 1, 2014 – with arrears amounting to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore – confusion persisted on certain key issues.

While announcing the scheme on Saturday, Parrikar had said pensions will be re-calculated every five years but military personnel who took “voluntary retirement” will not be entitled to OROP.The veterans, who have been holding protests across the country for more than two months, want the pension to be reviewed every two years and the benefits of the scheme extended even to those who retire voluntarily or prematurely from the armed forces.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured that soldiers who retired prematurely from serivces will get benefits under OROP, clearing the air on the issue. Veterans protesting at Jantar Mantar called of their indefinite hunger strike after the PM’s message, but said protests would go on till all the contentious issues were resolved.

Another bone of contention is the government’s decision to set up a single-member judicial committee to look into different aspects of OROP, including inter-services matters. The government said the panel will submit its report in six months but veterans want a deadline of 30 days. They also demanded that the panel have five members, including three veterans.

“According to me, the (OROP) issue is more or less resolved, have you ever seen that 100% things are fulfilled to everyone’s satisfaction?” Parrikar said.

Meanwhile, Union law and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress had no moral right to criticise the Centre on the OROP issue, echoing PM Modi’s veiled dig at the opposition party at a rally in Faridabad.

“The people who have not done anything for the last 10 years have no moral right to criticise the government,” he said, reacting to the allegation by Congress leader and former defence minister AK Antony that the Centre had “substantially diluted” the UPA’s OROP scheme.

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