New Delhi: For the first time, the Union Government offered its own perspective on the contentious ‘one rank, one pension’ for the retired soldiers with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying the pension could not be revised annually. The Centre could not give “unreasonable concessions” merely on emotions, the minister said.
Apparently laying down rules for implementing the scheme, a pre-poll promise of the BJP, Jaitley said the definition of the OROP in the government “did not match the definition of others (a reference to the ex-servicemen).”
The government, said Jaitley, was committed to OROP but the “only difficulty” was “arithmetical translation”. “We will implement the principle but then let us not create a situation which may set (a precedent for) other segments of the society,” he said.
“Annual revision in pensions does not happen anywhere in the world,” Jaitley told a business news channel. “I have my own formula on what OROP means. Somebody else may have their own formula but it has to be within reasonable and rational criteria. You can’t have an OROP where pensions are revised every month or every year,” he said.
The ex-servicemen, on dharna at Jantar Mantar for the past 78 days, have been asking for OROP without any dilution in the recommendations made by the Bhagat Singh Koshyari Committee.
The minister, however, hinted at benefits for the soldiers retiring early. “We want to safeguard the interests of the soldiers who retire around 35 or 38 years. The society must protect them and, therefore, some higher pension on a special formulation is understandable. But it can’t be revised annually,” he said.
Jaitley said the Indian political set-up that thought rationally would not make “unreasonable concessions” merely on emotions as any such move could set a precedent for others to seek similar benefits.
“Can the BSF do it? Can the CRPF do it? Obviously, the thinking India will say it’s not the right step. You can’t create a liability that the future generations will have to pay… We should certainly be able to implement OROP but on a rational ground,” he said.