November 7, 2015 is the date with a milestone. This date which is four years from today reminds us that four-decade old demand was fulfilled on this day as the notification regarding the implementation of One Rank One Pension was issued.
Why is it so important to remember this day, at least once in a year? It’s not merely about how much the government spent or how much did the ex-servicemen get. By fulfilling the four-decade old One Rank One Pension demand of Indian soldiers, the nation asserted that it is a society that nurtures gratitude. Gratitude for those who retired securing our tomorrows, not minding to dedicate their todays for that.
So, what did it take the government of the day to implement OROP?
The words said by Piyush Goyal in the interim budget of 2019-20 put it across precisely.
“The previous governments have announced it in three budgets but sanctioned a mere Rs 500 crore in 2014-15 Interim Budget; in contrast we have already disbursed over Rs 35,000 crore after implementing the scheme in its true spirit.”
An infographic published earlier also puts it in the right perspective.
Once the decision was taken in 2015, these were the accomplishments already achieved in OROP as on 2017.
- A sum of Rs 4,161.45 crores, Rs 2,397.22 crores, Rs 2,320.7 crores and Rs 1,859.72 crores have been paid towards first, second, third and fourth instalment of OROP arrears respectively.
- 20,43,354 Ex-Servicemen/family pensioners, 15,94,063 Ex Service men, 15,71,744 Ex-Servicemen and 13,28,313 Ex-Servicemen are the beneficiaries during these four instalments respectively.
- Total arrears paid Rs. 10,739.09 crores
As mentioned by the Union Minister Piyush Goyal in Parliament, over Rs 35,000 crore was disbursed until the interim budget of 2019-20.
Beyond OROP - Spirit Continues
As mentioned earlier the spirit of OROP implementation is the nation being grateful to the soldiers and their families for their service.
In this context, the spirit has a continuation under the Modi government even in actions taken for those uniformed personnel who are not part of the military.
In fact, the first decision of the cabinet in the second term of the Modi government was for those who protect India.
It increased the scholarships given to widows and wards of deceased or ex-service personnel of armed and paramilitary forces from the National Defence Fund (NDF). For the first time, state police also came under the ambit of this scholarship.
In another decision, the cabinet had also approved extension of benefit of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) and Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG), benefitting about 11,000 serving officers and those who have retired since 2006 from the five primary paramilitary forces.
In fact, even the National War Memorial to honour the post-Independence martyrs and heroes materialised only after Modi government coming to power.
Among the many accomplishments that the government has achieved for country’s defence forces, OROP will remain a historic milestone.