Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said his government has released its first instalment of Rs 5,500 crore towards the One Rank One Pension scheme. Modi said he had fulfilled the promise to the country's veterans and accused previous governments of neglecting the scheme with announcements of Rs 200-500 crore budgets. He was addressing a gathering at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, where he inaugurated three power projects.
Modi said, "One Rank One Pension was hanging for 40 years, and it is our government that completed the work. Soldiers and their families bless me." He said a retired havaldar, after 17 years of service, would have access to Rs 7,600 as against the earlier sum of Rs 4,090.
The defence ministry had reinstated the OROP scheme in September 2015, more than 43 years after the formula for calculating pensions for those retiring from India's armed forces was terminated. It formally notified the OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country on November 8, 2015. However, the veterans said that the government’s version had "seven serious shortcomings", which would nullify the definition of scheme. Ex-service personnel had conducted several major protests and hunger strikes for several months demanding that their recommendations be included.