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Piyush Goyal’s claim on OROP misleading, say veterans

Piyush Goyal’s claim on OROP misleading, say veterans

They claim several allowances have not been sanctioned

In his Budget speech last week, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said the government had implemented the long-pending One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme and increased other allowances for soldiers. But the remark has not enthused the veterans. A section of them says several other allowances, like Non-Functional Upgrade (NFU), have not been sanctioned yet.

“The previous government announced it [OROP] in three Budgets, but sanctioned a mere ₹500 crore in the 2014-15 interim Budget; in contrast, we have already disbursed over ₹35,000 crore after implementing the scheme in its true spirit,” Mr. Goyal had said.

Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement chairman Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retired), who has been spearheading a protest for removing the anomalies in OROP, said the comments were “misleading.” “Mr. Goyal is misleading the ex-servicemen and the nation. He has not given the break-up of the ₹35,000 crore that he said was disbursed.”

As for the other allowances, Mr. Goyal had said the government had also announced a “substantial” increase in the Military Service Pay of all service personnel, and in the special allowances given to naval and Air Force personal deployed for high-risk duties.

The NFU has been one of the core anomalies, raised by the services, in the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, which are yet to be implemented for the services. The matter is in the Supreme Court.

Maj. Gen. Singh explained that as per the calculations, OROP entailed ₹5,500 crore a year on the government in the current form and ₹8,300 crore if it was implemented as per the accepted definition. As for the arrears, OROP had been implemented since 2014, and the arrears were for only two years. “So the figure of ₹35,000 crore is misleading, and Mr. Goyal should explain it.”

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