Government Announces One Rank One Pension Scheme for Ex-Servicemen: Personnel who voluntarily retire will not be covered

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Manohar Parrikar-OROP
Union Minister for Defence Manohar Parrikar announcing the One Rank One Pension scheme for the Ex-Servicemen, at South Block, in New Delhi on September 05, 2015. The Minister of State for Planning (Independent Charge) and Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, the three Service Chiefs, General Dalbir Singh, Admiral R.K. Dhowan and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and the Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar are also seen.

New Delhi: The BJP-led NDA Government today announced the One Rank One Pension scheme for the Ex-Servicemen with the condition that personnel who voluntarily retire will not be covered under the OROP scheme.

The protestng veterans have expressed satisfaction at the announcement but at the same time rejected the decision to exclude those retiring voluntarily. Consequently, they will carry forward the agitation. Major Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, on behalf of the veterans sitting on strike at Jantar Mantar here, said:

“We don’t accept the decision not to give OROP benefits to those who have taken voluntary retirement. This is a big setback. 40% of retired defence officials get pension. Not including them in OROP is unjust to them. Whoever gets pension (even if premature retirement) should get OROP. Bureaucracy introduced this, this is not acceptable to us.”

The OROP announcement was made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar here today.

The following is the statement of the Defence Minister:

“Government of India respects its Defence Forces and Ex-Servicemen for their valour, patriotism and sacrifices. The Government is proud of their devotion to duty and bravery. Our forces, besides vigilantly and gallantly defending the nation, have displayed exemplary standards of courage and bravery in natural calamities, law and order situations and other difficult circumstances.

The issue of “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) has been pending for nearly four decades. It is a matter of deep anguish that the various governments remained ambivalent on the issue of OROP. In February 2014, the then Government stated that OROP would be implemented in 2014-15, but did not specify what OROP would be, how it would be implemented or how much it would cost. An estimated Rs. 500 crore provided for OROP in the budget presented in February 2014 by the then government was not based on any thorough analysis. It is pertinent to mention that the then Minister of State for Defence in 2009 had, in reply to a question, informed Parliament that there are administrative, technical and financial difficulties in implementing OROP. It is for these reasons that the present government took some time to fulfil its promise.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, on various occasions, reiterated the Government’s commitment to implement OROP for Ex-Servicemen under military pension. As stated above, the previous government has estimated that OROP would be implemented with a budget provision of a mere Rs. 500 crore. The reality, however, is that to implement OROP, the estimated cost to the exchequer would be Rs. 8,000 to 10,000 crore at present, and will increase further in future.

The Government held extensive consultations with experts and Ex-Servicemen. The main argument for OROP is that the Defence personnel retire early and thus are not able to get the benefits of serving till normal retirement age. Despite the huge fiscal burden, given its commitment to the welfare of Ex-Servicemen, the Government has taken a decision to implement the OROP.

In simple terms, OROP implies that uniform pension be paid to the Armed Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of their date of retirement. Future enhancements in the rates of pension would be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals.

Under this definition, it has been decided that the gap between rate of pension of current pensioners and past pensioners will be bridged every 5 years.

Under the OROP Scheme:

The benefit will be given with effect from 1 July 2014. The present government assumed office on 26 May 2014 and therefore, it has been decided to make the scheme effective from a date immediately after.

Arrears will be paid in four half-yearly instalments. All widows, including war widows, will be paid arrears in one instalment.

To begin with, OROP would be fixed on the basis of calendar year 2013.

Pension will be re-fixed for all pensioners retiring in the same rank and with the same length of service as the average of minimum and maximum pension in 2013. Those drawing pensions above the average will be protected.

Personnel who voluntarily retire will not be covered under the OROP scheme.

In future, the pension would be re-fixed every 5 years.

It is estimated that the expenditure on arrears alone would be ten to twelve thousand crores of rupees. Apart from the fact that the previous government had provided for only Rs. 500 crore in the budget, it is noteworthy that the Koshiyari Committee had accepted the estimate of Rs. 235 crore as additional financial burden to implement OROP. The present government has accepted OROP in true spirit without being constrained by these inaccurate estimates.

OROP is a complex issue. A thorough examination of interests of retirees of different periods and different ranks is needed. The inter-service issues of the three Forces also require consideration. This is not an administrative matter alone. Therefore, it has also been decided that a One Member Judicial Committee would be constituted which will give its report in six months.

Prime Minister Shri Modi has fulfilled his commitment and approved OROP for Armed Forces personnel. Ministry of Defence will soon issue detailed Government Order.”

one rank one pensionThe ex-servicemen sitting on strike at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar said that Centre’s decision to deny OROP benefits to those who have taken voluntary retirement is not acceptable to them.

Major Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh response to the announcement is as follows:

  • It is good what government has announced on OROP, we are satisfied
  • We don’t accept the decision not to give OROP benefits to those who have taken voluntary retirement. This is a big setback. 40% of retired defence officials get pension. Not including them in OROP is unjust to them. Whoever gets pension (even if premature retirement) should get OROP. Bureaucracy introduced this, this is not acceptable to us.
  • We reject the one-member judicial commission announced by the defence minister. We asked for a 5-member commission under the defence minister comprising three ex-servicemen, one serving serviceman and one member from the government’s side. The six month term is unacceptable. We want a 5-member panel that will submit its report within a month.
  • The defence minister agreed to one point and rejected the other 6.
  • We will have to take forward our agitation.

The teachings of Lord Krishna and Gautam Buddha are more relevant today than ever before: Narendra Modi

 

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Mahabodhi Temple, in Bodh Gaya in Bihar on September 05, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Mahabodhi Temple, in Bodh Gaya in Bihar on September 05, 2015.

Bodh Gaya: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today underscored that Lord Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha were among the most impactful teachers in world history and said “both of them gave great prominence to principles and processes. Gautama Buddha gave the eight-fold path and the Panchsheel. while Shri Krishna gave invaluable lessons of life in the form of Karma Yoga. These two divine souls had the strength to bring people together, rising above differences.

Their teachings are most practical, eternal and are more relevant in this day and age than ever before.”

Modi was addressing a symposium organized at the Mahabodi Temple in Bodh Gaya to mark the Teachers’ Day, to commemorate the birth anniversary of the second President of India and a great scholar and teacher, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

“We are meeting in Bodh Gaya, a land that has a distinctive place in the history of humankind. This is the land of enlightenment. Years ago, what Bodh Gaya got was Siddhartha but what Bodh Gaya gave to the world was Lord Buddha, the epitome of knowledge, peace and compassion”, Modi observed.

The Prime Minister said that Gautama Buddha’s teachings have inspired millions of people over centuries. Today, we are also celebrating Janmashtami, the day Lord Krishna was born. The world has so much to learn from Lord Krishna. When we talk about Lord Krishna we say, “ श्री कृष्णम वंदे जगतगुरुम” (Shri Krishna, the teacher of all teachers; the Guru of all Gurus).

Shri Krishna gave his message before the start of the Great War in the Mahabharata and Lord Buddha repeatedly emphasized on rising above warfare. The message by both of them was about establishing Dharma, Modi pointed out adding this is, therefore the ideal venue for a dialogue and meeting here on the auspicious day of Janmashtami and the special day of Teachers’ Day makes this unique.

It was my great privilege, the Prime Minister said, to have participated in the Inaugural function of the first International Hindu Buddhist Initiative on “Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness” hosted by the Vivekananda International Foundation and Tokyo Foundation with the support of the International Buddhist Confederation in Delhi on 3 September. The Conference was conceptualised on shifting the paradigm from conflict resolution to conflict avoidance and from environmental regulation to environmental consciousness.

At the Delhi Conference, Modi said, he had shared some of his thoughts on the two critical themes that were threatening humanity as no other challenge before. He also recalled that he had pointed out how in the context of both issues and for changing the global paradigm of thinking, the world is looking to the Buddha today as a conflict resolution mechanisms and environmental regulations — both of them dependent on the instrumentality of nation states — are increasingly failing to measure up to the challenges.

Spiritual and religious leaders and also intellectuals, largely from Buddhist societies participated in the 2-day conference and deliberated on the two issues. At the end of the two day conference, and after a churning in which spiritual, religious and intellectual leaders participated, the Tokyo Foundation has announced that they have decided to hold a similar conference in January 2016. And other Buddhist nations have also offered to hold similar conferences in their countries.

Modi described this as an extraordinary development that coincides with the rise of Asia as an economic and civilisational phenomenon. The themes of the conference, informed and shaped by the Hindu-Buddhist civilisational and cultural perspectives, promise to deepen the notion of conflict avoidance philosophy and environmental consciousness in Asia and beyond, he went on to observe.

The Prime Minister said that the 2-day conference seems to have arrived at a broad consensus on both issues. On the issue of conflicts — most of which are being driven by religious intolerance — the participants in the conference seem to have agreed that while there is no problem about the freedom to practise one’s religion, it is when the radical elements try to force their own ideologies on others, that the potential for conflict arises. On the issue of environment, the conference seems to have agreed that the philosophic underpinning of the Dharma, which stresses the protection of natural heritage, is critical for sustainable development. I may add that the United Nations too has arrived at the view that sustainable development is achievable only through aligning development to the local culture of the people.

This, Modi pointed out, is a positive turn in the development modeling of the world of diversity. I may add that the turn in thinking at the global level has created the eco-system for the Hindu-Buddhist societies to carry forward their consensual ideas to the global fora. At a personal level, he said that he consider s the Hindu Buddhist Conference on Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness as an important development in a world that seems to be short of durable ideas on both issues.

Modi emphasised that the Hindu philosophy was one of the greatest beneficiaries of the advent and the teachings of the Lord Buddha. Many scholars have analysed the impact of Buddha on Hinduism. In fact, Adi Sankara was even critiqued for the way he was influenced by the Buddha and Sankara was called as “Prachhanna Boudha” — meaning Sankara was Buddha in a disguised form. That was the extent of influence of the Buddha on Adi Sankara, regarded by many as the tallest Hindu philosopher. At the mass level Buddha was so venerated that Jayadeva in his Geeta Govinda even praised him as Mahavishnu or God himself who descended to preach Ahimsa. So, Hinduism after the Buddha’s advent became Buddhist Hinduism or Hindu Buddhism. They are today an inseparable amalgam.

The Prime Minister quoted Swami Vivekanand who praised Gautam Buddha in these words:

“At the time Buddha was born, India was in need of a great spiritual leader, a prophet.

Buddha never bowed down to anything, neither Veda, nor caste, nor priest, nor custom. He fearlessly reasoned so far as reason could take him. Such a fearless search for truth and such love for every living thing the world has never seen.

Buddha was more brave and sincere than any teacher.

Buddha was the first human being to give to this world a complete system of morality. He was good for good’s sake, he loved for love’s sake.

Buddha was the great preacher of equality. Every man and woman has the same right to attain spirituality— that was his teaching.

I would personally call India Buddhist India as it has imbibed all the values and virtues of the teachings of Buddha by their religious scholars incorporating them in their literature.”
Delving further and going deeper into this quote, Modi said: “When this highest tribute is paid by one of the great Hindu philosophers would it be wrong to call today’s Hinduism in quality and substance as Buddhist Hinduism? “

Buddha is the crown jewel of the Indian nation which accepts all ways of worship of all religions. This quality of Hinduism in India was a product of many great spiritual masters chief among them was Buddha. And this is what sustains the secular character of India. The Enlightenment which Buddha attained in Bodh Gaya also lit the light of enlightenment in Hinduism.

As the first Servant of this ancient nation I revere Buddha as a reformer of not only Hinduism but also the world, who has given all of us a new world view and vision which is critical for the survival of all of us and the entire world.

Recognising how Buddhists all over the world revere Bodh Gaya as a place of pilgrimage, the Prime Minister said: “We in India would like to develop Bodh Gaya so that it can become the spiritual capital and civilisational bond between India and the Buddhist world. The government of India would like to provide all possible support that its Buddhist cousin nations need for the satisfaction of their spiritual needs from this holiest of holy places for them.”

FinMin assures ease of doing business on Turkish turf

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Ankara : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke about the Indian investment scenario and stressed on ease of doing business in  current Indian B2B environment.

Jaitley held an interactive session with Turkish leaders on the sidelines of G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

Promising a national tax regime and ease of doing business, Jaitley said that Indian government has made significant progress in this context and is steadfastly moving forward in easing paperwork for business deals.

Promising to deliver in the nationalization of Indian tax regimes, both in terms of direct and indirect taxes, Jaitley said that many initiatives have been taken up and enormous opportunities of business for global investors including Turkey have been designed and announced by Indian government. He added that India has huge natural resources and keeping this in mind government has expedited the clearances and many more are being liberalised.

Jaitley added that India has benefitted immensely due to decline in global oil prices and a part of this benefit has already been passed on to the consumers.this has helped in lowering inflation and has paved way for greater investment in infrastructure space. Still the infrastructure sector is wanting in investments and foreign investors can play a significant role he added

ISIS has smuggled 4000 extremists in Europe

Newsroom24x7 Desk

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A tweet by Pakistan born Canadian author-cum activist Tarek Fatah projecting that 4000 ISIS extremist gunmern have managed to enter Europe along with refugees has gone  viral.

Take a look at @TarekFatah’s Tweet