'One Rank, One Pension' spadework moving on fast-track: Parrikar

New Delhi, Jan 31: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said his Ministry would finalise modalities for the much delayed 'One Rank, One Pension' (OROP) scheme by next week and the file would be sent to Finance Ministry for further action. "In principle, it has been approved earlier.

Discussions are on to fix modalities... By next week, the view of the defence ministry will be formed," Parrikar told reporters here while declaring that the OROP issue has been fast-tracked and he has already held several meetings on it.

'One Rank, One Pension' on fast track

As and when the exact implementation status for the scheme is finalised by defence ministry, it will be taken up to the Ministry of Finance, he said. Speaking on the issue last month, Parrikar had said if he could take the satisfaction level (of the retired armed forces personnel) to 80-90 per cent, that should be "a good enough solution".

'One Rank, One Pension' has been a long-standing demand of the over 2 million ex-servicemen in India. It seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

The minister, meanwhile, said it has decided not to fight nearly 4,000 disability pension cases pending against his ministry in courts, a move which will benefit thousands of soldiers waging long legal battles. Asked about concerns expressed by China and Pakistan over the defence agreement signed during US President Barack Obama's visit here and whether India was prepared for a two- front war, Parrikar refused to comment.

He, however, said, "From our side we are trying to create an atmosphere of preparedness for everything. You have to assume the worst and hope for the best," he said. On a query as to whether the talks being held with the US on controversial agreements like CISMOA, BECA and LSA, he said "more cooperation is good" but did not comment on anything that is in the discussion stage.

He said that if India expands the Defence Trade Technology Initiative (DTTI), it would be advantageous for the country. The minister said that the next meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council is likely to be held on February 9. "Wherever procedures are proper, I feel that decisions should be quick. I have been pushing very hard for quick decisions. On the merit of each case, decision will be taken," he said.


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