As the politics of suicide of ex-serviceman gained national headlines, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today set a two-month deadline to resolve problems related to the One Rank Once Pension (OROP) scheme.
Addressing army veterans here, Parrikar said that only one lakh ex-servicemen were facing problem in getting pension as per OROP scheme.
"Only one lakh ex-servicemen (out of over 20 lakh) are not getting pension as per OROP scheme due to some technical difficulty or documentation problems. We will resolve these problems in coming two months," he said.
The Defence Minister, accompanied by Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, was here to pay homage to Major Somnath Sharma, the first Param Vir Chakra awardee of independent India, and other soldiers who laid down their lives while pushing back an offensive by Pakistani raiders to control Srinagar Airport in 1947.
Parrikar said the government is sensitive to OROP issue as it was not implemented for the past 43 years.
"We did it. Every year Rs 7,500 crore (will be incurred) and Rs 11,000 crore arrears have been paid. There has been 23 to 24 per cent average increase in pension," he added.
After interacting and listening to the problems of the ex-servicemen, Parikkar assure them that their grievances would be resolved.
"Whatever (problems) has been conveyed to me today will be resolved by the time I come again. Today, I was given 10 minutes for an interaction with you but I extended it to 40 minutes. Next time, I will spend half a day with you," he said, adding that he will make all efforts to resolve the problems of the ex-servicemen.
"Several of these (problems) will be resolved at the local level. I know that the reservation (benefits) and facilities of the state government have not been fully extended to you. I will seek a report from the state government on this issue. The facilities of central government will also be extended to you. I will look into it. I will find solution to the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) problem also," he said.
A major of a political war erupted after the tragic suicide of retired Army man Ram Kishan Grewal over the OROP scheme.
Opposition parties have attacked the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of not implementing the OROP in its original form.