Rajnath Singh: Before Diwali, the ministry is to deliver the third installment of One Rank One Pension (OROP) payments to defence retirees, as directed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday. The minister added that banks and other organisations have been instructed to follow suit for every defence pensioner receiving their benefits from them.
OROP Third Installment Before Diwali
In a post on X, Rajnath Singh said, “Have directed the MoD to release the third instalment of OROP Payment for the Defence Pensioners drawing pension through SPARSH System, before Diwali.” The Supreme Court ordered the government to pay out OROP arrears in three equal installments by February 28, 2024, earlier this year. The highest court supported the Center’s argument that the defence readiness may be impacted if the almost 21 lakh ex-servicemen’s outstanding OROP debts of Rs 28,000 crore were paid all at once.
Family Pensioners and Gallantry Awardees
The 6 lakh family pensioners and recipients of the gallantry award are to receive their OROP dues by April 30, 2023, according to a directive from the Supreme Court. By June 30, around 4-5 lakh retired personnel who are 70 years of age or more should receive their dues in one or more installments. The panel had stated that the remaining 10–11 lakh pensioners should get their arrears by February 28, 2024, in three installments. The top court issued the directives after criticising the Centre for “unilaterally” choosing to pay OROP dues in four installments. The SC’s ruling was contested by a number of former service members.
Uniform Pension for Same Rank and Service
Under the OROP programme, military personnel with the same rank and years of service will receive the same amount of pension, regardless of when they retire. Regarding the way OROP was administered, the Congress had criticised the BJP-led Central government, alleging that “large scale anomalies” had infiltrated. Col (retd) Rohit Chaudhry, head of the Congress ex-servicemen’s department, stated: “The current form of OROP-1 and 2 is a ‘one rank and many persons’, not the actual OROP conceptualised under the UPA regime.”