The Interim Budget presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday has brought quite a lot of cheer in the ex-servicemen community.
The ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme has certainly lifted their spirits although the ex-servicemen pretty well acknowledge that it was nothing but the UPA trying to lure them ahead of the General Elections.
Rahul Gandhi gets credit:
As we know, P Chidambaram had announced a 10% hike in the defence budget with Rs 500 crores allocated for the implementation of the ‘one rank, one pension scheme. The ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme has been a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has hailed the UPA announcement as “historic” while the BJP isn’t convinced about the sincerity of the ruling party towards the defence personnel. Earlier, a delegation of ex-servicemen had met Rahul Gandhi and was assured that their demands would be met by the UPA Government.
There is plenty of skepticism though on whether the Rs. 500 crore allocation would be enough for the implementation of the scheme. Nevertheless, the ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme is likely to benefit around 30 lakh retired Armed forces personnel.
It can be recalled that in 2012, over 23 lakh ex-servicemen had publicly protested while even returning their medals for the implementation of this scheme.
What is the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ Scheme?
Retired soldiers belonging to the same rank and having the same length of service will now receive the same amount of pension. The new rule ‘one rank, one pension’ disregards the fact of when the soldiers had retired.
To explain the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme, consider this example of a sepoy who retired in 2012 who would have drawn approximately Rs. 4000 more than his seniors who had retired prior to 2006.
In other words, until now, ex-servicemen who had retired before 2006 were receiving lesser pension than their counterparts as well as their juniors.