One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme is making headlines

The government told the Supreme Court that paying all dues to 1.6 million army pensioners under the OROP scheme in one lump sum may not be in the best interests of the country because it would disrupt allocations for other public purposes.

What exactly is OROP Policy?

  • OROP refers to the same pension for the same rank and length of service, regardless of the date of retirement.
  • The concept was sparked by an Indira Gandhi-led government decision in 1973, two years after the historic victory in the 1971 Bangladesh war.

The origins of the controversy

  • The Rank Pay Scheme was implemented in 1986 by the Rajiv Gandhi-led government in response to the 4th Central Pay Commission.
  • It reduced the basic pay of seven armed officer ranks by fixed amounts designated as rank pay: 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain, Majors, Lt. Colonel, Colonels, Brigadiers, and their equivalent.


  • Manmohan Singh led the government in the aftermath of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (6CPC), which abolished the concept of rank-pay.
  • Instead of addressing the rank, pay, and pension disparities caused by the ‘rank pay’ dispensation, it introduced grade pay and pay bands, which reinforced existing disparities.
  • The current government has accepted the OROP and has made some funds available for its implementation.

Flaws of this pension policy

  • Veterans emphasise the importance of justice, equity, honour, and national security.
  • Failure to address the issue of pay-pension equity, and the underlying issue of honour, is not only a major cause of the OROP protest movement, but it is also a major cause of its escalation.

Current situation

  • The government has already released Rs. 5500 crores for the purpose, but there are still some complaints from veterans.
  • Pensions were refined for all retirees in the same rank as the average of the minimum and maximum pensions in 2013.
  • The veterans noted the government’s proposal as one rank many pensions because the 5-year review would result in pension differences between senior and junior.
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