For OROP, war veterans to march on Delhi: Ajay Sura,TNN
CHANDIGARH: More than 10,000 restless ex-servicemen from across the country will hold a massive protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on February 1 to pressurize the Centre into keeping its promise on the one rank one pension (OROP) demand.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, both the BJP and Congress had pledged to implement the scheme. But the new government has not implemented it even after completing 200 days in office. Several ex-servicemen welfare organizations have come under the banner of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) for the protest.
The veterans are also unhappy over defence minister Manohar Parrikar recent statement that he would try to implement 80% of OROP.
“It has to be implemented 100% as promised by the Prime Minister on a number of occasions. Any dilution will not be OROP,” said Major General Satbir Singh (retd), chairman of IESM. He also wants a white paper from the Centre on OROP, given that Narender Modi had pledged to implement the scheme in his first election rally at Rewari in September 2013 after he was declared BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
“If it is short of funds, the government should openly say so. We are even ready to accept bonds but give us our 100%,” Gen Satbir said.
Brigadier Harwant Singh (retd), president of the all India Defence Brotherhood, said, “As soldiers, we never thought of performing 80% while guarding the nation. We are feeling dejected and restless because of the delay.”
Brigadier Kiran Krishan (retd) of IESM said OROP was sanctioned on February 17, 2014. “Ten months have passed since. The BJP government enthusiastically promising to implement it had raised our hopes. But the party seems to be dragging its feet.”
In its last budget in February, the UPA government had provisioned for Rs 500 crore for OROP. The BJP government had announced Rs 1,000 crore in its interim budget in July. However, army authorities estimate that Rs 5,000 crore would be required, whereas the accounts department of the defence ministry says Rs 9000 crore would be needed to implement OROP.
Out of 30-lakh ex-servicemen in the country, Punjab alone has around 3 lakh, Haryana has nearly 2.8 lakh, Himachal Pradesh (HP) has around two lakh. Around 10,000 retired ex-servicemen live in Chandigarh.
OROP implies uniform pension to personnel retiring on the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement.
Source: Times of India
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