Early retirees won’t be denied OROP: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the Armed Forces jawans, who had to give up their jobs prematurely, would be covered by One Rank, One Pension (OROP) benefits announced by the government on Saturday.
Welcoming the government’s decision, the agitating ex-servicemen decided to call off their hunger strike but would continue their stir till all the “sticky” issues are resolved.
Addressing a press conference at Jantar Mantar, Major General (Retd) Satbir Singh, leader of the association leading the agitation, said the protest will continue till four specific points raised by ex-servicemen were accepted by the government.
“We thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for fulfilling the promise of One Rank, One Pension. We thank the Defence Minister but there are four issues to be resolved including the period of equalisation of pension,” Singh said.
The ex-servicemen said revision of pension after a gap of five years as announced by the government was not at all acceptable to them, besides appointment of a one-man judicial commission to examine various aspects of OROP.
He then urged all those who were on hunger strike to withdraw it as the Prime Minister had clarified
on the issue of premature retirement.
Addressing a rally in Haryana while inaugurating a Metro line between Badarpur in Delhi and Faridabad in Haryana, Modi said, “Armed Forces personnel who retired prematurely will be entitled to OROP.” He said a commission has been proposed to be set up to address any shortcomings, if any, in the OROP decision.
Noting that around 85 per cent of the army constituted of jawans, he said those who have to compulsorily retire after 15-17 years will benefit the most from this decision. “If anybody gets OROP, jawans will be the first,” said Modi, who was also greeted by ex-servicemen at the function.
Hitting out at the Opposition Congress, the Prime Minister said in Faridabad that “Some people are trying to mislead Armed Forces on OROP; trying to score political points.”
“Those who did nothing for 40-42 years, do they have any right to ask questions? They only misled you and committed sins. They want to score political points....Oneupmanship will not help the nation,” he said, referring to criticism of the package by the Congress leadership.
The veterans, who have been pressing for OROP for four decades, on Saturday won a partial victory with the government announcing that it would implement it, but the veterans rejected the package and decided to continue their agitation.
The issue of whether the scheme would cover ex-servicemen who have taken premature retirement had emerged as a major sticking point. They met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday and later said his clarification in this regard was “satisfying”. With Prime Minister’s assurance, the matter seems to have simmered down for now.