OROP: Talks with Parrikar fail; ex-servicemen to stir
The talks between ex-servicemen and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the One Rank One Pension scheme failed on Saturday after which the retired defence personnel decided to go ahead with their planned rally on June 14 followed by a relay hunger strike to protest the long delay in implementation of the scheme.
"Though Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar understood our problem and argument, he did not give any date for the implementation of the OROP and hence we are going ahead with our agitation," Maj Gen Satbir Singh, chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) told a news agency.
He twice led a delegation of ex-servicemen on Saturday at meetings with Parrikar and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.
Singh said he has complete faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hoped that the OROP will be implemented soon. The ex-servicemen group has also written a letter to Modi seeking his intervention to meet their long-pending demand.
At a conclave of the retired defence personnel on Saturday, it was decided that they will call off their proposed agitation if the Minister gave a deadline of July 15 for the implementation of the OROP.
OROP seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to the defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme. Even though the government has said it is committed to implementing OROP, there has been no official clarification on why the scheme is delayed.
Defence Ministry sources said that the OROP file is lying with the Finance Ministry for a final budgetary approval.
Parrikar has repeatedly said that the government has completed all formalities and OROP will be implemented soon.
"Since December last, we have met Parrikar four times and every time he said it would be implemented in a week or so," Singh said at the conclave.
The Army chief, while addressing ex-servicemen on March 14, had said that OROP would be approved latest by April 30.