Parrikar blames Antony for creating ‘stalemate’
The Minister accused Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi of raising important issues including 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) without understanding it.
A combative Parrikar, who has been accused by the Congress of "compromising national security", said it took the brief spell of Arun Jaitley as the Defence Minister to start "moving the wheels" in the sector.
However, he said, he will not assess the damage caused due to the "stalemate".
"He (Antony) cannot escape the responsibility but I will not assess the level of damage because everyone has a style of functioning," Parrikar told a news agency in an interview.
"What I inherited was <g data-gr-id="69">stalemate</g>. <g data-gr-id="71">Arunji</g> had tried and started moving the wheels. But in many issues, there was hardly any time for him because he was there only for five months. But he had started moving the wheels. I think I have started putting speed on that." He also wondered how can "anyone get away from the responsibility if something has not gone well".
Parrikar said he can give an excuse of <g data-gr-id="70">paucity</g> of time if somebody questions him why he has not completed the unfinished tasks since he has been in the Ministry only for seven months.
"After one year, I still can complain that I could not complete many of my tasks. But <g data-gr-id="60">if</g> after two years, I complain that still many are pending, then I think I have no right to complain," he said.
Last week, Antony attacked Parrikar for compromising on national security and questioned the high-profile Rafale fighter jet deal Prime Minister Narendra Modi clinched with French President Francois Hollande last month.
The Minister also took on Rahul saying he was raising issues without understanding the subjects.
"These people don't have deep study," he said, adding Congress has been talking about many things without knowing what it is.
"On Tuesday, their General Secretary (sic) Rahul was talking about OROP. He says he had kept Rs 500 crore. I will sign it tomorrow if it is Rs 500 crore," Parrikar said.
Parrikar added that if the question of OROP were that simple, it would have been settled long time back.
"Why did they delay it for 10 years. I had to do a three months exercise to first <g data-gr-id="59">crystalise</g> it. I have done it now and I expect it to be out very soon.
"But, he (Rahul) is saying so casually that they had kept Rs 500 crore. He does not know this issue at all," he said, adding it was the same case about other issues raised by him including the land bill.
Rahul had slammed the government for not implementing the OROP. It has been a long-standing demand of the over two million ex-servicemen of India. It 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.
The scheme is estimated to cost around Rs 8,600 crore initially and subsequently several crore rupees annually.
Currently, all pre-2006 (the year the 6th pay panel recommendations became effective) pensioners receive lesser pension than not only their counterparts but also their juniors.
Parrikar also attacked the Congress on the controversial land bill and accused the UPA of "SEZ scam".
"If the bill that we brought does not become a law, it is the farmer who is going to get damaged the most," he said, adding land is required for all projects, including those for power, water supply and roads.
Noting that all children of a farmer cannot go into farming because the land will get fragmented, Parrikar said agriculture needs to co-exist with industrialisation.