Dismayed over the government’s dilly-dallying over the implementation of the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) scheme, thousands of ex-servicemen on Sunday staged protests across the country.
Also, in an extreme step taken to ratchet up the pressure on the government, the ex-servicemen were said to have signed a ‘petition in blood’ and will hand it over to the President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Narendra Modi.
The Indian ex-servicemen Movement (IESM), which is staging the rally, has also warned that the retired personnel will also go on a hunger strike from tomorrow that is, June 15.
“IESM vice-chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh also wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi on Sunday, expressing shock over PM Narendra Modi’s demand of more time to resolve the OROP issue, calling it a complex affair.
“ESM got a greater shock when you announced on 31 May 15 that even though PM is committed to OROP but it is a very complex issue and needs more time to solve it,” says the letter. The letter was tweeted by a retired Army Colonel NR Kurup.
The agitation by ex-Army personnel comes two weeks after PM Narendra Modi reiterated his assurance to implement the OROP in the eighth episode of his radio programme “Mann Ki Baat” on 31st May.
PM Modi who has time and again promised to bring OROP in force, has sought more time to implement the OROP, calling it a complicated issue.
However, it seems that the ex-servicemen’s patience is soon running out as despite various rounds of talks with top ministers in the government, there has been no concrete conclusion as to when the OROP will come in effect.
Colonel Kurup also mocked the Modi government over not fixing a particular date for the OROP implementation, saying that since the government had four more years to go, the OROP might have to wait till then.
Another Army veteran Deepak Kher said that the rally by the army ex-servicemen was well attendd, but not well reported by the media.
The rally comes just two days after the Army veterans wrote a letter to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, seeking a specific date for the implementation of OROP.
In the letter, the ex-servicemen body called the OROP a flagrant and emotional issue and urged Jaitley to come to a speedy conclusion.
The ‘One Rank, One Pension’ issue is hanging fire since last 40 years and Modi himself has taunted the previous governments of not doing enough to implement it.
If ‘One Rank One Pension’ gets implemented it will benefit lakhs of ex-Army personnel and war widows as OROP means that two retired soldiers having same rank and same length of service should get same pension irrespective of their date of retirement.