Rahul raises pension issue for ex-servicemen

Rahul raises pension issue for ex-servicemen

After taking up farmers issue, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday attacked the Narendra Modi government for not implementing the “one-rank-one-pension” (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen. 

The initiative was cleared by the previous UPA government.Rahul met a delegation of ex-servicemen, including war widows, at the AICC headquarters here and assured them that he would put pressure on the Modi government to implement the scheme.

“We (UPA) had allotted money and also taken a decision. One year has passed and this should happen at the earliest. We will pressurise the government and ask them to take a decision at the earliest,” Rahul said. Former defence minister A K Antony said that the UPA government had made a token allocation of Rs 500 crore after taking a decision in February last year to implement the scheme.

But the implementation was caught in bureaucratic red tape and Antony had referred the matter to a panel chaired by the Controller General of Defence Accounts. However, the report with no clear recommendation was submitted on May 26 last year, the day the Modi government assumed office.

The Centre referred the issue to a committee of secretaries and it is learnt that after the intervention of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the differences have been reconciled and an announcement was expected at a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of the NDA government.

On Friday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the “methodology of calculation” for OROP was still being worked out. 

The delay has led the Congress to suspect that the government was bent on diluting some provisions of the scheme.

Former minister of state for defence and Congress leader Jitendra Singh accused the government of being anti-soldier. He said the UPA government first took an initiative on the issue in 2006, then in 2009 and 2013.

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