OROP: Ex-servicemen begin hunger strike

OROP: Ex-servicemen begin hunger strike

Seeking their "promised dues", ex-servicemen across the country today began their relay- hunger strike demanding that the government announce a date for the introduction of the 'One Rank One Pension' policy.

In the national capital here, a group of 55 ex-servicemen from Jalandhar district sat on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, where hundreds of retired defence personnel had yesterday held a protest and sought President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention on their behalf.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has given an assurance that the "promises" made would be kept and the retired servicemen should be "patient".

"The hunger strike has begun today in various cities. This will go on indefinitely till our dues are cleared," said Col. (retd) Anil Kaul, media Advisor to Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM).

The Modi government has said that it is committed to OROP, introducing which was one of its key poll promises. But it has been unable to implement it till now.

In his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio talk, Modi had assured ex- servicemen that his government would soon resolve the OROP issue, but that has not happened, they lamented.
Even though the government has said it is committed to implementing OROP, there has been no official word on why the scheme is getting delayed.

Defence ministry sources said that the OROP file is with the Finance Ministry for a final budgetary approval.

Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired.

So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.

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