We have accepted OROP in principle says PM

Statement disappoints agitating ex-servicemen

We have accepted OROP in principle says PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Saturday that his government had accepted the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme “in principle” disappointed the agitating ex-servicemen, who were expecting him to declare a specific timeframe for its implementation in his Independence Day speech.

Saying the implementation of the OROP scheme was pending for the past 20-25 years although it was before all earlier governments, the PM admitted that he, too, could not bring it to reality so far. He, however, assured the soldiers and ex-servicemen that the government had accepted in “in principle”.

“I am assuring the soldiers of the armed forces again. And I am not giving the assurance as an individual. I am assuring on behalf of 125 crore people that Team India comprises of. I am speaking under the Tricolour. I am speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort. We have accepted the One Rank One Pension in principle,” Modi said in his Independence Day address.

The PM did not announce any timeline for the OROP scheme’s implementation but said the government is in an advanced stage of discussion with the ex-servicemen to finalise modalities for its implementation.

His words, however, failed to convince the ex-servicemen, who have been agitating at the Jantar Mantar over the delay in the scheme’s implementation. The opposition Congress also accused him of going back on the issue.

Ex-soldiers unhappy
“We had high expectations from the prime minister and his government. We are extremely disappointed,” said Col Anil Kaul (retd), spokesperson of the United Front of Ex-Servicemen.

He said the protest would now be scaled up and taken to poll-bound states like Bihar (2015) and Punjab (2017).

With the government repeatedly assuring the ex-servicemen over the implement the OROP, the retired soldiers were expecting that the PM might use his Independence Day speech to announce it on Saturday.

Antony speaks
“In the budget of February 2014, the UPA government announced that it was accepting OROP and it would be implemented on April 1, 2014, onwards with retrospective effect,” senior Congress leader A K Antony, who was the defence minister in the previous government, said on Saturday. “Our government announced OROP and we took all the decisions to implement it. It was a question of completing certain formalities for calculating individual pension,”he said.

Antony said after 15 years, the PM said his government was accepting it ‘in principle’. “It is going back. It is a total disappointment for the ex-servicemen community,” he said.

Saying it was “really unfortunate” that the soldiers were treated like this, Kaul added: “Neither the prime minister nor the president had said anything about the incident yesterday.”

Delhi Police personnel on Friday tried to remove the agitators from the protest site at Jantar Mantar. The police relented after the Ministry of Home Affairs intervened, but the attempt to remove them added to the ire of the ex-servicemen.
 

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