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One Rank One Pension delay: Ex-servicemen to go on relay hunger strike from today

India TV News Desk 15 Jun 2015, 12:54:47 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Ex-servicemen will go on an indefinite relay hunger strike from today to put pressure on the government to implement One-Rank, One-Pension (OROP) scheme.

The hunger strike will be led by Colonel MB Ahluwalia (retd) and at least 50 others are expected to join while hundreds were set to participate in the protest.

Yesterday, the retired servicemen took out a massive rally in the national capital and across the country to express their displeasure in the delay of OROP implementation.

The protesters signed a petition with blood which they handed over to the President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They also returned their gallantry medals to the president.

Failed to meet the president, a delegation handed over the petition and around 1,500 gallantry medals to a Rashtrapati Bhavan official.

The protests come after talks — both formal and back- channel — with the government failed as the former soldiers were not given a specific timeline for the implementation of the long-pending OROP.

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

Yesterday in Jaipur, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar sought to assuage their concerns, saying the promises made will be kept and that they should be "patient".

"I assure you whatever we have promised that all would be done.. but some people need to be patient," Parrikar said addressing a conference here on challenges and solutions regarding border safety.

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

So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996. The ex-Defence personnel said this policy was "lopsided" and needed to be rectified.

The ex-servicemen maintained that they were not against any government but are pressing to get their long-pending dues.

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

In his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio talk, Modi had assured ex-servicemen that his government would soon resolve the OROP issue but this has not happened, they lamented.