What is the current position on implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP)? The government’s bland statement, “The demand has been accepted and the modalities of its implementation are being worked out” gives nothing away. Indicative of the government’s thinking, however, is the advice given by the then defence minister Mr Jaitely to veterans’ representatives in an interaction on July 16 to “lower their expectations”. In the same vein, his successor, Mr Parrikar, has stated his intention to “implement only 80% of OROP” since “100% satisfaction is not possible in life”.
One can only imagine the consternation and frustration caused by such an insensitive, unthinking remark. Both ministers’ statements are at variance with the prime minister’s proud boast at the Siachen base camp on Diwali that ‘One Rank One Pension has been fulfilled’.
Such divergent utterances by politicians increasingly give veterans an impression that fulfilling OROP is an election promise that this government intends to break. Hints have been thrown that the government is baulking at the estimated Rs 9,300 crore that it would take to fully implement OROP. If we go by the defence minister’s intent, implementing 80% of OROP would mean saving just Rs 1,860 crore. Does the government intend to decry the services and sacrifices of over two million ex-servicemen and four lakh widows for this measly sum? The implementation of this righteous demand in full brooks no delay.
In a situation like this, reeking of betrayal and disappointment, there is no other course left before the ESM but to articulate their grievances before the country. The premier veterans’ organisation, the Indian Ex-Servicemens Movement (IESM) is therefore restarting its agitation to realise OROP with a rally at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on February 1.
This writer, for one, intends to be there to show his solidarity with the defenders of our freedom and their just demands. Veterans have already given more than their 100% to the nation. Why should they be forced to accept just 80% of what’s due to them?
Top appointments in IAF maintenance stream
Two officers from Punjab have been appointed to the top posts in the IAF’s maintenance stream. Air Marshal Jagjeet Singh, VSM, is the new Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, Nagpur, which handles the repair, maintenance and overhaul of all aircraft and equipment as well as warehousing of stores through its network of base repair depots, equipment depots and air storage parks. With an electrical engineering degree from Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, he was commissioned in the Aeronautical Engineering Branch in 1977. The air marshal is also a post graduate in electrical engineering from Punjab University.
As the new Air Officer in-charge of maintenance at Air HQ, Air Marshal Sukhchain Singh, VSM, belonging to Amritsar, lays down the policy for the maintenance of the IAF’s aircraft fleet and equipment as well as overseeing it.
Commissioned in 1979, he is a graduate in electronics and communication from Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra (now National Institute of Technology) and a post graduate in integrated electronics from IIT Delhi. A graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has worked in research and development (R&D) as well as held top maintenance staff appointments at Air HQ and in commands.
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