The UPA government's decision to enforce 'one rank one pension' for defence pensioners on Monday evoked mixed response from Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal with both airing divergent opinions on the issue.
While Hooda welcomed the decision of the UPA government to enforce 'one rank one pension' norm for ex-servicemen, Badal questioned the intention of Congress and its allies for ignoring the bill for a decade.
The decision was announced by union finance minister P Chidambaram while presenting the interim union budget for 2014-15 in the Lok Sabha today.
"It is a good news. I heartily welcome the decision. We are happy that our demand for 'one rank one pension' which the Haryana government has been pressing hard has been finally conceded by the Central Government," Hooda, while reacting over the issue, told reporters here.
However, Badal told reporters at Mohali that Punjab government had requested the UPA government to bring the bill of utmost importance for our soldiers for last 10 years but it postponed it for one or other reasons.
"Congress party is well aware that it is now on the verge of extinction so its frustrated leader is trying to whitewash its misdeeds. Now, it is practicing its age-old practice of befooling people by bringing such bills but these days voters are well aware of such tactics," Badal said.
Meanwhile, Hooda said that "we are grateful to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for taking the long awaited decision. I convey my special thanks to AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who has been pursuing the matter vigorously for quite some time."
Lakh of defence personnel and ex-servicemen of Haryana would be benefited from this decision, Hooda added.
'One rank, one pension' will ensure that soldiers of the same rank and the same length of service receive the same pension, irrespective of their retirement date.