The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state blamed the bureaucracy for the logjam created after the one rank one pension (OROP) scheme was announced by the NDA government on Saturday. They hoped that the latter would sort out all glitches relating to OROP.
“Babus were behind the (NDA) government’s decision to exclude veterans from OROP. It is a part of their (babus) well-thought out tactic to create a sharp wedge between the government and the armed forces so as to continue their hold on the system,” said Col CM Nautiyal, vice-president of BJP’s state unit.
Ex-servicemen had sharply reacted to the BJP-led NDA government’s decision that OROP would not be applicable to veterans taking premature retirement. The Centre also came under criticism from the ex-servicemen for its decision to introduce Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for veterans retiring prematurely.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said military personnel who retired prematurely will benefit from OROP and slammed people trying to “mislead” the armed forces over the government’s OROP decision.
“Prime Minister Modi has now assured that OROP would also be applicable to the veterans who will take premature retirement,” said the BJP leader. “The kind of person that PM Modi is we are fully confident that he would soon deliver on his promise on OROP which the Congress had been putting off for the past 42 years,” he added.
“Due to the vertical system of promotion in the army, veterans are forced to take premature retirement which is sheer injustice,” Nautiyal said. “Denying them OROP was yet another injustice for which babus were solely responsible as they misguided both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Manohar Parrikar,” he alleged.
The bureaucrats were also behind two more glitches relating to OROP, the BJP leader said. “One of them was one-member judicial committee to be set up to sort out the issues relating to various benefits between the army officers and civil servants. The other issue pertained to the veterans’ demand for annual review of their pensions.” Nautiyal said the ex-servicemen were confident that both issues would be sorted out.
According to Col Suresh Chandra Tyagi, president of the state BJP’s Sainik Prakosth (Soldiers’ Cell), the issue of OROP was taken up years ago with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for the first time. “The issue was raised just a year after the army’s rather amazing victory over East Pakistan (Bangladesh).
But what did we get in return?” Col Tyagi said. “The pension share of our salary was drastically reduced from 70% to 50%. In sharp contrast, the pension share of babus’ (civil servants) salary was raised from 30% to 50%,” he added.
“The Congress together with babus took us for a ride on the issue of OROP all these years…Modi has taken an initiative and will resolve the issue,” Col Tyagi said. “If that happens, 25% of the total voters in our state, which include army personnel and their families will shift to the BJP,” he told HT.