Army veterans on Saturday decided to carry on with their strike after the 'one rank one pension' (OROP) scheme announced by defence minister Manohar Parrikar failed to satisfy them.
Parrikar assured an equal pension to military personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of the date of retirement. The ex-servicemen however said the government accepted only one out of their six demands.
One of the contentions which was resolved later in the evening was over whether the OROP scheme would be applicable to armymen who choose to retire early. Parrikar clarified to the veterans that OROP would hold good for those taking premature retirement.
As the debate over the scheme continues with political parties jumping the bandwagon, here is a look at who said what on the issue after Parrikar’s announcement.
Maj gen (retd) Satbir Singh, a key leader spearheading the OROP protest
“We thank the government that they decided to implement OROP, but they have accepted one of our points, and rejected six points. We are not fully satisfied.”
“Government has said that the people opting for voluntary retirement would not fall under OROP. We want a clarification on the VRS issue, if they still don't accept, then it is a big blow to the forces,”
Former Army chief general Deepak Kapoor
"The Modi government has taken a substantial step in terms of finally declaring OROP. In principal, accepting this entire concept, they have to be lauded.”
"But a number of other issues which are worrying the veterans are a cause of concern. It would have been better if those issues too could have been addressed. For the sources to say that about 98% of aspirations have been met, may not be fully correct."
Former Army chief general VP Malik
“I refer to people who have completed their pensionable service but couldn’t go up. To exclude them from the OROP is unjust, rather foolish. Once someone has earned his pension, it is unjust to deny him enhanced pension.”
“How can 1-member commission decide things? They should have members from the defence forces as well.”
Amit Shah, BJP president
“The previous Congress government in its last moments made an allocation of Rs 500 crore for it and this was a joke with servicemen.”
"We (BJP government) have not just fulfilled the promise but implemented it as well. The Modi government has provided the retired and serving servicemen a financial security net."
Venkaiah Naidu, union minister
"It is a tribute to the people who are at the forefront, guarding the security of the country. I appeal to the veterans to give up their agitation and join the government in discussions."
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves all the compliments for the same. He took personal interest and defence minister, finance minister worked hard. We are happy that we are able to resolve this issue.”
Omar Abdullah, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister
"If the ex-servicemen are rejecting six out of the defence minister's seven announcements, how can the government claim to have implemented OROP?"
"Review every five years - rejected. One man commission - rejected, VRS takers omitted - rejected, starting years proposed - rejected. OROP fail."
Statement by former ministers AK Antony and Kapil Sibal
"Why has Modi government rejected five out of sixdemands of our 30 lakh ex-servicemen? Instead of back-patting and chest thumping, why does government not ponder over the rejection of government's announcement by ex-servicemen."
"Does the BJP government not know that only about 1000 out of nearly 13 lakh army personnel reach the actual age of 60 years of retirement? Why is Modi government immune to the fact that almost all junior ranks retire by the age of 40 years?”
"Is it not a fact that 85% of armed forces personnel retire by the age of 38 years and 10% retire by the age of 46 years?"