Protesting military personnel on Sunday called off their indefinite hunger strike after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance that the one rank one pension (OROP) scheme will cover those retiring prematurely but decided to continue agitation till four other demands were met.
"We have called off the hunger strike but protest will continue till all our major demands are met," said major general (retd) Satbir Singh, who is spearheading the ex-servicemen's protest.
Here’s a lowdown on remaining four points of contention between the government and the defence veterans and what exactly the veterans are demanding:
Revision of pension
The protesting ex-servicemen welcomed Modi's clarification, but said revision of pension after a gap of five years was unacceptable and are stressing on a yearly review.
"This is totally unjustified and not according to the definition of the OROP. We will again request the government to go by the approved definition of the OROP. We will again meet the government to discuss this," Singh said.
Formation of the judicial commission
The government's decision to appoint a one-member judicial commission to examine various aspects of the OROP has also been rejected by the ex-servicemen as they have demanded a five-member committee comprising three ex-servicemen, one serving member from the armed forces and a representative from the ministry of defence.
Singh said that if the government approves yearly revision, then the judicial commission is not required at all.
"However, since the government has announced the formation of a judicial commission, we demand that it should have five members comprising three ex-servicemen, one serving chief of staff and another representative from the ministry of defence, nominated by the defence minister."
The time period for submission of the commission’s report
The third demand is that the commission should give its report in one-month and not six months as proposed by the government and the implementation of this should be in next 15 days after the submission of the report.
The calculation of the base year
The fourth and the last point of difference between the agitating ex-servicemen and the government is the calculation of the base year. The ex-servicemen want the base year to be 2013-14 instead of 2014 as stated by the government.
Singh said it was agreed during the negotiations that the base year for calculation of pension would be 2013-14 and not calendar year 2013. Pressing for March 31, 2014 as base date, Singh said if government sticks to the calendar year, than December 31 should be the basis for fixing the benefits.
"In the draft, calendar year of 2013 was mentioned. Even in that they have mentioned the average of the top of the scale will be taken. Which means instead of taking the top of the scale from December 31, they have taken an average of the year, which is July 1 (2014). This is also not acceptable to us," said Singh.
(With PTI inputs)
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