The United Front of Ex-Servicemen and the State Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (SEWA) organised a rally of ex-servicemen here on Sunday to protest against the provisions of ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) notification issued by government.
Hundreds of ex-servicemen from Punjab , Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh participated in the rally.
The protesters shouted slogans against the Prime Minister and the defence minister and accused them of deceiving the ex-servicemen.
Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who has been on the forefront in the OROP agitation, led the rally.
He said the provision in the OROP notification that if someone took premature retirement, he would not be entitled to benefits under the OROP scheme, was unjustified. “This is not acceptable to ex-servicemen,” he added.
According to an earlier announcement, all the soldiers and officers, who opted for earlier retirement, were excluded from benefits, but later, the government included those, who had already taken retirement, and excluded those who would do so in future.
Satbir Singh said, “All armymen served equally, so all should be included in the OROP scheme. The provision is not in the interest of a young army as well.”
“If someone, who wants to take premature retirement, is forced not do so in view of financial benefits and continues in service, it will ultimately lead to an army of elderly, but we need to keep our army young.”
“The notification says that the burden on the exchequer will amount to Rs 8,300 crore, which if divided among all defence pensioners, will benefit each by around `950 per month in the basic pension. The notification further states that the expenditure will increase to more than `10,000 crore in the coming years, which is absolutely wrong as dearness allowance (DA) will be zero with effect from January 1, 2016 and the burden will be only of `950 to each of of 25 lakh pensioners, which amounts to `23,750 crore. This is just peanut in a likely bill of over `4 lakh crore,” said Kuldip Singh Grewal, president, SEWA.
“It will affect 60% ex-servicemen adversely if this notification is implemented. The government is trying to deceive us,” said Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh. “We will intensify the protest if this notification is not rectified,” he added.