After Modi's assurance on 'one rank one pension' scheme, scepticism and a demand for timeline
Ex-servicemen and the opposition Congress appeared scepitc on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance on rolling out the 'One Rank, One Pension' scheme.india Updated: Jun 01, 2015 08:46 IST
Ex-servicemen and the opposition Congress appeared sceptic on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance on rolling out the 'one rank one pension (OROP)' scheme.
While army veterans sought a firm timeline, the Congress said the PM had further compouned the problems by saying the scheme was a "complex issue".
In his monthly Mann ki Baat programme, Modi asked ex-servicemen to give him some time to find a solution to the issue mired in problems.
The PM said, “I assure you. I have made a promise in the midst of ex-servicemen that my government will implement OROP. We do not shun our responsibility.” He said after the NDA government was formed, various departments were working towards finding a solution to the veterans’ demand.
Though Modi targeted previous governments for only talking about OROP but doing nothing to implement it, miffed ex-servicemen appeared to be in no mood to call off their planned protest on June 14 over the delay in its implementation.
"Assurance without a firm date does not really satisfy the ex-servicemen community. What we are looking for is a date. Assurance has never been in doubt. We are wanting to know when. We are not looking for 'khairaat' (doles). We are looking for sense of justice for our due demand," Lt Gen (retd) Raj Kadyan said.
He said the protest can be deferred only if the government gives a firm date.
"We don't want to protest, it's not good for the country but we should not be compelled to do it," he added.
The OROP scheme, which will benefit three million pensioners, is aimed at ensuring that retired soldiers of the same rank and the same duration of service receive the same pension, irrespective of their date of retirement.
The government has created an initial corpus of Rs 8,300 crore to implement the scheme.
Congress leader Ajay Maken said the Prime Minister has chosen to further "compound" the problem, "confuse" the entire issue and create another "flutter" by saying OROP is a "very complex issue".
"So, isn't it surprising Prime Minister after one year that one of your important demands OROP earlier, which was implemented by the UPA government and Rs 500 crore set aside for Vote on Account in February 2014. Now, one year after assuming power, you tell the country that it is the complexities, of which you never knew earlier," Maken told reporters.
Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said the OROP scheme was initiated by the UPA government and even after one year of the NDA there are so many delays over it.
Lt Gen (retd) Shankar Prasad said Modi's comments and assurances were an "excellent projection" by him and this is not the first time he has done it.
"This is the third or fourth or fifth time he is doing it and it seems that people are now beginning to feel that we are just being fooled," he added.
"How long is the Prime Minister and his party is going to fool us, we are not very sure. The fact that OROP has been reiterated by everybody in the government but nobody is willing to give a date for it," he said.
Read: 'One rank one pension' overhaul delayed as paramilitary forces fear demoralisation
PM Modi pledges solution to 'one rank one pension', wants more time