1. OROP: Ex-servicemen upset with Manohar Parrikar’s statement, push to meet PM Narendra Modi

OROP: Ex-servicemen upset with Manohar Parrikar’s statement, push to meet PM Narendra Modi

Retired military personnel on Thursday boycotted the government's celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of India's 1965 war with Pakistan and expressed displeasure at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's failure to give a concrete decision on the one rank one pension (OROP).

By: | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2015 9:44 AM

Retired military personnel on Thursday boycotted the government’s celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of India’s 1965 war with Pakistan and expressed displeasure at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s failure to give a concrete decision on the one rank one pension (OROP).

“We are proud that we fought the war and won it, which is why we are celebrating it in our own way. But we are boycotting the government’s way of commemorating the event as they have disappointed us on many counts regarding to the matter of OROP,” Retired Major General Satbir Singh told ANI here.

He also expressed his displeasure over Parrikar’s statement today on the OROP and appealed to the Defence Minister to make decisions on his own any not come under anyone’s influence.

“We have a lot of hope in the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, but we are very sad about what the latter said today and we want him to know that his bureaucracy is lying to him,” Singh said.

The retired Major General also said that he wanted a meeting with the Prime Minister to that he can hear their demands in person.

“We request the Prime Minister to sit and talk with us and hear our side of the story. We have followed and supported him, and now we want him to be on our side,” Singh said.

He also accused the ‘babus’ of tying to dilute and delay the issue and stressed that they wanted the OROP delivered as soon as possible.

The ex-servicemen will continue their agitation and wait for an invitation from the Prime Minister to talk on the matter.

Parrikar had earlier today hinted at the possibility of the government approving the OROP scheme for retired armed forces personnel.

“In principal the Prime Minister had approved it on the fifteenth of the month,” Parrikar said.

He also asked the protesting ex-servicemen to give the government some time to finalise it.

“The Prime Minister Office is personally taking interest in this issue. It will be sorted out soon,” he added.

  1. P
    pkpk
    Aug 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm
    Each day Govt delays the implementation of the OROP scheme, a demand that is 42 years old, it risks playing with fire. It is safe to ume that the serving service Chiefs have conve as much to the Govt. The public manifestation of rapidly spreading and quickly deepening levels of disenchantment came when the daughter of Gen VK Singh, former COAS and a serving Min of State, sat with the Jantar Mantar agitators in an open show of support. Mrinalini Singh’s husband is a serving Army officer. This is a categorical indication that both Gen. Singh and Col. Rajyavardhan S Rat, another Min, would no doubt have pointed out to the Govt the consequences of not being able to deliver on a promise already made several times over. Uncertain future Roughly 60,000 people retire from the armed forces every year. Some retire before they are 35, and as many as 87 per cent of servicemen retire between the ages of 34 and 48. Soldiers, sailors, airmen at the lowest level are the hardest hit because after a near nomadic life in the armed forces, they most likely do not own too many ets, a home nor have an alternative income stream. They have no clear prospect of a second lease of working life either. Soldiers retire early because they need to be fighting fit to be in the forces and hence, the armed forces need young blood. The retirement policy affects an estimated 25 lakh ex-servicemen. Counted along with their dependents, the number swells to roughly three times that or 70 lakh people. Also, a large section of the armed forces has family members who are either still serving or have retired from the forces. In normal conversations, the situation is bound to occupy their mindspace. Those in service know that sooner or later, they will become veterans and inherit the same situation their fathers did before them, an inheritance of loss. The problem has been exacerbated because of the way in which the then BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, appropriated and espoused the cause at the 2014 hustings and his subsequent repeated urance, both on the floor of Parliament and elsewhere, that OROP was a settled matter and the solution had his imprimatur. Consider also Mr. Modi’s unparalleled political heft in the Lok Sabha and the fact that the Supreme Court has, as long ago as December 1982, underlined the need for OROP. If the agitators feel let down, it is because the delivery of the promise has so far been in inverse proportion to the articulation of the promise itself. Deliberately tangled As many as ten retired service Chiefs have deliberately used the word ‘imbroglio’, a word of Italian origin that has elements of confusion, entanglement, bitterness, and complication all rolled into one. It accounts for the growing feeling that in the real OROP narrative, Narendra Modi, whom none other than the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ashok Singhal acknowledged as BJP’s Iron Man, is helpless. His inability to deliver stems from his being a victim of either intra-party politics or from him having been ensnared in a web made by intransigent bureaucrats. The discourse in New Delhi circles suggests that a section of the bureaucracy wants to dovetail the OROP with the Seventh Pay Commission. This would effectively scupper the plan because it would postpone the resolution and rework the rationale and framework of the OROP as well. Lt. Gen. S Ata Hasnain, who retired as Military Secretary of the Army, writes in the July issue of Fauji India that the “bureaucracy is living up to its promise to complicate the issue to such an extent that it [OROP] is once again shelved without decision.” The procrastination has escalated the situation to a standoff between the veterans and the Govt. Mr. Modi’s inability to act quickly and effectively has allowed other political parties space where none need have been conceded. The issue is now open to political hijack. There has been a steady stream of contradictory noises emanating from the government, most notably from the Finance Ministry, asking ex-servicemen to “lower expectations”. The implication is that the Govt is having trouble coming up with the money. It has not gone unnoticed among the veterans that Mr. Modi, the politician, had no difficultly promising Rs. 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar in what amounts, scandalously, to pre-election sops. For OROP, the figure being talked about is roughly Rs. 8,300 crore, a fraction of the Bihar pledge. Soldiers cannot go on strike like bank employees do, but patience now seems in short supply. Since June, the veterans have resorted to black armband protests, bike rallies, candle-light vigils, peions, the return of service medals, and hunger strikes in an attempt to force the government to focus on the implications.
    Reply
    1. P
      pkpk
      Aug 29, 2015 at 5:22 pm
      Each day Govt delays the implementation of the OROP scheme, a demand that is 42 years old, it risks playing with fire. It is safe to ume that the serving service Chiefs have conve as much to the Govt. The public manifestation of rapidly spreading and quickly deepening levels of disenchantment came when the daughter of Gen VK Singh, former COAS and a serving Min of State, sat with the Jantar Mantar agitators in an open show of support. Mrinalini Singh’s husband is a serving Army officer. This is a categorical indication that both Gen. Singh and Col. Rajyavardhan S Rat, another Min, would no doubt have pointed out to the Govt the consequences of not being able to deliver on a promise already made several times over. Uncertain future Roughly 60,000 people retire from the armed forces every year. Some retire before they are 35, and as many as 87 per cent of servicemen retire between the ages of 34 and 48. Soldiers, sailors, airmen at the lowest level are the hardest hit because after a near nomadic life in the armed forces, they most likely do not own too many ets, a home nor have an alternative income stream. They have no clear prospect of a second lease of working life either. Soldiers retire early because they need to be fighting fit to be in the forces and hence, the armed forces need young blood. The retirement policy affects an estimated 25 lakh ex-servicemen. Counted along with their dependents, the number swells to roughly three times that or 70 lakh people. Also, a large section of the armed forces has family members who are either still serving or have retired from the forces. In normal conversations, the situation is bound to occupy their mindspace. Those in service know that sooner or later, they will become veterans and inherit the same situation their fathers did before them, an inheritance of loss. The problem has been exacerbated because of the way in which the then BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, appropriated and espoused the cause at the 2014 hustings and his subsequent repeated urance, both on the floor of Parliament and elsewhere, that OROP was a settled matter and the solution had his imprimatur. Consider also Mr. Modi’s unparalleled political heft in the Lok Sabha and the fact that the Supreme Court has, as long ago as December 1982, underlined the need for OROP. If the agitators feel let down, it is because the delivery of the promise has so far been in inverse proportion to the articulation of the promise itself. Deliberately tangled As many as ten retired service Chiefs have deliberately used the word ‘imbroglio’, a word of Italian origin that has elements of confusion, entanglement, bitterness, and complication all rolled into one. It accounts for the growing feeling that in the real OROP narrative, Narendra Modi, whom none other than the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ashok Singhal acknowledged as BJP’s Iron Man, is helpless. His inability to deliver stems from his being a victim of either intra-party politics or from him having been ensnared in a web made by intransigent bureaucrats. The discourse in New Delhi circles suggests that a section of the bureaucracy wants to dovetail the OROP with the Seventh Pay Commission. This would effectively scupper the plan because it would postpone the resolution and rework the rationale and framework of the OROP as well. Lt. Gen. S Ata Hasnain, who retired as Military Secretary of the Army, writes in the July issue of Fauji India that the “bureaucracy is living up to its promise to complicate the issue to such an extent that it [OROP] is once again shelved without decision.” The procrastination has escalated the situation to a standoff between the veterans and the Govt. Mr. Modi’s inability to act quickly and effectively has allowed other political parties space where none need have been conceded. The issue is now open to political hijack. There has been a steady stream of contradictory noises emanating from the government, most notably from the Finance Ministry, asking ex-servicemen to “lower expectations”. The implication is that the Govt is having trouble coming up with the money. It has not gone unnoticed among the veterans that Mr. Modi, the politician, had no difficultly promising Rs. 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar in what amounts, scandalously, to pre-election sops. For OROP, the figure being talked about is roughly Rs. 8,300 crore, a fraction of the Bihar pledge. Soldiers cannot go on strike like bank employees do, but patience now seems in short supply. Since June, the veterans have resorted to black armband protests, bike rallies, candle-light vigils, peions, the return of service medals, and hunger strikes in an attempt to force the government to focus on the implications. They know more than others that all it requires is a small spark to set off a blaze. If something has been building up for a long time and is looking for release, even something as inconsequential as a slap can have an enormous ripple effect. We need to remember the mutiny witnessed after Operation Blue Star. Given that the veterans are already on hunger-strike and writing peions in blood, all it needs is a momentary provocation to set off that dreaded spark.
      Reply
      1. P
        pkpk
        Aug 29, 2015 at 5:25 pm
        Each day Govt delays the implementation of the OROP scheme, a demand that is 42 years old, it risks playing with fire. It is safe to ume that the serving service Chiefs have conve as much to the Govt. The public manifestation of rapidly spreading and quickly deepening levels of disenchantment came when the daughter of Gen VK Singh, former COAS and a serving Min of State, sat with the Jantar Mantar agitators in an open show of support. Mrinalini Singh’s husband is a serving Army officer. This is a categorical indication that both Gen. Singh and Col. Rajyavardhan S Rat, another Min, would no doubt have pointed out to the Govt the consequences of not being able to deliver on a promise already made several times over. Uncertain future Roughly 60,000 people retire from the armed forces every year. Some retire before they are 35, and as many as 87 per cent of servicemen retire between the ages of 34 and 48. Soldiers, sailors, airmen at the lowest level are the hardest hit because after a near nomadic life in the armed forces, they most likely do not own too many ets, a home nor have an alternative income stream. They have no clear prospect of a second lease of working life either. Soldiers retire early because they need to be fighting fit to be in the forces and hence, the armed forces need young blood. The retirement policy affects an estimated 25 lakh ex-servicemen. Counted along with their dependents, the number swells to roughly three times that or 70 lakh people. Also, a large section of the armed forces has family members who are either still serving or have retired from the forces. In normal conversations, the situation is bound to occupy their mindspace. Those in service know that sooner or later, they will become veterans and inherit the same situation their fathers did before them, an inheritance of loss. The problem has been exacerbated because of the way in which the then BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, appropriated and espoused the cause at the 2014 hustings and his subsequent repeated urance, both on the floor of Parliament and elsewhere, that OROP was a settled matter and the solution had his imprimatur. Consider also Mr. Modi’s unparalleled political heft in the Lok Sabha and the fact that the Supreme Court has, as long ago as December 1982, underlined the need for OROP. If the agitators feel let down, it is because the delivery of the promise has so far been in inverse proportion to the articulation of the promise itself. Deliberately tangled As many as ten retired service Chiefs have deliberately used the word ‘imbroglio’, a word of Italian origin that has elements of confusion, entanglement, bitterness, and complication all rolled into one. It accounts for the growing feeling that in the real OROP narrative, Narendra Modi, whom none other than the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ashok Singhal acknowledged as BJP’s Iron Man, is helpless. His inability to deliver stems from his being a victim of either intra-party politics or from him having been ensnared in a web made by intransigent bureaucrats. The discourse in New Delhi circles suggests that a section of the bureaucracy wants to dovetail the OROP with the Seventh Pay Commission. This would effectively scupper the plan because it would postpone the resolution and rework the rationale and framework of the OROP as well. Lt. Gen. S Ata Hasnain, who retired as Military Secretary of the Army, writes in the July issue of Fauji India that the “bureaucracy is living up to its promise to complicate the issue to such extent
        Reply

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