Expressing his disappointment at the notification by the government on the One Rank, One Pension (OROP), Congress leader and former Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday said the announcement was a far cry from being a ‘Diwali gift’ and was more of a ‘shock’ for the Indian Armed Forces.
“Totally disappointed as it shows the government is going back from their commitment to the soldiers. They committed in Parliament and outside it as well as during the election time that they will implement OROP but have failed to do so,” Antony told ANI.
Highlighting another ‘disappointment’ he added that the new order saying the soldiers who took voluntary retirement will not receive OROP, was against the basic concept of the Indian Armed Forces.
“Our concept has always been to keep our armed forces very young so they can fight wars more effectively. Now after this order, they will naturally try to prolong their service which means the Indian Armed Forces will have older personnel, which is not good,” he added.
The Congress leader emphasised that during the UPA regime in 2014 their government had issued a categorical order that the ex-servicemen holding the same rank for the same length of service will receive pension, no matter when they retire, which was the main ‘principle’ of the OROP.
“This is not a Diwali gift but a Diwali shock to the armed forces as the government has gone back on its solemn commitment,” Antony said.
Slamming Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for failing to deliver his promises on the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme, the protesting army veterans today warned the former to stop misleading the nation and dared him to meet with their delegation for an open discussion.
“Government has not given us the OROP which was assured and the notification issued has seven shortcomings. We are angry and are going to express our fury by retuning our medals from every district and let me inform you that medals have been pouring in in large numbers from across the nation,” Major General (Retd.) Satbir Singh, who is leading the protest, told ANI.
Parrikar had said today that while it was the democratic right of ex-servicemen to protest against the government’s version of the OROP but added that they were being ‘misguided’.
The government had earlier notified the implementation of the OROP scheme that will guarantee equal pension to military personnel retiring at the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of the date of retirement.
The notification, however, failed to impress veterans and they are continuing with their agitation and have begun returning their medals.