New Delhi: Stepping up agitation on ‘One Rank One Pension’, a fast-unto-death was launched by two of the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Monday demanding early implementation of the long-pending scheme.
Meanwhile 10 former service Chiefs have written to PM Modi on the issue.
“Col Pushpender Singh (Retd) and Haviladar Major Singh (Retd) have undertaken fast unto death from today,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media advisor to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement, said as the agitation at Jantar Mantar here entered the 64th day on Monday. The protesters have been on a relay hunger strike so far.
Havildar Major had been on relay hunger strike since the agitation started.
In his independence speech on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not given a specific timeline for the implementation of OROP and only said that talks were in the final stages, drawing sharp reactions from ex-servicemen who vowed to step up their protest. Ex-servicemen have been holding a protest at Jantar Mantar and in other parts of the country for over two months demanding early implementation of OROP.
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence day failed to give a timeline for the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme, leading to anguish among ex-servicemen. Addressing the nation on the occasion of Independence Day, Modi said, “The issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ has come up in front of every government.
Some even made small promises but the issue could not be solved. I assure the servicemen and I am saying this under the tricolour at the Red Fort, we have accepted OROP.”
Parrikar also reiterated, “We’ll implement OROP. There are technical disparities but we are bound by our assurance and we will comply by it,” Parrikar said speaking at a press conference.