Don’t break morale of veterans: Panag to govt

New Delhi: Actress and AAP leader Gul Panag today alleged that despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “light clarification” on the One Rank One Pension issue, there is still ambiguity left over the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

Panag, daughter of retired Lt Gen HS Panag, appealed to the government to “unconditionally” fulfill OROP promises the way soldiers serve the nation, as she claimed that veterans were actually given “One Rank Five Pension”.

She was addressing the war veterans, who have been protesting for over 100 days at Jantar Mantar.

Panag alleged that the government’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) is a non-entity as there is nothing voluntary about it. She said that despite the Prime Minister giving light clarification over the issue, there is still ambiguity related to VRS.

“Even if you take premature retirement, you do so after completing your pensionable services and that is also because the country wants to keep their Army, Navy and Air Force young.

“But you can be recalled anytime for five years and even when you apply for VRS, whether or not you get it now or after four years is not in your hands,” Panag, who contested Lok Sabha polls on an AAP ticket, said.

On September 6, a day after the government announced implementation of OROP, Modi had said some people were trying to “mislead” the armed forces, particularly on the issue of premature retirement.

“Jawans in the army have to retire after 15-17 years of service. A few people think they will not get OROP….they are misleading you by terming it as VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)….

“But if anybody gets OROP, jawans will be the first….

Those injured, those who had to compulsarily leave they will get OROP. And the Prime Minister who loves the army cannot even think of depriving such people of OROP benefits,” Modi said at a rally in Faridabad.

Panag asked the government to fulfill the promises “completely”.

“When a soldier pledges his life to protect his country, he does it fully without any conditions and this is what we expect from the Prime Minister also, that the promise he made to us, he should fulfill it completely, not without any conditions.

“What the government has given in the name of One Rank One Pension is actually One Rank Five Pensions,” Panag said.