Ex-servicemen continue relay fast in Delhi
Even as Delhi was lashed by heavy rain on Friday, around 60 ex-servicemen sat on a relay fast at Jantar Mantar in the national capital, while scores of others supported them to demand the implementation of the OROP scheme for retired defence personnel.
A day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s fresh assurance on One Rank One Pension (OROP) and the Supreme Court fixing a six-week deadline for implementing similar pension for major general-ranked officers, the protesting veterans said not much had changed.
“The Supreme Court order is only regarding the major generals who went to court over difference in pensions after the 6th Pay Commission…but the major generals have rejected it unless the OROP is implemented for all,” Col. Anil Kaul (retd), spokesman of the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Morcha (UFESM) told IANS.
Asked if there was any communication from the central government on the OROP issue, he said there was no information since Parrikar’s assurance of “good news” on Thursday.
“We have not been contacted by anyone. The protest will continue,” he said.
The protest by ex-servicemen over OROP continued for the 27th day on Friday. Since June 15, the veterans have been holding a relay hunger strike.
The ex-servicemen are demanding that the government give a date for implementation of the OROP. They also demanded that the nature of the scheme should not be changed.
Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the pay commission recommendations in force when the personnel retired.
This leads to a difference in pensions of officers of same rank who retire on different dates.
With OROP, retired personnel would draw the same pension as officers and jawans of the same rank retiring now.
They would also be entitled to a year’s back pensions at the new rate, which would be a windfall for pensioners.
OROP will benefit 25 lakh ex-servicemen. It is expected to cost the government around Rs.8,500 crore.