STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Supporting the cause of retired military personnel who are agitating for One Rank One Pension (OROP), Chairman JKNPP and former Minister, Harsh Dev Singh strongly flayed the Union Government for its inexplicable delay in honoring the most genuine demand of ex-servicemen who gave the valuable years of their life for defence of the nation.
Condemning the PM’s statement made by him in Mann ki Baat appearing in a section of media wherein he has stated that the OROP is a vexed issue and that politics is being played on it and that it would take time to simplify the issue, Harsh observed that the Union Government was merely resorting to delay and deny tactics.
Justifying the demand of the ex-servicemen, Harsh said that the saffron leaders need to refresh their memories and recollect their solemn pledges made during elections in 2014 for ensuring pension parity to defence personnel who retire at the same rank and with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement.
Regretting the huge disparities existing between pensions on the basis of date of retirement, he said it was not only illogical and callous but also violative of constitutional guaranties.
Clarifying, Singh explained that a major who retired before 1996 gets 53 per cent less pension than a major who retired after 2006. Likewise a brigadier who retired prior to 1996 gets much less pension than a captain who left the force in recent years.
Observing that by delaying the OROP issue inordinately the Union Government was not only discrediting itself but doing the greatest disservice to the soldiers who risked their lives to defend our borders, fought militancy and terrorism within the country, assisted in natural calamities, tsunami, earthquakes, floods, epidemics, countered Assembly and Parliament attacks and even rescued people from bore wells when local administration had totally failed to deal with the internal crisis. He said that it was in view of herculean task performed by the defence personnel that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence recommended the implementation of One Rank One Pension which had been persistently denied to the retired personnel. He said that it has been rightly pointed that OROP is a debt due to the retired soldiers and any dilly dally on the issue is the greatest dishonour to the nation and to the flag which these people have fought to defend.
Harsh said that estimated budget for OROP amounting to Rs. 9,300 crore as projected by Controller of Defence Accounts is far insignificant as compared to Modi’s flaunts of building a statute of Sardar Patel at a phenomenal cost of Rs. 1,500 crore.
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