New Delhi : Protests, fast until death, severe health crisis of veterans, rushing to hospitals, ministerial family member pitching in and adding to ruling government’s restlessness – One Rank One Pension (OROP) has seen it all. Yet, the ultimate show hasn’t been staged yet.
Running over more than two months continuously, some relief did pour in when Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar spoke to the veterans few days ago and asked for a moratorium of 10 days to sort things out. Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave it a heartful thought and happened to assure solution sooner than later in his Mann Ki Baat. This move was backed by PMO which took action and worked out talks between Principal Secretary (PMO) Nripendra Mishra and President of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement Lt Gen Balbir Singh some days ago.
The latest ray of hope began to illuminate when Union minister and former Army Chief General (retd.) V. K. Singh stated yesterday that he believed in PM’s committment and was confident that PM would walk the talk and deliver.
The moot point of OROP lies in the retirement age and benefits attached therein. Other services have a retirement age in the range of 55-60, wheras in Military services, a soldier retires around 35. This negates the concept of equal pension distribution amongst varied retirement structures – obviously, one cannot club the two categories and superannuate in same standards. But uniform pension is demanded within armed forces for personnel retiring with the same rank and same length of service. Government has taken the whole matter into consideration, and as mentioned earlier by DefMin Parrikar, the math is being worked out meticulously.
Ex-servicemen do appreciate the intricate detailing that is required to do the arithmetic, but their patience has run out over the decades. That is what has forced them to charge such non-ceasing do-or-die agitations and they seem to be on the verge of reaping its benefits. It is being speculated that tommorow may bring some conclusive declaration with reference to implementation of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme for ex-servicemen. August 28 happens to be the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with Pakistan, and it is anticipated that PM Modi himself may lift the curtains of uncertainity on this special day.
Maybe its time for ruling government to deliver on its electoral promises, OROP being one of them. If tomorrow comes with OROP, it certainly will bring benefit to two and a half million ex-servicemen and women immediately. The community of military personnel is looking up to the PM. Its action time for the Modi government.