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Thursday, September 18, 2014
Enforce ‘One Rank One Pension', Say Ex-Servicemen
KOCHI: Their demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’ started in 1983. Even after 30 years, the plea of ex-servicemen, the first to raise such a demand, is falling on deaf ears, when the judges, MPs, MLAs, bureaucrats and many others receive pensions based on their rank.
The former UPA Government has thrice earmarked fund in its budget for ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme. But the ex-servicemen, who once served the country, are yet to get their due. Left with no other alternative, ex-servicemen across the country have decided to go for hunger strike on Wednesday.
“After the sixth Pay Commission in 2006, the Army personnel who retired a day before it and after it with the same rank get a pension with wide gap. Those who retire early gets a considerably lower pension than those who retire recently. It has been 30 years, since we had requested them to bridge the gap,” said Pratapan, secretary, National Ex-servicemen Co-ordination Committee, Ernakulam.
Many committees constituted to study the subject were also in their favour of the ex-servicemen. In 2009, the UPA government allocated Rs 2,144 crores in the budget for the scheme. In 2012, they allocated Rs 2,300 and finally in 2014, the Central Government set aside Rs 500 crore. The then Defence Minister A K Antony said the ‘One rank one pension’ scheme would be implemented from April 1, 2014.
The K M Chandrashekar committee also submitted a report in favour of ex-service men. “But the officials conveniently brushed aside the directive by the then Defence Minister aside. The officials of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Department at Delhi is throttling every efforts taken in this regard,” he said. The Modi Government has now allotted Rs 1,500 crore for it. But various other committees state that it needs around Rs 3500 to implement the scheme.