Saturday, February 6, 2016
THE WAR IS FAR FROM OVER - VETERANS TO TAKE OROP FIGHT TO SUPREME COURT, RAM JETHMALANI ROPED IN
The Indian ex-servicemen movement has decided to take the Narendra Modi government to court for what they claim is a nonimplementation of the ‘one rank one pension’ (OROP) as agreed by the Ministry of Defence. The veterans want the government to implement OROP as approved by the Koshiyari Committee of Parliament. The veterans have roped in experienced lawyer Ram Jethmalani to fight their case in the Supreme Court.
A group of veterans led by Major General Satbir Singh, Retd, have been agitating for OROP implementation for the past 238 days at Jantar Mantar. The governing body of the agitating veterans’ has decided to challenge the government in court and not submit its case to the one-man commission set up by the Modi government to look into the anomalies in OROP implementation.
“We are in the final stages of our paperwork to be submitted in court. The government did not fulfill the promise made to veterans on OROP and we will challenge the government in a court of law for OROP,” Major General (retd) Satbir Singh told Mail Today. The veterans have also decided to continue their agitation at Jantar Mantar till OROP is implemented. The government had on February 3 announced the notification of the tables regarding the implementation of OROP.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a statement said that the annual recurring cost of OROP would be `7,500 crore and arrears from July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015 would be an additional Rs 10,500 crore.
The government had claimed 86 per cent of this money would go to personnel below officer rank (PBOR). “This is one rank five pensions. The govt is silent on the equalisation of pensions. So within two years juniors will draw a higher pension than seniors, again defeating the purpose of OROP. The government has also cleared one increment less,” Singh claimed.
The agitating veterans are also miffed with the fact that instead of taking the highest pension at a particular rank and years in service as bench mark for OROP, the government has gone in for the average of pensions, which will affect the veterans adversely.
The govt on the other hand insists OROP was finally granted for veterans by the Modi Govt after four decades of agitation by the veterans. “Veterans have been agitating for OROP for the past 42 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled his promise to the veterans. Most are happy, only a section is agitating. They may approach the commission to discuss anomalies that remain,” a senior MoD official said.
The defence budget for pension is estimated to go up from Rs 54,000 crore to around Rs 65,000 crore, that is by almost 20 per cent, on account of OROP. Govt sources are of the opinion that some of the agitating veterans are politically inclined and will keep up their protests ahead of the crucial Punjab elections to create trouble for the government. “If there are anomalies then the one-man commission, that has been set up, will address them and come up with necessary solutions within six months. Instead of agitating on streets the veterans should submit their issues to the commission,” sources at MoD said.
The war for these veterans is far from over.
(Source- Sanjha Morcha)