New Delhi, Aug 14: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's customary broadcast to the armed forces personnel on All India Radio on the eve of the 69th Independence Day, had only one passing mention of the burning issue of One Rank, One Pension (OROP).
He also did not commit on any deadline by which the OROP will be implemented. He said ever since he took over the reins of the Ministry of Defence in November last year, he was working towards the well-being of serving and ex-servicemen.
"Various welfare measures pertaining to pension including broadbanding, ex-gratia compensation and OROP are receiving highest priority of the government," Parrikar said.
This was the only mention about OROP in his address.
"My thoughts are with the near and dear ones of all those who laid down their lives for the protection of our nation. You are performing the task of protecting the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity as also defending the motherland from the destructive designs of anti-national forces," Parrikar said.
Praise for the Special Forces
He praised the efforts of the Special Forces team that undertook surgical strikes against the insurgents along the Indo-Myanmar border.
"I compliment the Special Forces for undertaking this surgical strike smoothly and without any casualty on our side. You have also successfully and effectively repulsed all ceasefire violations in Jammu & Kashmir from across the border and attempts of terrorists to infiltrate into the country," the minister said.
He expressed his concern over the huge number of cases on Service matters pending in different courts of the country including different benches of Armed Forces Tribunals.
"I personally feel that redressal of your grievances should be expeditiously looked into, so that you give full concentration to your duties. We have recently formed a high-level panel to suggest necessary steps to lessen the number of such cases in courts. Once its recommendations are received, we will take corrective measures," he said.
He said taking into account the hardships and agony of long separations of jawans from their families when posted in forward and high altitude areas, the government is working on the Married Accommodation Project.
"Over 2.7 lakh dwelling units for the married personnel near their places of posting will be constructed," the minister added.
Other highlights of the address
* Under Digital India Project, a special software system ARPAN or Army Record Officers Process Automation launched recently.
* ARPAN to enable more than 12 lakh junior commissioned officers and jawans of Indian Army to access their service records and employment details online.
* NDA government has so far sanctioned acquisition proposals worth over Rs 1,60,000 crore.
* Over 800 155mm mounted artillery guns for the Indian Army being acquired.
* Indigenously designed, developed and produced Akash Air Defence missile system formally handed over to the Indian Air Force.
* The contract negotiations are also underway for procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft from France.
* Undocking INS Vikrant and the first of Scorpene submarines important landmarks of our endeavour to build a Blue Water Navy.