OROP: Ex-servicemen sit on hunger strike at Jantar Mantar; to meet President

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New Delhi, June 15: Protesting over delay in implementation of the 'One Rank, One Pension' (OROP) policy, hundreds of ex-servicemen went on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar on Monday.

Hundreds of retired army officials are gathered at the Jantar Mantar demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi forthwith fulfil his promise made a year back on it. The former soldiers may also seek the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee in this regard.

OROP: Ex-servicemen sit on hunger strike

The protests comes after talks -- both formal and back-channel -- with the government failed as the ex-servicemen were not given a specific timeline for the implementation of the long-pending OROP.

In Jaipur, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday sought to assuage their concerns, saying the promises made will be kept and that they should be "patient".

[OROP: Ex-servicemen sign petition in blood; protest in Delhi over delay in implementation of scheme]

"I assure you whatever we have promised that all would be done...but some people need to be patient," Parrikar said addressing a conference in Jaipur on challenges and solutions regarding border safety.

Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme which envisages uniform pension for the defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. "

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations at the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.

The ex-Defence personnel said this policy was "lopsided" and needed to be rectified.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured us that it will be implemented, but it has been one year," said Col. (retd) Anil Kaul, the media advisor to Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) at a rally in Jantar Mantar in the national capital. Protests were also held in Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and other states covering over 50 cities, he said.

Maj. Gen. (retd) Satbir Singh, vice-chairman of IESM, told the media that the protests will continue till OROP is implemented. The ex-servicemen maintained that they were not against any government but are pressing to get their long-pending dues.

OneIndia News

(With inputs from agencies)

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