One Rank One Pension – Central Government Ignores Week-long Protests
“The protests that began in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar last Monday, demanding immediate implementation of the OROP continues even as the government chooses to turn a blind eye towards it”
Ex-servicemen have been protesting now for a week at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, demanding the immediate implementation of the OROP scheme. Similar protests are also on at 20 important cities in the country to put pressure on the government to act.
The series of protests is jointly organized by 30 ex-servicemen welfare organizations, under the leadership of Chairman of IESM, Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh. Speaking to the media, Satbir Singh said, “Until now the Government has not tried to negotiate with us. If there are no results for the protests, we will shift our protests to Bihar.”
The protesters believe that the government will be more receptive to their demands if the protests affect the party’s chances of winning the state elections in Bihar.
BJP’s parliamentary election manifesto last year promised immediate implementation of the OROP if they come to power. After coming to power, assurances were given by the ministers including the prime minister himself.
Ex-servicemen expected a formal announcement to be made at the first year rally. But, not a word was uttered about this. The ex-servicemen did not lose hope.
On June 1, in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio show, the prime minister assured that he will implement the OROP scheme.
Media reports indicated that limited funds were allocated in the previous financial year and that steps are on to implement the scheme. Reports further added that the revised pension scheme is very similar to those of the MPs. But, one has to also accept the fact that the scheme is much closer to implementation than it ever was during the Congress regime.
Many wonder why the army-men have resorted to protests. A number of reasons are being given for the protests.
Excess of trust in Modi government is one of the reasons. Congress-led UPA government, which failed to implement the OROP scheme, suffered humiliating defeat in the elections. The second reason is that more than 30 lakh ex-servicemen and their families spread throughout the country believed in the promises made by the BJP in its election campaign.
The third reason – contradictory stands among the Ministries of Finance and Defence – is considered to be the most important. There are claims that the Ministry of Finance had asked the Defence Ministry to refer to the 7th Central Pay Commission. This is rumoured to be the stand of the bureaucrats.
There have been warnings that implementing the OROP scheme is an expensive task and changes will have to be made to the current pension structure for the Central Government employees and Pensioners. The message was subtly conveyed to the representatives of ex-servicemen by the defence ministry. This had greatly angered the delegates. Protests were launched amidst worries that OROP will be shelved again.
Even now, the ex-servicemen trust the Prime Minister Modi because he doesn’t believe the bureaucrats easily.