Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said the government is studying the report of the Justice L Narasimha Reddy Committee on the issue of anomalies in implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and action on its recommendations would be taken soon.
Parrikar said, “The OROP is a 43-year-old demand, which was accepted by the government headed by Narendra Modi. Every year Rs 7,500 crore will be incurred and Rs 11,000 crore will be paid in four installments out of which about Rs 5,500 crore has been pain. We also formed the Justice Reddy Committee to go into the issue of anomalies in implementation of OROP. The report is with us and will be implemented soon.” He said the problems being faced by ex-servicemen in getting the revised pension under OROP would be completely resolved within two months.
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Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress for using the suicide of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal for “political gain”. “The government fully sympathises with the defence personnel and his family who committed suicide… It doesn’t behove senior national leaders to exploit a tragedy of this kind, particularly in the intensive care units of the hospital. More responsible behaviour is expected of them.” Alluding to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he said, “It is equally important that nobody tries to convert a personal tragedy of an individual into political gain for a party whose fortunes are otherwise sinking.”
About Grewal apparently not getting all his dues, Jaitley said, “It obviously seems to be an administrative lapse… it’s not a lapse where OROP was not granted… there seems to be some gap in communication with the bank, therefore he (Grewal) was given pension for one part of his service and not for the other part, which he was legitimately entitled to.” The minister termed the OROP row a “meaningless conflict”, adding that the UPA government did not take any “meaningful step” to address the demand during its 10-year regime.
“Only during elections on April 24, 2014, they said they would set up a committee to work out the functional modalities of OROP. If on April 2014 you are setting up a committee, that shows it is only for election benefit,” he said here. About Union minister V K Singh’s remarks that Grewal was a Congress sympathiser, he said, “Everybody has to be sensitive… we must appreciate the sensitivity of the person who under stress has committed suicide.”
Accusing the Opposition of conspiring to defame it ahead of Assembly elections by “resorting to lies” over the OROP issue, the BJP claimed that similar attempts were made before earlier elections as well. “Rahul Gandhi is in so much frustration over the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he is doing politics over dead bodies, be it of a student or an ex-serviceman. Opposition leaders are defaming the government as part of a conspiracy by resorting to lies. This happens every time elections are around,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said here. He also criticised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his statements on the issue, alleging that he had done nothing about several AAP MLAs facing serious criminal charges.
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