Congress Saturday described key components of government’s announcement of ‘One Rank One Pension’ as a “betrayal” to the cause of ex-servicemen.
Former Defence Minister A K Antony charged the government with doing politics over OROP, “substantially diluting” its provisions and “ridiculing” ex-servicemen.
Attacking the government’s decision to keep out of OROP those ex-servicemen who had opted for VRS, he said it was sad because 90 per cent of service personnel retire between 35 to 40 years of age, losing lakhs of rupees.
Watch video – Explained: One Rank One Pension
“There is no comparison of those in Defence forces with those in other services”, Antony told reporters here.
Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal said that Congress was against the provision of revision of pension every five years announced by the government. He also faulted it for not adhering to the equalisation principle.
Antony took exception to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s remarks that OROP was being implemented for the first time in four decades by his government.
“The Defence Minister is doing politics,” he said insisting that UPA government had announced acceptance of OROP last year and had even provided a token amount of Rs 500 crores and constituted an expert committee.
Replying to a question as to what was the estimate of the financial impact of the erstwhile UPA on its acceptance of the OROP demand, Antony merely said that an expert committee was constituted.
Asked whether government’s decision has opened up a Pandora’s box as OROP announcement would lead to demands from other central security forces, Sibal said that the party would react only after the Prime Minister makes his stand clear in the matter.
He steered clear of a question whether Congress would participate in a rally being called by the agitating ex-servicemen in the national capital soon.
Both Antony and Sibal targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalling that he had promised OROP within 100 days of coming to power.
Antony said that between 2004 to 2012, Congress government had increased ex-servicemen’s pension on three occasions leading to a net financial outflow of Rs.7,000 crore.
“This immensely benefitted ex-servicemen and bridged the pension gap”, he added.
Former Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh alleged government has played “fraud” on ex-servicemen by “substantially diluting” the provisions of OROP. It is a “mockery” of those who have given their youth to safegaurd the nation, he said.
In a statement, he wanted the government to “rectify the mistakes.”