To press for the one-rank, one-pension (OROP) policy, ex-servicemen from across the country will launch an agitation on Sunday, followed by a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar on Monday.
Retired officers, junior commissioned officers and officers of other ranks from all three services, along with 40-odd organisations, will also submit a memorandum “written in blood” to the government.
However, the organisations remained firm on their decision to go ahead with the agitation, citing the government’s failure to announce a date for the implementation of OROP.
“We will begin our protest at 10 am at Jantar Mantar and will continue till 3.30 pm. A blood-written memorandum will be submitted to the government. On Monday, we will begin an indefinite hunger strike. So far, there has been no last-minute effort from the government to stop us from protesting,” Gandhi said.
Ex-servicemen in batches of 15 will sit on the relay hunger strike beginning Monday, and will continue it till the government announces a date of implementation. Similar agitations and hunger strikes will be held simultaneously in 50 cities.
OROP, as defined by the Bhagat Singh Koshiyari committee report, essentially means equal pension for the servicemen who retired with the same rank and after serving for the same number of years.
While the ministries of Defence and Finance have arrived at a consensus on the budgetary allocation of about Rs 8,300 crore, the government is yet to announce when the scheme, which is likely to benefit close to 28 lakh ex-servicemen, will be implemented.
Last month, two war veterans refused to be felicitated by Parrikar, citing the government’s non-commitment to OROP.
OROP was also part of the BJP’s election manifesto. While the new government has reiterated its commitment to the policy, PM Narendra Modi has not made any formal announcement on when it would be implemented. This has given the Congress a chance to target the Centre on the issue.
Recently, the ex-servicemen community requested Congress leader and ex-serviceman Captain Amarinder Singh not to participate in the agitation, saying it would politicise the issue.