Clearing the air a day after his government announced implementation of the one rank-one pension scheme for armed forces personnel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday he will ensure that OROP benefits also apply to those who retire prematurely.
Welcoming the statement, protesting ex-servicemen said they will end their hunger strike but continue their agitation till all their demands are accepted by the government.
Speaking at a rally in Faridabad after inaugurating the Delhi-Faridabad metro corridor, Modi urged the armed forces not to be “misled” because a commission proposed on the “complex” issue was not going to be a pay commission. “This commission will be there to iron out shortcomings, if any, to see if small changes are needed.”
“Jawans have to retire after 15-17 years of service. A few people think they will not get OROP… they are misleading you by calling it VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)… If anybody gets OROP, jawans will be the first… Those injured, those who had to compulsorily leave, they will get OROP. Can a Prime Minister who loves the armed forces even think of depriving such people of OROP benefits,” he said.
Watch video – Explained: One Rank One Pension
Taking a swipe at the Congress , Modi said “those who did nothing for 40-42 years, do they have any right to ask questions, do they have any right to mislead the country… your sin was that you did nothing for 40-42 years yet you want to hold us accountable”.
“This game of one-upmanship is not going to do the country any good… It has become a fashion these days to lampoon the government each time it tries to do good work for the development of the country”.
He said the decision to implement OROP was “difficult… not an easy task” and he could not predict what the implications would be in the near future.
“But we had promised we would implement OROP, and we have kept our word. When we sat down to calculate, we saw that the previous government had pegged Rs 500 crore as the budget for the OROP… But when we sat to calculate, everyday new factors came to the fore. Our government, our officers were perplexed… Then I sat down to look at every detail, sort it out and did the math… the figures were nowhere near Rs 500 crore. It came to Rs 8,000-10,000 crore,” Modi esaid.