BENGALURU: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has suggested that Karnataka and the Centre work together to develop the National Military Memorial in the city. Speaking after inspecting the memorial on Sunday, he said the two sides should sign a memorandum of understanding on this.
When member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Home Minister K J George suggested the proposal to the defence minister, Parrikar welcomed the idea. “The idea of the MoU is to ensure that the memorial is national in a true sense,” Chandrasekhar said.
Referring to the landmark ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) announcement on Saturday, Parrikar said though most former personnel have welcomed it, there are small issues that need to be sorted out.
He said the issue of OROP began in 1973 during the Third Pay Commission. Initially, it was said the total amount due would be `1,300 crore. This increased to `1,573 crore in 2013-14, and now it works out to around `8,000 crore. “Now that the OROP has been accepted in principle, and approvals have been given for the release of the said sum, I don’t think they (veterans) must agitate anymore. Whatever small issues are there can be resolved after talks,” said Parrikar.
When queried on the aspect of the OROP not being extended to those who retired prematurely from the services, Parrikar said the issue has been resolved. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that those who retired prematurely are also eligible for OROP. So that part is settled. When it comes to the review period for the OROP being fixed at five years, the government has agreed on this. In future, we will see what can be done after talks,” he added.
When asked about the issue of sharing Mahadayi water, Parrikar said, “I can’t comment on this as the matter is before the tribunal. They have to take the final call.”
‘No need for More Agitation’
Rajeev Chandrasekhar said since OROP has been approved in principle, there is no need for former defence personnel to agitate further. “Veterans are respected, and since the OROP has been announced now, it will not look nice if they resort to agitations. The announcement of OROP is an epic decision in itself,” he said.
Parrikar said as of now, there is no plan to shift the Aero India to Goa, and added that people have been speculating about the issue much before he took over as the defence minister.