NEW DELHI: Putting pressure on the BJP-led NDA Government ahead of the 68th Independence Day tomorrow, four former Servive chiefs have urged President Pranab Mukherjee to “urgently intervene” to ensure “One Rank, One Pension (OROP)”, warning that denying it will “severely damage the officer-jawan relationship”.
Alleging lack of political will, the letter urged the President to intervene as the Supreme Commander of the forces.
General Sunith Francis Rodrigues (Retd), Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas (Retd), Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd) and Admiral Suresh Mehta (Retd) wrote a strongly worded open letter, drawing the President’s attention as the Supreme Commander of the the country’s armed forces. “...(The)Denial of OROP is merely the last straw that has exhausted the Veterans’ patience. It appears to be the culmination of a process by which successive Pay Commissions have been used to whittle down the financial and protocol status of the military over the years vis-à-vis their civilian counterparts,” the missive said . Further, it said the delay in implementing the scheme and the political reluctance has “not only triggered a process of politicisation of Indian military, but also served to inflict grave damage on its morale and self-esteem”.
According to the former Service chiefs, “Soldiers, like flags and anthems, are emblematic of a nation’s pride and honour. The very fact that the nation’s military Veterans have had to take resort to agitation and that the government could tolerate their denigration or humiliation has come as a rude shock to all of us.”
Interestingly, the letter comes amid intense speculation that Prime minister Narendra Modi might make an announcement on the armed forces’ long pending demand of One Rank One Pension during his Independence Day Address.