NEW DELHI: Terming as "historic" the Centre's decision on 'One Rank, One Pension', BJP today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled the commitment he made to ex-servicemen and provided them economic security while Congress had only played a "joke" on them when in power.
Attacking Congress, BJP President Amit Shah said the pension of ex-servicemen was decreased by its government in the 70s and slammed the allocation of only Rs 500 crore for OROP by the previous UPA government.
"In 1973 their pension was reduced from 70 per cent to 50 per cent (of salary) and the demand for OROP has been hanging fire since.... The previous Congress government in its last moments made an allocation of Rs 500 crore for it and this was a joke with servicemen," Shah told reporters, noting that an additional expenditure of Rs 9,000-10,000 crore annually will go towards it.
Recalling that it was Modi's poll promise during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, he said the prime minister had fulfilled it now.
Shah underlined that the decision would come into effect from the time Modi came to power.
"Every year Rs 9,000-10,000 crore more will go to the ex-servicemen. The Modi government has given economic security to them as well the serving personnel who will retire later. BJP hails the prime minister for this," he said.
He, however, declined to take any question. A section of ex-servicemen has objected to the contours of the OROP formulation as announced by Defence Minister Manihar Parrikar.
In tweets, Shah said the "historic" decision is a "big step for the welfare of soldiers; the real life heroes".
"The decision will go a long way in boosting morale of our soldiers and their families," he said.