NEW DELHI: Hundreds of ex-servicemen held a rally here on Saturday, seeking some changes in the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme approved by the Centre. A huge number of veterans, their family members and other people staged a march towards Jantar Mantar. The rally, which began at 10 am at Jantar Mantar here, was attended by ex-servicemen from different parts of the country.
Various ex-servicemen groups had come under the common banner of United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement (UFESM) to hold protests across the country for nearly three months demanding the implementation of OROP.
Agitating leaders, including Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, have rejected the government’s version of OROP and have now put forward seven points of dissent.
“The government has created avoidable confusion by including VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) in their announcement as it does not exist in the defence forces. However, those who have taken premature retirement must come under OROP,” Satbir said.
The veterans have also objected to the government’s taking the calendar year 2013 instead of financial year 2013-14 for fixing the base.
“The Defence Minister had earlier assured that the pensions would be taken from the top of the pay scales, but now the government seems to have gone to an unknown concept,” he said. The ex-servicemen are also opposed to the formation of a one-man judicial commission and demanded that it should consist of three ex-servicemen, one serving officer and a bureaucrat. Also, the deadline for the commission to come out with a report on the implementation of the OROP should be one month instead of the six proposed by the government.
The protesting veterans have also demanded that the OROP should be independent of the Central Pay Commission and the concept should be in perpetuity.
Rejecting the government’s proposal of pension revision every five years, Satbir said, “We had agreed to even two years, but now we seek our original demand of revision every year.”
However, cracks appeared in the front this week as its various factions levelled allegations against each other.