A war is over. But many battles lie ahead. At 3 pm, in front of the famous War Room 1129D, at South Block, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled his commitment and approved the One Rank One Pension (OROP) demand by ex-servicemen, pending for over four decades. “I appeal to veterans now to continue the task of nation building,” he said.
OROP, for over 25 lakh ex-servicemen and around 6.5 war widows, will cost the national treasury nearly Rs 10,000 crore annually. But the NDA government fulfilled the promise Modi made at Rewari, unlike the Congress-led UPA government, which announced OROP barely two months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But the ex-servicemen, weary of broken promises, did not buy it. However, on Saturday, the agitators, who were shown the OROP draft by Parrikar earlier in the day, replied they are not fully satisfied.
“We only accept one point made by the government—the implementation of OROP—and categorically reject everything else,” said Major General (retd) Satbir Singh, who heads the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement. Further, diplomacy prevailed. Later in the evening, the veterans met Parrikar and said they were satisfied but would decide on the future course of action only after discussing with their core committee on Sunday. Parrikar has announced equal pension to three million military personnel retiring with the same rank and the same length of service.