Friday, November 6, 2015

Ex-servicemen across country and abroad to return medals

Rejecting the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme as announced by the government, ex-servicemen on Friday announced further escalation of agitation demanding early implementation as per the approved and accepted definition. As the first step, medals would be returned by veterans across the country and abroad early next week.

This come as the government is expected to issue the notification for implementing the long pending scheme early next week as the election code of conduct for Bihar polls comes to an end.

“Time is over for the government to shift goalposts. The agitation is going to the second phase. As the first step medals will be returned across the country and abroad” said Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), Chairman Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM). “We will inform further steps as we go forward,” he added.

“The government has not spoken to us after the announcement. If we are a burden on the government, the medals are a burden on us,” Grp Capt VK Gandhi (retd) said.

Medals will be returned to District Commissioners in all the 647 districts of the country and veterans abroad will return medals at Indian missions on November 9-10. Several veterans at Jantar Mantar are also gearing up to restart ‘fast unto death’ beginning next week.

Veterans have listed seven deviations in the announcement which include annual equalisation, 2013-2014 financial year as the base year for calculating pension, taking the highest pension scale of 2013 as the base for calculation and not the average as announced by the government, not to link OROP with the seventh pay commission and accept that OROP once implemented is forever and in perpetuity.

In general, the definition given by the Parliamentary Committee, headed by Bhagat Singh Koshiyary, in 2011 had been accepted by the government and Parliament. OROP seeks parity in pension for those retiring in the same rank and duration of service, irrespective of the time of retirement.

OROP is expected to benefit 2.6 million veterans and over six lakh war widows for parity in pension based on rank and length of service irrespective of the date of retirement.

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