What do you have to say to BJP’s charges that the Congress is playing politics over the suicide of an ex-serviceman?
It is part of our social custom for leaders to visit the bereaved. So, why did the police detain Rahul Gandhi for trying to console family members of the ex-serviceman? Rahul has been taking up the cause of security forces and ex-servicemen and he has visited families of several martyrs. During the UPA government’s tenure, he met with the then PM and ministers to take up OROP issue. Arvind Kejriwal, who is the CM of Delhi, too was detained! It only shows the undemocratic attitude of the Modi government.
This is absolutely wrong! UPA’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram announced in his February 17, 2014, (interim) budget the then government’s decision to accept OROP. It came despite three pension hikes to ex-servicemen during our 10-year tenure. After FM’s announcement, I chaired a meeting on February 26, 2014, which took the decision to implement OROP for all ranks of defence forces from April 1, 2014, with a provision to provide required funds. Our order was inclusive.
It said uniform pension be paid to the retired forces in the same rank and service duration, irrespective of retirement year. It also stated any future enhancement in pension to be automatically passed to past pensioners, bridging the rate gap between current and past pensioners. We also included family pensioners and disability pension in OROP.
If the government has started dispersing OROP, it should take responsibility for its proper implementation. The real issue is the way the government diluted, in 2015, UPA’s order on OROP. Let me quote what media and ex-servicemen have said: “When UPA government ordered a constant review of OROP, the NDA government diluted it into a five-year review, making it one-rank-five-pensions and pensioner suffering a five-year loss.
While UPA included premature retirees in OROP, this government has excluded them. While UPA granted top-scale pension, this government reduced it to average scale. While UPA ordered OROP implementation from April 1, 2014, this government extended implementation to July 1, 2014.” All these despite Modi regime’s public promise to ex-servicemen. The government must implement the report submitted by the committee it set up to address OROP dilutions. This government and the BJP has gone allout to praise sacrifices of our soldiers but in reality, they diluted even what was due to them. Same is the case in addressing their other grievances too.