OROP Issue: After PM Modi's Assurance, Veterans Call Off Hunger Strike; Stir To Continue

| September 6 , 2015 , 15:15 IST
OROP_PTIHours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified the government's view on the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP), agitating ex-servicemen on Sunday called off their hunger strike, but vowed to continue their agitation till government doesn't accept all their demands. ALSO READ: PM Modi Slams Those Trying To ‘Mislead’ Armed Forces On OROP Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retd.), who has been heading the veterans' campaign, said even though the government accepted the implementation of OROP on Saturday, they will continue their agitation as the government had to do more in this regard. "Prime Minister has clarified that over VRS and assured that everyone will be covered under OROP, so i request my fellow veterans to call off their hunger strike," Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (retd.) said. ALSO READ: Urge Ex-Servicemen To Withdraw OROP Stir: Venkaiah Naidu However he told media at Jantar Mantar that the agitation will continue till more money will not be released to fulfill the required demands. "Only Rs.30 crore would be needed," he said. He said a rally will be organised across the country on September 12. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday slammed people trying to "mislead" the armed forces over the government's OROP decision and made a veiled attack on Congress saying the party has no right to raise questions since it did nothing in 40 years. A day after the government announced implementation of one rank-one pension (OROP) which will have a recurring expense of around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 crore, Modi said it was a "difficult" decision which could have ramifications which are yet to be ascertained. He said some people are trying to "mislead" the armed forces, particularly on the issue of premature retirement and the setting up of a commission as proposed in the decision. "Jawans in the army have to retire after 15-17 years of service. A few people think they will not get OROP....they are misleading you by terming it as VRS (voluntary retirement scheme).... "But if anybody gets OROP jawans will be the first.... Those injured, those who had to compulsorily leave they will get OROP. And the Prime Minister who loves the army cannot even think of depriving such people of OROP benefits," he said at a rally here. ALSO READ: OROP Row: Decoding The War Veterans And Ex-Servicemen’s Demands Noting that around 85 per cent of the army constituted of jawans, he said that those who have to compulsorily retire after 15-17 years will benefit the most from this decision. "There is no need to be misled." Referring to the commission proposed to be set up, he again said that the armed forces should not be misled on the issue also as this is not any pay commission. "This commission is there to address any shortcomings, if any, to see if any small changes are needed," he said, adding the commission is proposed to be set-up as the issue is complex. "Even those who proposed Rs 500 crore for OROP could not understand the issue," he said in an apprent reference to the previous government. ALSO READ: Protesting Veterans Not Fully Satisfied With OROP Announcement In an apparent attack on Congress, he said, "Those who did nothing for 40-42 years, do they have any right to ask questions? They only misled you and committed sins. They want to score political points....Oneupmanship will not help the nation," he said. "There's a new fashion that when the government takes a good decision it is questioned by those who do not want development," he said. ALSO READ: Congress Terms OROP Announcement As ‘Disappointing’, Says Govt Has Ridiculed Veterans Modi recalled that the issue was pending for the last 42 years and so many governments came but none found a way out. "Only lip service was provided. It was difficult to implement. For me also it was not an easy decision but I have high respect for the armed forces. Whatever promise I had made is being implemented....the ramifications it will have are yet to be known," he said. He noted that he had made the pledge while addressing a rally of ex-servicemen in Rewari in Haryana on September 13, 2013 as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate. "The previous government proposed Rs 500 crore. We thought may be it could go up to Rs 600-700 crore but while calculating new things came up. While I untangled every aspect of the issue we calculated that there would be an expense of around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore." Attacking those criticising his government, Modi said he came to power on May 26, last year and was responsible only since then while some people were misleading. This decision is inspired by patriotism, he said, telling the armed forces that the government "is yours, is there to look into your grievances and will stand by you whenever required". The Prime Minister said the nation will not progress by only indulging in politics but through national policy. "The country cannot develop through conflict but by dialogue. Elections will come and go. If there is only one solution to our problems it is development. We are working on only one point, one mantra, one objective, one path and one goal -- that is development," he said. "It would have been better if the work of development had been completed in last 60 years. A lot of work is pending. But only criticising previous governments will not help. Our responsibility is to look for ways for development," he said.