Ralegan Siddhi: Noted social activist and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme as soon as possible, failing which he will launch a countrywide agitation on the issue.
Media reports, Wednesday, claimed that the veteran activist yesterday wrote, "We have to take care of our soldiers and farmers. Making hollow announcements for their welfare and actually implementing them are different things."
An ex-serviceman himself, Hazare had joined the Indian Army in 1963 and served for 15 years as a soldier. He was posted to several key states including Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Sikkim, Bhutan and Mizoram and even served in the India-Pakistan War of 1965.
Anna's warning to the Centre comes at a time when retired Army personnel are holding protests in 55 spots across India, demanding the central government to set a date for the implementation of the scheme.
The government has earlier said it was committed to OROP and has set aside Rs 8300 crore for its implementation, but has refused to specify a timeline.
OROP has been one of Prime Minister's main poll promises in the run-up to the 2014 general elections.
The scheme seeks to ensure that defence personnel who retire at the same rank and with the same length of service, will get equal pension, irrespective of when they retired.
About 25 lakh veterans - among them over 6 lakh war widows - who retired before 2006, stand to benefit from the scheme.
Hazare has clarified that his agitation is not political.
In 2011, he had led an agitation against the previous UPA government for the creation of an anti-corruption independent body.
With Agency inputs