New Delhi: Agitating ex-servicemen demanding implementation of 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) were furious and disappointed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to make any specific announcement during his Independence Day speech on Saturday.
Several retired personnel protesting over OROP at Jantar Mantar said they were disappointed and angry with the PM as he had failed to fulfil his promise.
Major General (retired) Satbir Singh, one of the agitators, criticised the PM for not implementing OROP saying that PM had accepted their demand 17 months back, but still hasn't been able to accomplish the task.
"According to us, there is nothing but bad intention of the bureaucracy and it is given to them by the political system which is holding it now," Singh said.
Expressing anguish over PM's speech, Major (retd) Rajendra Singh said their hearts have been broken.
PM Modi, while making his second Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, said, “'One Rank, One Pension' is a long-pending issue; discussions are underway and are in last stages.”
While assuring the veterans on implementation of OROP in the near future, the Prime Minister said, “In principle my government has accepted 'OROP',” adding that “we will have good news on the basis of talks that are underway.”
"The way the talks are going on I am expecting something positive," he further said.
The protesters had put up a large LCD screen at Jantar Mantar to watch Modi's speech. However, as soon as they realised that Modi has not announced OROP, they switched it off.
"I am ashamed of the PM. We want the OROP without any dilution. What talks, when and how long. Where is Gen VK Singh, where is CoL Rathore? Why haven't they resigned?," said Deepa Neb, daughter and wife of a retired defence personnel.
"Time and again, Modi has been saying Team India, actually Team India today has failed the real Team India. Are we not part of Team India," a retired Brigadier asked.
Agitated ex-servicemen wore black arm bands and head bands as a sign of protest.
Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the pay commission recommendations at the time when the personnel retired.
This leads to a difference in pension for officers of same rank who retire on different dates.
With OROP, retired personnel would draw the same pension as officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now.
They would also be entitled to a year's back pensions at the new rate, which would be a windfall for pensioners.
The OROP will benefit 25 lakh ex-servicemen. It is expected to cost the government around Rs 8,500 crore.