The implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme is a fulfillment of BJP’s poll promise and it has been ensured that the veterans get maximum benefit, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
Stating that the protesting ex-servicemen were well within their rights to demand more, the minister said they should approach the judicial committee for their grievances.
“OROP is a promise of BJP, it is not a government promise. So whatever understanding we had after discussing with various ex-servicemen associations, we have given maximum,” Parrikar said.
“The financial package which is around Rs 8,000 crore a year is fixed. Now I cannot stop someone from demanding (more). It is one association, that too truncated, which is keeping its agitation on. It is democracy they are free to demand but we have provision for a judicial committee,” he said. Therefore, these protesting ex-servicemen should approach the committee, he said.
“The mistake which everyone is doing is that (saying) it is government assurance. It is not government assurance, it is an assurance of political party and political party to the best of its understanding has satisfied itself that we have completed what we have promised,” he said.
Parrikar also termed the attempts by war veterans to burn medals as an insult to the nation and armed forces and said it was for protesting ex-service personnel to prove there was no political motive behind the stir. “If I say something, it will become an allegation. Let them prove that it is not political,” he told reporters here when asked if he saw a political link to continuing agitation despite the government’s response and notification on OROP.
“Medals are recognition of the nation for the sacrifice done by the armed forces,” he said in reply to another query. “Burning and returning them is an insult to the nation and the defence forces. But insulting the medal does not speak well; neither it comes in service disciple nor it is a healthy thing,” he said.
The government had on November 7 formally notified the OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country.