Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reached out to the armed forces over the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) issue, and said he knows how officers feel when they are not promoted.
The OROP scheme approved by the government has not gone well with the veterans, with the agitation at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar protest site continuing for the 185th day on Tuesday.
Modi said the government will start programmes for skill training of retired officers.
“I know how an officer, in the prime of his youth, feels when he does not make the next grade, not because he was not outstanding or was less deserving, but because the room above was small,” Modi said at the Combined Commanders’ Conference held on board INS Vikramaditya.
“So, to honour your service and uphold your welfare will always be our solemn duty… For this reason, we have moved with speed to implement the One Rank One Pension promise that had remained unfulfilled for decades,” Modi said.
“And, we will build the National War Memorial and Museum that you so richly deserve in the heart of our nation’s capital.”
OROP, a war memorial and a veterans’ commission are the three demands from the ex-servicemen groups.
“We will also improve skills and opportunities for our ex-servicemen, so that when they leave the service, they can still serve the nation with pride and dignity,” he added.
Modi also paid tributes to the security forces.
“Their valour and sacrifices defeat terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, reduce the violence of Left-wing extremism and keep our northeast more peaceful,” he said.
The conference was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh and Indian Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan along with top commanders of the three Services.