According to a new revelation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was certain to announce the One Rank One Pension scheme, albeit a diluted one, during his Independence Day speech from Red Fort but the ex-servicemen rejected the new proposals.
Former Army Chief, Gen VP Malik, has revealed this in an email to former Navy chief Admiral Suresh Mehta.
“The only way to resolve OROP could be a direct dialogue between the political leadership and veterans. On 10th August morning, I got a call from Principal Secretary (PS) to the PM stating that the PM desired me to discuss Govt position on OROP with agitation leaders and try to resolve this issue so that he can announce it on 15th August,” Gen Malik was quoted by Indian Express.
Gen Malik said that the government’s final stand was to pay ‘less than what had been worked out earlier,’ which was rejected by veterans who said it was a dilution from the original definition of OROP.
The decision to write an email to Admiral Mehta, according to Gen Malik, was to clear the air to his friends about his role as a mediator between the government and the protesting ex-servicemen.
In his email, Gen Malik reportedly confesses his original reluctance in meeting PS Nripendra Misra, but agreed to do so only after discussing the option with Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, who’s been leading the OROP protests at Jantar Mantar.
He wrote, “He (Misra) and the joint secretary dealing with this subject in the PMO briefed me on the govt stand. In the evening, all the three of us… together were briefed by the JS. Looking at the government position… we felt that we can not represent the government or the agitators but will remain go-between only and try if we can bridge the gap.”
Gen Malik, in his mail, wrote that Misra, after speaking to both prime minister and the finance minister, informed him about the government’s final stand, which “meant paying less that what had been worked out earlier and thus, deviation from the definition.”
The failed talks was followed by the manhandling of army veterans at Jantar Mantar.