To highlight their dissatisfaction over the shortcomings in One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, ex-servicemen may skip a function to felicitate the 1965 war heroes, to be hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday New Delhi.
Wing Commander Vinod Nebb (retd), who is protesting with other ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar, said that he has sent a regret letter to the President for not being able to attend the high tea. Nebb said, “I am with the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar. I echo the voice and sentiments of thousands like me. I expect that the other ex-servicemen would also not join the celebration.”
Nebb explained that the OROP offer, as approved by the central government, had many riders after they changed the actual spirit of the scheme.
In the letter, Nebb wrote, “I would hope it will give you an opportunity to gauge the morale of ex-servicemen like us, as our supreme commander and, at the very least, acknowledge the state of our pride and morale that has steadily been crippled by numerous government and its bureaucratic [sic] over the last 40 years.”
“Our prime minister very categorically made the promise of OROP and whilst he had made some change[s], it still isn’t OROP. And, even that change was not granted willingly; we had to fight for it.”
He asked, “I look towards you as our Supreme Commander and leader of the armed forces to ask: Why are you silent? Why would you invite me to an event which to us veterans is a symbolic [sic] of our blood, sweat and dignity and play to the government’s ‘show’ of respect to us and our achievement?”
United Ex-Servicemen Front (UFESM) spokesperson Col. Anil Kaul (retd) on Thursday appealed to former service chiefs to not to participate in 1965 War commemoration functions.
The protesting ex-servicemen, however, are planning programmes to honour war veterans among them and war widows of the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
As the government announced the OROP scheme, the army veterans said the scheme has several discrepancies.
They demanded the base year for the OROP should be financial year 2013-14, instead 2013, as announced by the central government. They want the date of implementation to be April 2014, instead of July 2014 as announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
While the veterans want rationalisation of pension every year, the government has provided for review only every five years.
The veterans also want the one-man judicial commission to be replaced with a five-member committee with their representation.